Reader. Writer. Romantic.

Posts tagged ‘Eggs Benedict’

Restaurant Review: Monki Breakfastclub & Bistro

Location: 1301 10 Avenue SW (Beltline Location)

Monki has been on my list of restaurants to try for at least the last two years and this past weekend I finally got to try it.

After throwing several ideas on the table, Monki was the one that we finally settled on. Monki does not take reservations, but they do utilize a waitlisting system. However, one of our friends’, Sarah, sister works here, so she was able to add us to the waitlist without us having to go through the app, which was extremely convenient.

I’m usually an early riser, but I respect that not everyone is an early bird. Actually, in the last few months, I’ve noticed that I’ve begun transitioning the other way – becoming a night owl. Had I proposed I time, I probably would’ve suggested something “ridiculous” like 8:30 a.m. for brunch, but the group consensus was for 11 a.m. Given how busy my weekend was, I actually really appreciated being able to sleep in. We met up at 10 a.m. and commuted to the restaurant together, arriving at about 10:30 a.m., which was the requested time for people on the waitlist. We were promptly seated outside on the patio as we requested and discovered that we were the first to arrive on a three hour waitlist. Things were pretty quiet when we arrived, but it didn’t take long for it to pick up.

The weekend we chose to go coincided with weekend of the Calgary Pride Parade, so Monki was offering Pride Pancake Tacos on their menu. Sarah and Alex both went with this, while I decided on a more savoury option: the Brisket Bene. Monki is actually known for their fondue, so of course we had to give that a try.

Drink wise, we all ordered coffees because starting the day without caffeine sounded like a bad idea…even if it had no effect on my body, it was an amazing full bodied flavour. Sarah got the Classic Mimosa with orange juice and Alex got the Showstopper Mimosa. Both were topped with a rainbow ribbon candy (I forgot the actual name of the candy…) in honour of pride. The Classic was delicious (I like my orange juice with pulp in it), but the alcohol was much more apparent than the Showstopper which featured their housemade strawberry lemonade. If I knew I wasn’t going to tip over, I would’ve ordered one of the Showstoppers myself.

We started with the fondue which was a variety of fruits: strawberries, blackberries, and banana, waffles and three shots of flavoured/coloured white chocolate: earl grey, matcha, and white chocolate coloured with beet juice. The problem that has already been identified by the restaurant is that shot glasses are not the best vessel to serve the chocolate in because it gets to a point where you can’t dip the fruit and especially not the waffle in anymore. I thought that the white chocolates all tasted pretty much the same; there were subtle differences if you knew what you were looking for, but otherwise, it was just the sweet of white chocolate, which is my least favourite chocolate…I don’t even consider it to be real chocolate. My suggestion would be to offer the dish with a choice of chocolate. That way, the one flavour could be fully enjoyed and the restaurant could use a larger vessel to serve it in.

The Pride Pancake Tacos consisted of banana, peanut butter, cinnamon, and strawberry jam in a banana pancake topped with whipped cream, sprinkles and white chocolate drizzle in the colour of the trans flag. (sorry if I missed anything that was in here as I forgot to note down everything and since it was a specialty item, it is no longer on their menu for me to cross check). A portion of the proceeds goes towards supporting Calgary Pride (if I’m remembering correctly). The only reason I shied away from this dish was because I will only eat bananas at a particular ripeness. Between that and how many bananas we ended up with at our table, I’m glad I didn’t go for it.

