I suppose that for many, that Christmas Eve itself is exciting, but for me, it’s usually a bore: my extended family all lives in Korea, so there’s not much in the way of new stimuli. We’d planned a Christmas Day dinner with our next-door neighbours, which I was looking forward to, but I was lacking plans for Christmas Eve. So I was glad when Pickles, Dolph, Sam and I decided to meet up for brunch and exchange some baked goods in honour of the season. And at Pickles’s suggestion, we decided on The Templeton, a kitschy diner on the corner of Granville and Helmcken.
The Templeton is a small, busy, bustling, classic diner, complete with a jukebox and pictures of Elvis grinning up at you as you eat. There was one server on duty, who was impressively efficient, and the decor was eclectic, but in a comforting way. The menu itself echoed this, with breakfast options that had a dash of creativity but weren’t too abnormal.
Dolph and Pickles both opted for the Mangled Eggs ($9), three eggs scrambled with garlic, bacon, and brie inside a toasted croissant, served with rosemary potatoes. Pickles had regular bacon, while Dolph decided to try the veggie bacon. Both enjoyed their breakfasts, especially the potatoes. Pickles noted that while the menu stated the addition of garlic, there was very little garlic flavour. Everything was especially delicious with Sriracha sauce, which was provided for each table, along with a bottle of ketchup. As for the potatoes, they were a big hit with all of us, with the addition of rosemary really adding an extra dimension of flavour. These seemed to have first been boiled, then pan-fried, and although I usually prefer string hash browns, these were excellent. As for the real versus veggie bacon debate, Dolph regretted her choice of veggie bacon, as it tasted more like tofu than anything else. You can’t beat real bacon, I suppose…
I had the Trucker’s Breakfast ($9) and Sam the Big Ass Breakfast ($12). My breakfast included 3 eggs, a choice between turkey sausage, bacon, or veggie bacon, rosemary potatoes, and toast (sourdough or whole wheat). The Big Ass Breakfast was the same, except for the addition of cinnamon French toast or blueberry banana pancakes. I had my eggs scrambled, and Sam’s over easy, and as you can see, we both decided on the turkey sausage. We ended up getting one order of the sourdough toast and one order of the whole wheat, with Sam choosing the French toast over the pancakes.
We both enjoyed our breakfasts. The scrambled eggs were fluffy and perfectly cooked. The turkey sausage was rather grainy, and a little bland. Although we realize that The Templeton has a focus on organic and vegetarian-friendly foods, we would have preferred if they offered regular breakfast sausage. The rosemary potatoes were lovely, having a nice crust without being oily. Our toast arrived buttered, but I would have preferred to have buttered it myself, as it was a bit too much for me. As for the French toast, it contained raisins, and was served with powdered sugar. We both enjoyed our breakfasts, and felt that they were of a respectable portion size considering the price we paid.
The four of us really enjoyed our breakfast at The Templeton, and I think this would be a great choice for breakfast with some vegetarian friends. Sadly I tend to be a bit carnivorous, and the one complaint I had was that they didn’t serve regular breakfast sausage, which is one of my favourite things about breakfast. Still, the food was tasty, especially the rosemary potatoes, and the service was a bit harried but friendly. Also I found the seats a bit uncomfortable and cramped, but it was part of the charm of the place. I would definitely recommend The Templeton as a tasty and inexpensive breakfast spot downtown.
1087 Granville Street
In an area as densely populated and ethnically diverse as Vancouver, there are bound to be certain areas known for certain kinds of restaurants. Maybe I phrased that a little vaguely, but you get my drift. The North Road area is commonly known as an unofficial Koreatown, with two large Korean supermarkets on either side of North Road, and a huge number of small Korean restaurants and businesses. I live quite near the North Road area, so my family eats a lot of our meals there. However, on one April morning when my parents suggested going out for lunch, I didn’t feel game for our usual choice of Hee Rae Dung.
Jimmy’s Place was my choice for lunch. It’s a little difficult to find, as it’s way in the corner of a plaza dominated by Extra Foods and Petcetera (and also Hee Rae Dung), across North Road from Borandsi Cafe. I do walk by a lot on my way to Petcetera to buy cat toys. Still, every time I’ve been here, there are a large number of diners as well as people who just drop in for a cup of coffee. I think it’s something of a local hotspot, with clientele growing due to positive reviews on Urbanspoon.
Anyways…Jimmy’s Place is a little of a cheat when I say we didn’t want Korean food. Although the restaurant specializes in diner fare and breakfast, the food is cooked by a sole Korean chef (whose blurry face you can see in my photo there), and the service usually consists of two middle-aged, very sweet Korean ladies. It’s a little cafeteria style–first, you go up to order your food off the chalkboard, pick your own seats, and pour your own coffee and water, with the waitresses bringing your food out to your table. I actually prefer this, as the waitresses are polite and friendly but no tip is necessary.
My dad chose the Jimmy’s Special Burger, which is their house burger. You can also order it with their house fries or a bowl of soup. My dad found the bun a little hard, and the burger was so big that he found it a bit difficult to eat (not that that’s necessarily a bad thing, when you think about it). He did remark that the vegetables tasted very fresh, and that the meat patty was moist. I found the price to be quite reasonable considering the patty is handmade–after all, even a meal at McDonald’s is getting quite expensive nowadays!
