Sunday morning we were up an hour “earlier” thanks to the magic that is Daylight Savings Time – and, unfortunately, the place we were originally going to go to for breakfast did not embrace the “AM” like we did (too bad for you Dona Cata!). Instead, we hopped back on the bus and went further north towards the Broadway/Commercial Skytrain station to Bandidas Taqueria, a restaurant that has been great the previous two times we ate there.
Every table was occupied when we got there, but the friendly staff took note of us right away and put our names down on their list (written by grease pencil on a framed picture by the front door), then offered us the option to take a seat at the bar. The gave us menus to consider and brought mason jars of water to drink.
In about 1 minute, a table cleared up, so they sat us near the front window. Excellent for less-conspicuous picture taking! The crowd here, by the way is mostly mid-scale hipsters. Lots of mothers with babies in slings, edgy haircuts, vegan bike riders, all-womyn groups, dudes who wear toques indoors – you get the picture. But, unlike other places, Bandidas is not at all pretentious. They take pride in the food they prepare (vegetarian, local,organic) , and the way they source it (all without driving!), but are still able to provide (and relish in) a casual atmosphere.
We had enjoyed the Breakfast Soup and bennies here before, but we wanted to try something different. We looked around – lots of people were ordering the burrito, but that was too big for me, and Chris was in the mood for something sweet… We also noticed that a lot of people were leaving a ton of food on their plates. We’re big proponents of eating what you’re served, or order something smaller. We mentioned this to the waitress and she said that at least this restaurant composted (awesome!) but yeah, what can you do. Silly hipsters – eat your food!
We had two coffees to start and while still deciding on our brunch, we chose to nibble on an order of cornbread with honey butter. There are normally 2 pieces of cornbread when served – I blame Chris for what’s presented in the picture below:
The cornbread came immediately, still warm from the oven. It was moist, though not oily, and had a good sweet flavour. The flat muffin-like shape gave you lots of yummy baked edges. It didn’t have pieces of corn in the bread (unlike other cornbreads) but the cornmeal flavour was prominent. The honey butter was subtle to me, but Chris liked it a lot! So much so, that he kept the remnants of it for his main dish:
This looked FANTASTIC! Pineapple French Toast normally is 3 pieces (I don’t know if my picture taking had an effect – I know other bloggers have received “extras” now and then) but OMG this was delicious. They infused the batter with vanilla, nutmeg and some other spices that I couldn’t put my finger on. The french toast was cooked very nicely, the edges were just browned enough, and the centres not goopy at all. The fresh pineapple on the side smelled fantastically ripe, and the side of yogurt with cinnamon was a nice touch. To make this even more awesome, they served this with a full container of real maple syrup.
I chose a savoury meal – The Vegan – which was a scrambled tofu, filled with lots of veggies (butternut squash, green and red pepper, onions, potatoes, and a tomato “spicy ranchera” sauce). I am pretty sure those were potatoes – the menu said tortilla strips, but I think a substitution was made. Anyways, the scramble was creamy and chewy at the same time – a good thing! The tofu was well seasoned and coloured with turmeric. The squash gave it sweetness, which maybe made the “spicy sauce” and jalapenos (which I also think were replaced with green peppers) nearly neutral in terms of heat. Either the squash or some cornmeal did give the scramble a bit of a grainy texture – not in a bad way – but it did take me second to realize this wasn’t the tofu that had been over crumbled. The beans were cooked perfectly and went well with the hot sauce provided at the table. The red cabbage salad gave a nice textural contrast as well as a different flavour profile with its zingy dressing.
Full and happy, we had a good brunch here – again! We’re still curious about the burrito – and that you can have salad for breakfast (!??!). We haven’t had lunch or dinner fare yet either, and with so many different options, we’re definitely going to be back.