I was torn between ordering a Benny, the Monki Perogies, Pancake Breakfast Tacos, and the Not-So-Classic Huevos Rancheros, but since the Benny was one of the first things I was drawn to, I went with my heart. The Brisket Bene consisted of braised brisket, mushrooms and truffle ricotta. The eggs are served on a crostini/slice of baguette. While this is new and I haven’t ever seen it done this way, it was so small that there wasn’t much space to fit on the brisket, mushrooms, and egg and left me wanting more. I didn’t realize that there was a choice between the classic hollandaise and a pink prosecco hollandaise. Next time, if I have the chance, I will definitely try the prosecco hollandaise. The hashbrowns were well seasoned and though they’re better than a lot of hashbrowns I’ve had elsewhere, they weren’t mind-blowingly delicious. The hot sauce, Monki tears, on the other hand might’ve possibly blow up my tastebuds. I typically am good with spicy…unless it’s habanero…which it was. That said, I purchased a bottle because I really need some hot sauce at home and even though this is quite spicy, it was delicious. Next time I’m going to also get a bottle of the Monki Vampire Slayer Hot Sauce because garlic is always a good idea.

I’m glad we chose to sit outside as inside the restaurant is quite small and cramped and now I can better understand how the waitlist can get up to a 3 hour wait so quickly. If you intend on coming, either come early or add yourself to the waitlist as soon as you possibly can.

I was worried since someone else who had been here had been sorely disappointed and having waiting to come here for so long I didn’t want to be met with disappointment either. I’m pleased to report that both food and service here were amazing. I would definitely come back for the perogies, breakfast tacos, and huevos rancheros. I would rate this place 3.75/5.

Monki Logo
Monki Exterior
Patio Seating
Classic Mimosa – Orange
Showstopper Mimosa
Chocolate Fondue
Pride Pancake Tacos
Brisket Bene

Restaurant Review: OEB Breakfast Co.

Location: 110, 222 – 5 Avenue SW

I vaguely remembering seeing OEB from when it used to be next to Diner Deluxe on Edmonton trail.  I remember both breakfast places didn’t take reservations so the line ups were ridiculously long.  This morning I took the express bus from my community in preparation for my upcoming practicum and met Valerie downtown for breakfast here.

As per usual, I looked at the menu weeks before to finalize what I wanted.  Val had come here before with a friend and knew exactly what it was she wanted: Tuna Crudo.  The Tuna Crudo is an item under boxed, which is to say, a self-contained bowl having everything in it (or I guess could be boxed up easily and taken on the go).  It consists of ahi tuna, avocado, sesame, pomme Gaufrette, cilantro crema, and two poached eggs.  Having had it before, she knew how heavy the potatoes could get and ordered it with half spinach, half potato (I think she did that the last time, or a 2/3 spinach, 1/3 potato).  After much deliberating, I finally settled on the Water Fowl Eggs Benny with a side poutine.  The Benny consisted of smoked Peking duck breast, porcini mushroom-truffle ragu atop an English muffin and a brown butter Hollandaise.  Seeing as they allow the option of ordering a whole avocado as an extra and they charged $3.85 for one (I saw them for $1.85, same brand at Safeway and thought it was expensive), I expected a small poutine even though I was adding $4.95 for that substitution.  I was pleasantly surprised when it came out and was actually a decent size.  Val’s Tuna Crudo reminded me very much of a Westernized, breakfastized interpretation of a poke bowl and now thinking about it, having raw fish for breakfast is a little weird (not unheard of or frowned upon in any way, just seems more like a lunch or dinner thing, but then again I’m the kind of person who has steak for breakfast, so who am I to judge).  Also, Asian seasoned Tuna with fries…bit of a strange combo.  Despite my apprehension, it was a delicious dish and while I probably wouldn’t be able to eat it on my own (too much raw fish), I wouldn’t be opposed to ordering it again and sharing it with someone.

The same can be said about the Water Fowl Egg Benny and poutine.  As I mentioned, the poutine was an additional add on and while expensive and huge, it had a rich heartiness to it, a richness that would prove too much as the meal progressed.  Combined with the creaminess of the egg yolk and Hollandaise, I was full for hours.  The preparation of the duck threw me off though.  When I saw “Peking,” my first thought was of the Peking duck style of preparation with a crispy (rendered) skin and juicy, rich, tender meat.  This was not that.  As described on the menu, it was smoked.  Like a ham.  It even had the criss-cut lines that were reminiscent of ham.  Even the texture of the meat had me questioning whether it was duck or ham that they had in fact given me.  The Hollandaise was a lot lighter than some of the Hollandaises I’ve had in the past.  It’s still thick enough to mop up with the English muffin, but not so thick that it made me feel bloated while eating it.

