Monday, May 27, 2013

Lumber Jacks Pancake & Steakhouse Benny

So I thought I would give another pancake house the benefit of the doubt in their ability to serve delicious food that isn't pancakes. So we decided to go to Lumber Jacks Pancake & Steakhouse (5708 75 St NW) to see if I still thought that pancake houses should stick to pancakes.
The atmosphere of the restaurant is a little dark, but cozy and family friendly. The coffee was decent and the service was good. We had about 3 different people help us during our visit, which is fine, but I hope they pool their tips if this is a regular thing, lol. If memory serves, they only offer one type of benny on their menu, so that made my decision very easy.

I had good thoughts and bad thoughts when my benny arrived. I was happy with the amount of fat sauce although its consistency could have been a bit creamier looking as it looked rather thin. The eggs looked kinda sad. Someone in the kitchen here needs to practice how to poach an egg as the yolks had collapsed on themselves leaving deformed eggs rather than nice rounded yolks. The flavour of the sauce was fine, but again, not as creamy as I like it. There was lots for dipping my potatoes, although the potatoes themselves were nothing exciting as far as potatoes go.

Conclusion: Overall, I'm still going to maintain that pancake restaurants should stick to pancakes. This would not be my choice for the BEST eggs benedict EVER... So I will continue my search....

UPDATE: I have since returned to Lumber Jacks to sample something other than their benny. I had potato pancakes which I was fairly pleased with. They are not the usual shredded potato variety of potato pancakes and they have an interesting flavour that I couldn't quite put a finger on. I went with my friend M, who went to Aunty Sue's with A and I, and she had a plate that had pancakes. Surprisingly, for a pancake house they had run of the mill pancakes that tasted suspiciously like Aunt Jemima was involved... Sad because homemade pancakes are not difficult to make. Or maybe the way my family makes homemade pancakes is much different than the rest of the world? Feel free to leave your favourite pancake recipe in the comments below!

Lumber Jacks (75 St) Pancake & Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

Saturday, May 04, 2013

De Dutch DIY Benny

This week I wanted to take A to De Dutch Pannekoeken House because she had never been and hadn't heard of it. There is only one location in Alberta, here in Edmonton (10030 Jasper Ave). All the other locations are in BC, so if you live anywhere else in Canada, be sure to  find De Dutch during your travels to the west coast!
For me, the whole reason to go to De Dutch is for the pannekoeken. What's so great about this "pannekoeken"? Well, it's the size of your plate (approx 12" or 30cm), is kind of like a thick crepe or a thin pancake, and is neutral for either sweet or savoury add-ins or toppings. Although De Dutch offers 6 different traditional eggs benedict dishes on their menu (which I will try at some point), none are made with the pannekoeken. The pannekoeken that is closest to eggs benny is the Amsterkoek, which is what I ordered. Our server informed us that the Amsterkoek is what people order when they want an eggs benny pannekoeken, so I knew I made the right choice. It is topped with poached eggs, edam cheese, ham, tomato, and comes with a bowl of fat sauce. I requested that the chef just put everything on top, but when it came the sauce was in a bowl and so were the eggs (you can see an imprint from one of the bowls in my cheese in the pic). The bowls were fine, because this way the cooking water from the eggs didn't make my pannekoeken soggy. So I assembled it myself to how I thought it should look.. this was the DIY part... and then took a picture.. sorry I didn't take a "before" picture.

Now, I was ready to cut into it and revel in the goodness that is Benny after a week of involuntary abstinence. Because the pannekoeken is so big, I had to spread the sauce and other toppings out well to get some of everything in each bite... I could have used some extra fat sauce!  I really enjoyed the added flavour of the melted edam cheese in this DIY benny. Maybe this was because I don't eat a lot of cheese and usually benny doesn't come with cheese, atleast not traditionally. I managed to stretch the toppings out enough to atleast have each bite contain most of them, but not always all. Hmmm... what can I say? It was exactly what I was hoping it would be. The sauce was creamy and hollandaise-y. I would be surprised if they don't make it from scratch at this chain, if only because I associate "Dutch" with "Holland-aise". I know, not the best reasoning, but that's how I think! The eggs were cooked soft like I prefer. I think if I were to assemble this again, I would spread the ham slices out a bit more because they were all sort of piled in the middle. I liked the addition of fresh tomato and it went well with the cheese and pannekoeken.

Conclusion: Without having tried the 6 variations of eggs benedict that De Dutch has to offer, I think it would be unfair to compare this DIY benny on the same scale. Overall, I really enjoyed this "eggs benny" and while it satisfied my eggs benny craving and was delicious, I will have to continue the search for the BEST eggs benedict EVER!

De Dutch on Urbanspoon

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Humpty's Benny.. WAFFLE: $9.95

I have been to this Humpty's before I started writing this blog. It is located right across the street from Mill Creek Cafe (9555 82 Ave) and is a popular place, especially on the weekend. A and I decided to go here this time to see what kind of bennies they had. I wanted to try something a little bit different, a little bit out of my benny comfort zone, so I went for the Benedict Waffle. A ordered the Surfside Benedict, which she offered me a bite of when it came, but I was too involved in my benny waffle to try hers too.