My mom chose to make her own Omelette, where you choose up to three ingredients (she chose tomatoes, onions, and bacon). The omelettes are quite large and served with toast (your choice of either whole wheat or white) and hash browns. She found the food on the whole to be not too salty, maybe bordering a bit on the bland side, but still quite enjoyable. The hash browns were savoury and tasty, especially when eaten with pepper and ketchup. My mom also ordered a cup of coffee, which I didn’t get a photo of, which she thoroughly enjoyed. She remarked that the coffee was the selling the point of the meal (I did see a lot of people come into the restaurant just for a cup of coffee).
I went for the Two Egg Breakfast, which comes with eggs (any style, I chose scrambled), toast (whole wheat or white), and your choice of bacon, ham, or sausages. As you can see, I chose the sausage, which was prepared well–served hot and not overly oily. As for the hash browns and toast, they were the same as my mom’s above–and the eggs was a little bland, but fine once I peppered and ketchuped them. It was a large breakfast, especially for the price I paid (something under the $7 mark).
As I’ve said in previous posts, Jimmy’s Place is my favourite place for breakfast in Coquitlam. The staff are quite friendly, and all the food is freshly homemade, with low prices. I guess the main con is that the food is a little bland, but it’s nothing a little pepper and/or ketchup won’t fix. Oh, they also only accept cash and debit as forms of payment, so if you’re dependent on your MasterCard or Visa, make sure to drop by an ATM before you go!
Jimmy’s Place Restaurant
435 North Road
I know what you’re thinking–IKEA and Denny’s are not really your idea of blog-worthy restaurants. But I’m not a food snob. To me, food is food. Sure, I probably enjoy a meal at, say, Guu more than a breakfast at Denny’s or a $1 meal at IKEA. But I think the key to enjoying your meal (or any experience, for that matter) is having realistic experiences. I never expect to be blown away by the food at Denny’s or IKEA…at the prices they offer, you can’t be expecting anything phenomenal.
My most recent trek to IKEA was to the Coquitlam location with a group of friends. I ended up taking a photo of only one of our breakfasts, since we all had the IKEA $1 breakfast (with various add-ons). The $1 breakfast consists of scrambled eggs, two sausages, and cubed potatoes. Like I said, there’s not much you can expect for a dollar. The sausages were pretty decent (they actually tasted like they were made of some kind of meat and had a bit of spice). The potatoes were fried nicely and were pleasantly crispy. However, the eggs…to be honest, I’m kind of an egg snob. My parents buy these amazing Omega-3 eggs from Costco which are delicious beyond belief. The IKEA eggs taste somewhat…mealy? They have a weird texture and don’t taste like anything at all. I peppered mine quite generously but I ended up just leaving them uneaten on my plate (as did a few of my friends). I also added a piece of French toast to my breakfast. It had been sitting around for a while and was very tough and impossible to cut. The bacon was very greasy (well, it’s bacon), and while not very crispy, everyone who had the bacon seemed to enjoy it.
Considering how expensive even a simple breakfast is getting nowadays, paying under $5 for a meal feels great. Of course there has to be compromises (those eggs, for example). But personally I like walking through IKEA and looking at all the cute furniture afterward anyway. It’s not a gourmet meal by any means, but it’s definitely good for what it is.
Now…Denny’s. Denny’s isn’t normally at the top of my list when thinking of restaurants to visit. But whatever, like I said, we can’t be eating at nice places all the time. This particular visit was to the location at North Road and Austin Avenue, to grab a quick lunch with my dad.
I stuck to the usual Denny’s menu and had a breakfast Grand Slam, with two sausage links, hash browns, scrambled eggs, and two buttermilk pancakes. It was pretty much what I expected from Denny’s, nothing more, nothing less. The sausages were disgusting. They didn’t resemble any sort of meat at all, just two finger-sized portions of grease and fat…the rest of the meal was nothing phenomenal, but nothing particularly to complain about. Although halfway through eating my meal, my dad suddenly goes, “Didn’t you order your eggs sunny-side up?” Oh yeah…I did. I didn’t really care and I was already halfway through my food anyway, so I didn’t bother telling the waitress, but it is kind of weird that she didn’t ever realize her mistake.
More notes on the service. For one thing, the waitress did not refill our water once during the entire meal and brought an almost-empty pitcher of maple syrup to the table. At some point, one of the older customers won a stuffed animal from the nearby toy claw machine and gave it to her–she took it and didn’t bother washing her hands before touching other customers’ food. I realize she is a waitress and not directly cooking anyone’s food, but I know how dusty it is inside those machines and I was a bit disturbed by how she didn’t bother washing her hands. I know she probably doesn’t score much tip, but still…
My dad had the Western Skillet, which is part of their current Skillet promotion. The one pictured on the menu was with eggs sunny side up, while my dad had the scrambled eggs–not exactly aesthetically pleasing. I realize the idea of a skillet is just a bunch of ingredients tossed together, but could this look more messy? It consisted of hash browns, the eggs, ham, mushrooms, onions, and some sort of cheese sauce served on a hot skillet. My dad had been craving something warm and enjoyed it for that reason, but he commented that it was very salty and ended up drinking up a lot of water. Wouldn’t say he’d order this again if he could help it. So yeah, two mediocre breakfasts in one week! I would probably say I prefer IKEA breakfast over Denny’s–most of the items at Denny’s are around $10 and I definitely wouldn’t want to pay that much for what we had. My favourite breakfast place in Coquitlam is actually Jimmy’s Place on North Road…but more on that later.
1000 Lougheed Hwy
500 Austin Ave