The potatoes in the poutine were seasoned like the potatoes in Val’s Crudo.  Like many of the things in this meal, it was delicious, but with time became unbearably salty.  The cheese curds, which I assume are the Saint Cyrille curds they use in other dishes are no squeaky Quebec cheese curds.  They’re delicious enough, but I want to find a place here that offers those squeaky curds that seem so hard to come by.

Something I learned going out to breakfast places: soft vs medium vs hard for egg temperatures.  I had always thought that soft was a runny, golden yolk with a firm albumin, medium a slightly firm around the edge with a still runny, creamy yolk with a firm albumin, and hard as a both firm yolk and albumin.  But apparently, soft means that the albumin is still slightly runny and that’s not what I want.  However, sometimes I find when I order medium I get what I thought was a medium and other times I get what I thought was a soft.  So now I’m really confused and am not sure how to order eggs…

While there wasn’t a line up when we arrived, they were certainly running out of seats, so we ended up sitting at the bar facing the interior of the building it was located in (fifth avenue place).  I liked that at the bar the was a bar for me to rest my feet (because those chairs are tall and frankly, I’m pretty short) and a ledge to put my bag on.

Overall, I’d say I would come again.  While the food itself is a little heavier than what I like for breakfast, it is still some of the most delicious food I’ve had.  Next time I hope to go early enough to get a table.  Based on my experience, I’d rate this a 4.25/5.

egg booth
Egg Booth
View from our seat
tuna crudo
Tuna Crudo with Mango Juice
water fowl egg benny
Water Fowl Eggs Benny with Poutine and Chocolate Milk

Cafe Review: Wise and Wright

Location: 163-317 7 Ave SW

It’s been a while since I’ve been to a cafe. I’ll admit, since I’ve been in this relationship, I’ve been a bit spoiled. Typically, we’re more of the take out and enjoy the food at home kind of people and since he has a car, I’ve gotten accustomed to being driven everywhere.

At my cousin, Yulin’s suggestion, we decided to try this place out. Based on her recommendations and experiences, I’d have to say she’s my cafe consultant. Like most of Calgary, the brunch craze is starting to hit and this cafe is no exception. My first impression based on the menu was that everything was very healthy and promoted a healthy lifestyle via food (like post- or pre-workout foods).

We arrived at around 10:30/10:45 and found the place to be relatively empty. It was clean and welcoming and although I had previously perused the menu, I still had no idea what I wanted. With most restaurants and cafes I’ve been to, they have a brunch menu on weekends in addition to their regular menu. However, this is not how Wise and Wright chose to do it. On the weekend, they only allow patrons to order off of the brunch menu. I was slightly disappointed because I wanted to try their mushroom flatbread and sweet potato and roasted garlic soup, but was told I couldn’t order those things. So I went for my go to dish: an eggs benny. Originally I was going to get a Rancheros Bowl -Wise Style, but as Yulin was getting it, I didn’t want to get the same thing. I got the house oven ham eggs benny, which comes with two soft poached eggs atop a toasted sprouted bun, topped with a yogurt hollandaise and a side of wise sweet potato hash and salad. Yulin’s Rancheros Bowl -Wise Style consisted of refried beans, brown rice, stone bread, crushed avocado, poached egg, cilantro, spicy salsa, arugula, and rancheros sauce. In terms of drinks, I decided to try the philosopher’s brew and Yulin had an Americano. As the waitress brought the Americano, I was removing my jacket and bumped her, spilling coffee everywhere on the floor. I felt terrible as she said she was going to make a new one. I felt as though she was saying that it was okay, but it was a situation where that’s what you say, but not how you feel. Even after I helped to clean it up, I still felt bad. The philosopher’s brew was fairly light, but because of the ginger, it really warms you up from the inside out. I probably wouldn’t order it again unless I was sick or really cold.