I was actually impressed with what I saw when I got my plate. I was definitely in for something a bit unusual as far as bennys go. The first bite confirmed this because mixed with the egg, bacon, and fat sauce was a sweetness from the waffle that was a bit weird at first but also pleasant. If any of you like syrup on your bacon as I sometimes do, you will enjoy the flavour of this dish... without putting syrup on it. The fat sauce itself was regular restaurant quality: Nothing fancy, but certainly not disgusting, at least not by my standards. It could have been a bit more creamy, as you can see in the pictures, it's a little bit transparent... something is missing. I'm pretty sure a restaurant like this doesn't make their sauce from scratch, but that is not something I would expect from a chain restaurant (except Cora's).  I had no problem polishing off the eggs and waffle. It was the perfect size for my breakfast. Usually the addition of potatoes just fills me up a little too much. Because this meal didn't come with any sort of potato side, I felt content and not over-stuffed. As for the restaurant itself, the staff and service here has always been friendly and efficient, I think this was our third time eating here(?) for breakfast. The coffee isn't gourmet, but it is hot and helps get the daily caffeine dose into the bloodstream, which is the most important thing.

Conclusion: The Benedict Waffle at this Humpty's is something I would definitely try again (and again). If you don't like sugar with your eggs, I would advise you proceed with caution, but for me it was excellent. The eggs were poached almost perfectly, not too soft and runny, but the yolks weren't hard which is how I like them. This would be an alternative way to try eggs benny at home for something different and easy to assemble. Don't let the low percentage of "like" on Urbanspoon deter you from eating here. The staff is friendly and our food came fairly quickly. As much as I enjoyed this breakfast, I will continue my search for the BEST eggs benedict EVER...

Humpty's on Urbanspoon

Monday, April 22, 2013

Clareview Cora Benny

Saturday morning I got up at an ungodly hour to cheer on A and K in the MEC 5km run. We were there by 8am.. I rarely get up that early for work, let alone for fun. After freezing my butt off waiting for them to finish the race, we decided to go to Cora up in Clareview (4270 137 avenue). As with every trip to Cora I've ever made, we had a bit of a wait. I think it was shorter this time than it was when A and I went to Cora on Calgary Trail.
Once we were seated with our menus, A and I got our usual coffee as did K. We were seated along the wall in line with the entrance and I guess it was windy outside because a picture on the shelf above the table adjacent to ours blew off the shelf and fell on a customer. Luckily it wasn't a heavy framed picture (it probably wouldn't have fallen if it were). We had a little laugh and then a fat golden ribbon came sailing down off the shelf above me. We had to laugh when one of the staff came over and asked if everyone was alright... the ribbon was akin to those used in rhythmic gymnastics and wouldn't have hurt a small child.
We ordered and of course I got a benny. As I had the mushroom brie Ben et Dictine last time we went to a Cora, I decided to try the Asparagus Swiss Ben et Dictine.

As always, the presentation of the food at Cora is colourful and that alone makes it look delicious! The asparagus was cooked to perfection: not too crispy and not too soggy. The eggs could have been a bit more soft poached for my liking, but the yolks weren't hard and that alone satisfies me. I like the fat sauce at Cora. Because everything there is very fresh, I'm sure the hollandaise is made from scratch. If anyone knows any differently, feel free to correct me on this. The addition of cheese to benny is something that I usually like. This time was no exception, even if swiss cheese is not my favourite. Again, I wasn't impressed with the potatoes here. They are quite bland... not crispy and pretty flavourless. The best thing about them is that there is no mistaking that they are real potatoes and they are cooked. I kinda wonder if they boil them and then just pan fry them to heat them up.

Conclusion: We had a nice breakfast experience at this Cora. The staff here was efficient and the food was warm and comforting on this rainy morning. I wouldn't say this particular benny was my favourite so far, not the BEST eggs benedict EVER, but still worth the trip and the wait in line.

Cora on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

National Eggs Benedict Day - April 16th

So yesterday was April 16th and National Eggs Benedict Day, evidence of which can be found on many different websites. I first heard about this special day when my childhood friend C posted on my Facebook wall. I knew right then that I had to have eggs benedict for dinner.
Now, I have read some comments here and there on the web that say IHOP has the WORST eggs Benedict ever. So to switch things up I thought I would see if this was true.

A and I had a great IHOP experience just last week... No I don't eat eggs benedict for breakfast every day or every time I go out for breakfast in a restaurant. The staff at IHOP in Edmonton are very friendly and make the service experience alone worth the trip to this restaurant. As most of you probably know, IHOP stands for International House of Pancakes... So don't be surprised that there is only one eggs benny option. 

As soon as the plate was set in front of me I knew exactly what the fat sauce was going to taste like. There was a chain restaurant that I used to go to in Toronto a lot (Golden Griddle I believe) that had the same sauce as IHOP, and this is why I never ordered Eggs Benedict at that restaurant. The sauce is very tangy and leaves a weird taste in your mouth. I'm not sure how exactly to describe it... it sticks to your tongue. I'd be interested to know how this "hollandaise" is made, or at least the ingredients. This is one instance where I am happy that they didn't drown my benny in sauce! One of my eggs had a soft yolk and the other one was completely hard. A said both of hers were runny. The ham and English muffin were the standard eggs benny base, no complaints but nothing special either.

