Tag Archives: brunch

Lola’s Smashed Potatoes

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Lola’s was our brunch spot when R and I went to Seattle. I have never been a fan of side dishes, they’re pushed aside so I can focus on the main.

When I had to restrain myself from eating all of the smashed potatoes in order to finish my eggs benedict, I knew I had to re-create these at home. I was reeled in by the crisp potato skins which contrasted the soft insides. And the spices! There was nothing bland about it.

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Medina Cafe

Rockies

I’m finally in Vancouver and I’m enjoying the mountain views and the coastal air. After some bad junky road trip food, I was ready for some real eats.

I’ve been on a brunch kick lately and thanks to foursquare I found a place near us. Medina Cafe is known for their waffles with amazing toppings (milk chocolate lavender sauce anyone?)

We started off with the lavender lattes, a popular menu item. It’ll be a regular order for me for sure.

Lavender latte at Medina

I got the Saumon Fume (fried egg, smoked salmon, caper cream cheese, avocado on a ciabatta bun) and R got the daily omelette. While the omelette was good, the Saumon Fume was the clear winner out of the two. Next time I’d like to try the Fricasee (fried eggs, braised short ribs, applewood cheddar) as the Yelp reviews for it were promising.

Saumon Fume at Medina

The portions are modest, but that leaves room for dessert. The waffles are not your standard size, but petite 4″ ones so be prepared to order more than one. There’s a selection of sauces such as fig orange marmalade and white chocolate pistachio rose water. The waffles are a bit pricey at $3.15 a pop plus $1 for each sauce. I had the milk chocolate lavender and the raspberry caramel sauce. I highly recommend the milk chocolate lavender.

Waffles at Medina

Be prepared to wait if you have more than a party of 2. The cafe is small and they don’t take reservations.

I’m happy to have found a great brunch place so quickly, I’m looking forward to adding more to my list of places to go.

Medina Cafe
556 Beatty Street
www.medinacafe.com

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Skillet Strata with Cheddar and Thyme

Sillet Strata

With a leftover baguette from dinner the night before, I decided to make a skillet strata.

A strata is a layered casserole of day-old bread, eggs, cheese and milk. It’s similar to a fritata or quiche. This is from More Best Recipes by Cook’s Illustrated. Instead of a usual strata where you leave everything mixed up for a few hours up to overnight before baking, you can bake this immediately after putting everything together. This recipe reminds me of a quiche that is light and fluffy. R says that this is meal you could make when you invite people over for brunch.

If you don’t have day-old bread, you can just toast the bread in a pan for a little bit.

Sillet Strata

Skillet Strata with Cheddar and Thyme for 2 (adapted from Cook’s Illustrated)

Ingredients

3 eggs
3/4 milk
1/2 teaspoon thyme
2 ounces of grated cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small onion
day-old baguette or any white bread cut into 1″ cubes*
salt and pepper
*Note: cut as many as will fit nicely on the bottom of the pan

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 425F. Whisk eggs, milk, thyme, salt and pepper.
2. Melt butter in an 8″ oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until softened and lightly browned.
3. Add bread and mix until the bread is nicely toasted and is evenly coated in the mixture.
4. Take the pan off the heat and add the egg mixture. Make sure you press on the bread cubes so it absorbs the mixture.
5. Pop it into the oven and bake for 12 minutes. It should puff up and the edges will have pulled away slightly when it’s done.
6. Let it rest for 5 minutes. This is so the eggs cook perfectly from the residual heat. If you don’t let it rest, you run the risk of runny eggs.

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Delicious Day

Sunday was filled with GREAT food. I don’t think I’ve eaten so much in one day!

I’ve been dying to go to The Boiler House for brunch. It has live jazz and I hoped the food could compare to what we had at our wedding. It was a buffet so I knew that would be asking for a lot. I wasn’t disappointed in brunch at all, the roast beef was medium rare, the bacon was crisp, and the eggs benedict was so good the first time around that I had to grab another one. It even had the runny yolk which I love. I had to make room for dessert and had a lemon curd tart and some pain au chocolat. I wish I had room for the chocolate tart and pecan pie. I didn’t even get to try the omelet station. For $25, it was an excellent meal. I ended up ordering a mimosa which was $10! I hope they used real champagne at that price.

Definitely worth visiting again. I’d also like to visit the Hot House again. I haven’t been there in ages and they have a waffle station. Mmm…

The Boiler House

I also had dinner with my parents and I was supposed to make a meal. It was to go with the crabs they were going to bring over and cook. I was relieved when they brought enough crabs that I didn’t have to make dinner.

I have had a serious craving for crab lately. Me being too gutless to kill them myself, I made my parents show me how it’s done so I could eat fresh crab and not have to do any of the work.

Avert your eyes from the rest of the article if me talking about killing live crabs is bothersome.

How to cook crab

I’m sure there’s a ton of ways in cooking this crustacean, but here’s how my dad did it:

– Choose live crabs. Pick lively ones and never pick dead ones. My parents advise to never buy frozen uncooked crab because you can never be too sure how long they’ve been dead for.

– Fill the sink with cold water and dump the crabs in.

– Steam the crabs. This is easier if you have a steamer, but if you don’t like me just take a large pot and put a small amount of water in it. You don’t want to fill the pot halfway and boil the crabs, just add enough water to get some good steam. Really salt the water. Let the water come to a boil then throw the crabs in. Make sure the crabs are upside down. My dad explained why and now I’ve forgotten. Put lid on and watch out for angry crabs trying to escape. I screamed and ran out of the kitchen while my dad threw in the crabs and put the lid on it. But really, it wasn’t that bad. I’m better prepared for when I actually do cook them next time.

– Crabs cook quickly. They’re done when it’s orange/a deep red.

– Drain crabs.

At this point the crabs are hot and you’ll want them to cool down for a bit. I grew up eating crabs plain with rice. I still think this is a delicious way of having them. The rice sops up the juices of the crab.

Or, just pick the crab meat out and use them in a dish that requires it.

Crabs

Notes:
– If the crab or part of it (such as the leg) smells funny, like a fishy kind of smell, it’s bad. Do not eat it.
– There’s white crab meat and brown crab meat. The brown crab meat is found at the top of the cavity. It’s that brown gooey stuff. Some people don’t like it because it’s rich and strong tasting, but I love it. This is what goes so well with rice. It would also add a bunch of flavour to any soup/stock.

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Sunday brunch with Friends

Outdoor space

I invited the neighbour friends over for Sunday brunch on the balcony. The balcony is covered and big enough to accommodate a large group which is great if it’s raining lightly outside. Of course, it was torrential down pouring so we did an indoor brunch instead.

I wish I took pictures, but everyone was busy eating and having a good time. I made a double batch of the buttermilk waffles from the Cake Bible and thought for sure there would be leftovers…I must’ve made 20 or so. Everything disappeared! The waffles seemed extra tasty this time around. I think because I used buttermilk instead of using milk with vinegar like I usually do. They were a lot lighter that R managed to eat five of them. I also reduced the butter to 180g instead of 227. I liked them this way but near the end I noticed the waffles started to stick to the waffle plates.

Of course once brunch was over the sun finally came out again.

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