Sunday, March 24, 2013

Blue Chair Cafe Benny - $13.95

This weekend A wanted to go back to Mill Creek Cafe, but we were going to eat breakfast with my sister and her two little boys, so we needed to go somewhere that had a bit more room. So we returned to the place where the idea for Bringing You the Benny was first born: Blue Chair Cafe (9624 76 Ave). My sister and I arrived with the boys just minutes before 10am on Sunday morning. There were two other vehicles waiting in the parking lot for the cafe to open. We got a table for 6 and A joined us shortly after we arrived. Sis, A, and I got coffee and little K wanted tea, so him and Y shared a pot of peach herbal tea. Since A had the smoked salmon benny last weekend at Cora, I decided that I would have it this weekend at Blue Chair:

The fat sauce here is advertised as chipotle hollandaise in the menu, but I didn't feel any kick to it and recall feeling the same way last time we ate here. Presentation-wise, the flecks of chipotle in the sauce is appealing to the eye and hints at a benny that is different from others. This benny was delicious, however I'm not sure if it was the sauce or the smoked salmon, but there is something very acidic, or vinegar-y, about this one. I like that the bread option under the eggs is a nice fat slice of dark rye bread. As much as I enjoy English muffins as the base for my benny, it's always nice to see creativity in a menu.

Blue Chair doesn't disappoint and I know I would eat breakfast there again. My sister had the most delicious banana bread French toast! I only had one bite, but is was decadent. The boys both enjoyed their beakfast, but neither one ate their poached egg... I assume it just looked weird to them as they are accustomed to hard boiled or fried eggs I think. A wasn't too excited about her breakfast of huevos rancheros, but I think that is mainly because she forgot to ask for no onions.

Conclusion: The food and atmosphere of The Blue Chair Cafe are the main reasons that I enjoy breakfast there. The service is always really good and they have live music which is nice and it wasn't too loud first thing in the morning. They are family friendly without being a "typical" family restaurant. Have I found the BEST eggs benedict EVER? As much as I enjoyed the smoked salmon benny here, there was something missing and I hope to find it eventually... but not too soon cuz I am enjoying my benny weekends too much to stop now!

Blue Chair Cafe on Urbanspoon

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Cora Restaurant Ben et Dictine - $12.55 +tax

My sister is in town visiting for the next couple of weeks. On the weekend, I had to drive her to the Holiday Inn Express down at the south end of the city for a life coaching course that she enrolled in to be certified and for her own personal growth. On my way to drop her off on Sunday morning, I decided that A and I were going to eat our bennys at Cora (2920 Calgary Trail N.W.) this week. Am I ever glad we did!
Despite the line extending out the door, which is inevitable on a Sunday, we were still excited for breakfast and willing to wait in line for it. Once we were seated and coffee ordered we then had to make decisions. Cora's offers 4 different Ben et Dictines, all of which sounded delicious. A decision had to be made and I was torn between two choices. A ordered the smoked salmon Ben et Dictine, so my choice was made: I ordered the Brie and Mushroom Ben et Dictine. It was worth the wait!
(I made sure to take pictures of both of our bennys this time!)

My benny:

A's benny:

I think one of the best things about Cora's is that they use fresh ingredients. No canned mushrooms here! The combination of the brie, mushrooms and fat sauce was a delicious mixture in my mouth. Eggs benedict is a rich dish on a normal day; the added creaminess of the brie and the juicy mushrooms made my morning. The sauce alone was really good, and I assume it was made from scratch as this is the Cora way for all of their food (except the cold cereals, lol). A was nice enough to give me a bite of her breakfast too (which I was hoping would be the case when we ordered) and it was delicious. Smoked salmon benny tends to be a bit saltier than other bennys, but I didn't find Cora's smoked salmon benny too salty in the one bite I had.

Conclusion: I think presentation/first impression of your breakfast helps make it taste that much better and Cora's has the monopoly on breakfast presentation. My mouth was watering before I even had a bite of my benny. While I'm not going to stop my search for the BEST benny EVER here at Cora's, I think I would definitely come back and try one of the other varieties. After all, anyone who has ever eaten at Cora's knows that once you've eaten here you will, more often than not, brave the line at the door to enjoy the food here again and again.