Conclusion: Although the benny is definitely not my favourite at IHOP, the chunky hashbrowns are delicious! Perfect saltiness for me and flavourful enough that they don't need ketchup. The service and friendliness of the staff here will keep us coming back, even if the food doesn't. As for the WORST eggs benedict EVER? I guess it is close and is right up there with our Denny's experience and my experiences at Golden Griddle... Although the sauce at Denny's isn't the same so I would try a different Denny's location someday. My recommendation... When going to a pancake house... stick to the pancakes.

Hope you all enjoyed some eggs benny on National Eggs Benedict Day :)

IHOP on Urbanspoon

Monday, April 15, 2013

Aunty Sue's Restaurant - $11.25

My friend M, who lives in Fort Saskatchewan AB, had never had eggs benedict before. Since I rave about them all the time she knew I would be the one to eat with her. There are a few different places in Fort Saskatchewan that serve breakfast, but I wanted to go somewhere that was locally owned. This is how M, A, and I ended up at Aunty Sue's Restaurant (10001 103 St Fort Saskatchewan).

Don't let the fact that the restaurant is attached to the Brant Hotel deter you from eating here. The inside of the restaurant is small town, comfortable, and the ladies here are practiced servers. We never had an empty cup, the coffee was good, and the food did not disappoint either. Aunty Sue's offers traditional eggs benny with your choice of ham or bacon. After I ordered A told the server to make sure I had lots of sauce. I scolded her saying that extra fat sauce would put them at an advantage that none of the other restaurants so far were allowed. I told her not to give me extra, just whatever it normally came with. M got hers with bacon and I got mine with ham.

Well, mine definitely had more sauce than M's had. It was really tasty too. I would say that the fat sauce here is homemade. It's not as thick as some chain restaurants' sauces, but it was definitely not too thin either. A perfect creaminess for sure. The eggs were not poached as I would've liked them, the yolk in the first one I cut into was almost hard halfway through. There was a bit of runny yolk in that one. The second one was a bit more runny, but still not "soft" poached. Aside from this, eggs benedict here was done very well for my tastes. The hashbrowns were delicious and I felt full but not too full when I had cleaned my plate.

Conclusion: If I am in Fort Sask for breakfast again, I would definitely go to Aunty Sue's. They have been in the community for a while and I have experienced why for myself. M says that they moved into the Brant Hotel because every other restaurant that has been there closed down right away. With Aunty Sue's local reputation, it is expected that they will survive where others didn't.

Aunty Sue's on Urbanspoon

Monday, April 08, 2013

Mill Creek Cafe Benny - Round Two - $13

Every weekend when I ask A where she thinks we should go for benny since we first went to Mill Creek Cafe, she says Mill Creek Cafe. This weekend was one that tested friendship as well as testing to see if Mill Creek Cafe was really as good as we initially thought. Not only is it tasty here, but it is also close to where both A and I live. So we went back to Mill Creek because we liked it the first time and good food is helpful in smoothing bumps in any relationship... right?

Last time we came here, we both had the Cajun Shrimp benny, which was delicious. This time I wanted something different as Mill Creek has a couple of different bennys to choose from. I have to reveal a bit of a secret here... I'm a little bit afraid of eggs florentine. I had a florentine benny once at Smitty's and there was just a mass of spinach under the eggs and it was just.. not good. So I stear clear of that, as I did this weekend too, lol. Someday I will test my bravery and hope that it is worth the risk.

I was a little bit worried because when the manager came to take our order he said he wasn't sure that they had any hollandaise sauce left. Luckily, the next time he came back it was with our food...

Smoked salmon benny!

Now, for those of you who like capers, you will like the fact that these ones are big and juicy. I ate one, just to see if my opinion of them changed, and then proceeded to pick them all off. This prompted A to make a comparison between them and olives, so perhaps that is why I don't care for capers as I despise olives with a passion.

As you can see in my pic, there wasn't much fat sauce on my benny this week. I would guess that perhaps I got what little bit was left... lucky me! Because the eggs at Mill Creek are nicely soft poached, the sad amount of fat sauce this week didn't break my heart. The dark rye bread under this benny makes it taste all the better. I'm not sure if it is made onsite, but I wouldn't be surprised if it is as they make their own gluten free bread. The only minor compaint I would have about this benny is that here were a few more red onions on it that I would like in my stomach first thing in the morning. This would be a good brunch option if you've had an early, light breakfast and have some cushioning in your stomach for the onions. Perhaps my stomach is a little bit sensitive to this, I'm not sure. I picked pretty much all of them off in addition to the capers.

Conclusion: Mill Creek Cafe has yet to disappoint. This is the third time I've been here, second time for eggs benny, and all three times have been healthy, delicious, and worth whatever we paid. They use quality ingredients and their homemade bread options are really delicious. I think next time we go I will ask for my benny on a gluten free bread option and see what happens :)

Mill Creek Cafe on Urbanspoon