The eggs benny was the biggest disappointment. The ham and sprouted bun were dry, the hollandaise was essentially non-existant, the salad incredibly under-dressed, and the temperature on one of my eggs was wrong. The Rancheros Bowl on the other hand was the complete opposite, a complete delight. If you had not expected it, the heat of the salsa hits you like a ton of bricks. I wouldn’t exactly call it a salsa as much as a thick sauce, but it was amazing. As I sit here and write this, remembering the depth of flavour, I am salivating. I appreciated that it wasn’t spicy for spicy’s sake. That bowl was just perfection, it wasn’t over-salted, and next time I visit, if I can’t get the flatbread, I will definitely have this one.

Overall, the staff were really friendly and accommodating given the aforementioned incident. I would return to give this place a second chance with brunch and would return to try out the regular menu. However, based on today’s experience and judging it based on the dish I did order, I’d have to give it a 2/5.


Background: Rancheros Bowl and Americano  Foreground: Oven


Restaurant Review: Holy Grill

Location: 827 10 Ave SW, Calgary, Alberta


When I was first introduced to this restaurant, I was a bit hesitant. The menu didn’t look particularly appetizing, but since I had never been in downtown Calgary before, I thought I’d give it a try. It was a small restaurant on the corner of 8th St and 10th Ave. I nearly missed it the first time as I was being distracted by the stationary store on the corner. I’m usually a savory sandwich kind of person, so even though it was still early, I decided to order a panini. It was not what I expected. First off, it was a wrap, a pita wrap put into a panini press. I shrugged, why not? The first bites of the Sicilian weren’t too bad, but it was entirely vegetarian, so it didn’t take long for me to get bored. If it had been seasoned a little bit better I probably could have finished, but it wasn’t so I took home half of it.

A year or so later I decided to give it a second chance. This time I went for the Mr. Chicken Panini and what a difference! I was genuinely impressed and really enjoyed it. My sister had one of their burgers, which was also excellent, if not also very messy (but in a good way). Their sea salt fries weren’t bad, but it’s unfortunately that we have to pay $3.75 to add them. Also, the sweet potato chips were a bit of an odd choice to pair with a burger and not totally worth it.

Today I returned with my sister for a nice de-stressing breakfast. I decided to order a South Beach Benedict because my friend had had one last time and it looked delicious. She had had it with a hot chocolate and I decided I would do that same. The hot chocolate came out and made me frown for time I went with my friend for breakfast, she had ordered a steamed hot chocolate and had a cup and a carton of extra hot chocolate in it. This time I did not. I already knew that it was going to be a disappointment when the cashier forgot to even give me my change and required me to prompt her for it. Even then, she gave me the incorrect change. It was too much a hassle to go back and bug her for it, so I just sat down and hoped that my Benedict would blow me away. It did not.   Yes, it looked beautiful, but this time the side portion of fruits had shrunk. When I cut into the egg, the yolk oozed out, as expected, but it was not the beautiful golden yellow I had expected, but a faded pale yellow that got lost in my hollandaise sauce. Actually, there wasn’t much hollandaise sauce to begin with and it was thin and runny. My sister on the other hand, had a ranch burger and I really wanted to eat hers instead of mine. I wish I had ordered a burger instead of a Benedict.

Despite everything, I would still recommend this restaurant, but only for the lunch. Unless you like runny hollandaise sauce on an English muffin that had a bit of a weird consistency, I probably wouldn’t’ suggest breakfast. However, this place is a bit on the pricier side and all sides (fries, dip, etc.) have an extra cost. Unfortunately because of this particularly bad experience I’d have to give it 3/5 stars.


Eggs Benedict


Mr. Chicken with Sea Salt Fries


Ranch Burger with Sea Salt Fries

South Beach Benedict

Tag Cloud