Cora (Calgary Trail) on Urbanspoon

Thursday, March 14, 2013

ABC Country Restaurant - $11

This week, A and I went to the ABC Country Restaurant on Gateway (4485 Gateway Blvd) which is in the Holiday Inn. I would have to say that this restaurant had the best customer service so far out of the places we've tried. That was the best thing about our experience this week, and the reason why it has taken me so long to write this entry. The food was not near as good as the service. Within the first 15 minutes of sitting down, we had been attended to by at least 3 different staff members. To some people I suppose this could be annoying, but we found it refreshing that the people serving us were happy to be there and took pride in providing us with the best experience. I'm really sad that the food didn't enhance our experience. I ordered the Farmer Benny and A ordered the Cheddar Bacon Benny. I wish I had taken pictures of both of the bennys...

I found it kinda difficult to take a good picture of this one. The table we were sitting at was away from the windows so I had to use the flash, which lit up the blue underneath. Without the flash it was all orange and weird, lol.

So, as you can see, my benny had farmer sausage which was butterflied and placed on the muffin under the eggs and hollandaise. The hollandaise was kinda bland, nothing special, and pretty much what I am starting to expect at chain family restaurants. It wasn't tangy, or buttery, but it was creamy and yellow... I enjoyed the break from the norm by having the sausage vs. some sort of ham, but I had sausage burps well into the late afternoon. This would have been great had it been the best meal I have had.

I think A's eggs benny was much more interesting.. but only because of how they made it. So hers had slices of cheddar melted on it, I believe on top of the bacon and under the eggs. It looked really good, but as she tried to cut it, her face changed and she couldn't figure out why it was so tough. She lifted the whole thing up and we tried to figure out what they had done. At first it looked like they had served it on some sort of flat bread. We then discovered that the slices of cheddar had melted and cooked onto the griddle and created crispy cheese "wings" for her benny. The cook had then folded these "wings" under the muffins! Had I been the cook and this had happened, I would have cut that cheese off... as it was obviously inedible. This lack of care for presentation and pride in the food tainted my whole ABC Country experience. Luckily, the excellent customer service made up for it.

Conclusion: If the food was as good as the service at this ABC Country, I think I would continue to return there for future meals. For the price of this benny, I would definitely pass on it if I returned to this restaurant. Unless they obtain kitchen staff who care as much as the waitstaff about the customers, I highly doubt ABC Country will ever have the BEST eggs benedict EVER.

ABC Country Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Albert's Family Restaurant Benny - $9.99

I wanted to go somewhere this week that wouldn't require a lot of planning, or waiting, or money. We went for our weekly breakfast on Saturday morning instead of Sunday. A had had a rough night, we had gone out for karaoke and some drinks on Friday night, but she was chipper and ready to eat! Albert's is easy to find and has many locations in the city. We went to the location on 99th street (5107 - 99 Street) and got there around 11am I think.
As soon as we walked in I saw that the chalkboard special was Eggs Benedict!We had to wait a few minutes for a booth to open up as the restaurant was full when we got there. We had brought A's friend L with us because she was down visiting from Ft. Mac, so we needed room for three. Browsing through the menu I didn't see Eggs Benedict on it. A and I got coffee and I asked the waitress if Eggs Benedict is a regular menu item to which she informed us that it is only available on weekends and holidays. Hooray for Saturday!
I ordered the Eggs Benedict, soft poached, (obviously). A got bacon, eggs, hasbrowns, and toast and L ordered French toast and bacon. I was happy with the presentation of the benny when it came:

I kinda wished I had gotten the fruit cup after I saw another diner at another table had chosen that, however I thought the potatoes were good.

Now the moment of truth: the first bite.

While the fat sauce didn't have a whole lot of flavour, I thought the texture was nice and there was a good amount of it (although I did reach for the ketchup for my potatoes after the benny was gone). I think the meat on this benny was kinda chewy and it didn't impress me. Luckily I don't usually eat benny for the meat (unless it's salmon or something different than the regular bacon or ham, I wouldn't usually comment much on it). This meat was no different. The eggs were cooked almost as soft as I like... the yolks were runny and that's all that really matters. Both A and L had a bite of my benny. L said she didn't care for it and she had never tasted a benny before. A thought last week's benny was better and that the fat sauce didn't have much flavour.

Conclusion: While this Benny didn't wow me, I think it was still quite delicious and worth the $10 I paid, however I'm not sure the coffee was worth $2.50. I don't think I've found the BEST benny EVER just yet...

If you fill out the comment card on their website, you will receive a "bounce back" coupon.

Albert's Family Restaurant on Urbanspoon