Hello everyone! Just demolished a bowl of flax-chia oatmeal with caramelized banana, blueberries, and hemp hearts, and I’m going to try to squeeze in this quick blog post before heading off to spin class. In the afternoon, I’ll be getting a haircut and then helping Mom prepare food for our BBQ party with family friends. 🙂 It’s going to be a busy and fun day!
On another note, I just uploaded all recent photos to my computer and updated this post with photos of the casserole we made and enjoyed. It’s down at the bottom of the post and features a recipe, too. 🙂 Who doesn’t love warm, cheesy, and HEALTHY casseroles?
We started the morning by driving to Edie Rae’s Cafe, which is about ten minutes into Powell River. The cafe itself is located inside the Old Courthouse Inn, which is a lovely little hotel with a vintage feel. We were the first people in the brunch place, and the perky waitress was happy to serve us drinks and food. I started with some hot water.
I didn’t have a hard time deciding what I wanted from the menu – I almost always order eggs benedict when at restaurants for brunch – and today was no different!
Louie’s Smoked Salmon Bene: Two poached eggs, fresh biscuit with herbed cream cheese, smoked lox, Hollandaise, hash browns
YUM! I’m not a huge fan of potatoes, and hash browns in particular, so I donated most of the taters to my dad. My bene, however, was INCREDIBLE. Rich, flavourful hollandaise sauce, perfectly-cooked eggs with runny yolk, and massive chunks of smoked salmon. They actually smoke their own salmon in-house, and I could definitely taste the difference. This was so, so fresh and didn’t have a “bagged” taste at all. They also whip up their own cream cheese, which is flavoured with herbs. I was so impressed! Everything tasted awesome together, and I absolutely LOVED the biscuit (not a fan of benedicts made with English muffins). 🙂
Seline decided on a three-egg omelet with her fillings of choice. She thought this was quite yummy and smothered it in ketchup.
Yvonne’s Omelette: Three eggs, choice of 3 toppings (mushrooms, cheese, bacon), hash browns, choice of bread
Dad ordered the classic breakfast, which came with eggs, bacon, sausage, and two big pancakes, as well as a good serving of hash browns. He raved about the crispy potatoes and loved how they were topped with scallions. Apparently that’s some kind of revolution for him (the fact that you can top potatoes with scallions). The downside to his meal were the sausages, which were cooked for a bit too long and were quite chewy and firm.
Millworkers’ Breakfast: Two eggs any style, 3 bacon, 1 ham, 3 sausage patties, 2 medium buttermilk pancakes, hash browns
Mom enjoyed her single benny made with avocado and tomatoes. Unfortunately, her avocado was a bit brown on the edges, as if it had been saran-wrapped and then cut straight out of the refrigerator. But the sauce, egg, and biscuit were flawless!
Powell Riviera Bene (half order): Two poached eggs, fresh biscuit, avocado, fried tomato, Hollandaise, hash browns
Since I gave Dad most of my potatoes, he let me try some of his buttermilk pancake. Bleh! I didn’t like this at all. It tasted like some kind of Bisquick or Aunt Jemima pancake mix. While it was fluffy and airy, there was no buttermilk flavour. Actually, there was no flavour at all here! I much prefer my own banana pancakes or pumpkin pancakes. The blackberry jam was alright. There was nothing memorable about that! And whoa… check out that runny yolk. ❤
Before heading on another ferry to the Courtenay // Comox region, Mom and I visited the Rocky Mountain Bakery, which has pretty great reviews. I was disappointed though – to see just mediocre croissants and danishes. Mom noted that the cinnamon buns were very expensive.
We arrived in Courtenay at around 1:30 and drove a little bit to find the Atlas Cafe, where we had lunch. It was super busy at that time, and we had to wait for about half an hour. There was a line up that streamed outside – and quite a few people were here to take out their meals.
By the time we were finally seated, well after 2:15, I knew I wanted to order the famed goat cheese tart! This plate was truly unlike anything I’ve ever eaten before. The crust! THE CRUST! It was so flaky and buttery. I thought egg tart crusts were good until I tried this one. Better than any crust I’ve ever eaten. Anyways, that incredible crust was filled with caramelized onions, sweet potatoes, and flavoured with plenty of herbs. It was surrounded with a tomato puree, balsamic vinegar, pesto oil, and garnished with a handful of mixed greens. The goat cheese was heaped generously between the mixed greens and the filling, and tasted amazing with the crust (YUM!) and slightly acidic tomato coulis.
GOAT CHEESE TART: sweet chili yams, fennel & caramelized onions with herb oil, tomato coulis & mixed greens
Yams + crust + balsamic + goat cheese + onions = my favourite bite!
Seline decided on a chicken souvlaki roll. The wrap could be made with a curry wrap or a whole wheat wrap, and Seline chose curry. She also selected the Caesar salad for the side. She really enjoyed her roll because of the garlicky tzatziki, but I wasn’t the biggest fan. I find rolls so difficult to eat because they fall apart and you have to use your hands. I hate gulping down my food super quickly because it’s going to get messy (eg. wraps, hot dogs, burgers, etc).
CHICKEN SOUVLAKI ROLL: sautéed chicken breast, roma tomatoes, caramelized onions, tzatziki & mixed greens with side salad
Dad had something similar for himself. His curry wrap had chicken breast with peanut sauce and tomatoes. I tried some and enjoyed the peanut sauce with chicken, but found it, again, too messy! I don’t think there were any pieces of grilled eggplant in here, though.
CHICKEN SATAY ROLL: sautéed chicken breast, peanut sauce, grilled eggplant, caramelized onions, tomatoes & mixed greens with side salad
Time for DESSERT! Seline already knew she wanted the warm brownie with ice cream. She loved how beautifully it was presented and appreciated the fact that we were served TWO scoops of ice cream rather than one, like most places.
HOT FUDGE BROWNIE: a traditional atlas favourite served with toasted almonds and ice cream
I knew I wanted the chocolate cheesecake. Because, well… it’s chocolate and cheesecake. My two favourites! This was also garnished with a huge chocolate “sheet” (is that what you call it?), whipped cream, and drizzles of chocolate and caramel.
I kind of fainted after my first bite. This was incredible, you guys! First, you taste the rich ganache, which has such a lovely, deep chocolate flavour. Next up – creamy, slightly tangy chocolate cheesecake. This section was my favourite – rich and chocolatey, yet a little sour from the cream cheese. It had the perfect sweetness, too. The crust was made of almonds and cocoa powder, rather than the usual butter + graham cracker crumbs. So unique, and it went very well with the rest of this chocolatey dessert. I think I ate 3/4 of this slice on my own!
BELGIAN CHOCOLATE CHEESECAKE: with chocolate almond crust and chocolate ganache
If I had to say one negative thing about this dessert, it would be that I wish there was no whipped cream. It simply wasn’t necessary. A fruity compote, on the other hand, or a dollop of creme fraiche, would be perfect. Either way, this was definitely in the TOP THREE desserts I’ve had in my life. And one of the top two of my Sunshine Coast vacation! By the time we finished the dessert and paid, it was around 4:00 in the afternoon. Talk about a late lunch! What is the latest time you’ve ever had lunch?
While walking around downtown Courtenay, we came to a special Whole Foods Market called Edible Island. It was just like Whole Foods on Cambie Street in Vancouver! Except a lot smaller. A LOT smaller.
Sweet Surprise Bakery is a famous Courtenay bakery – they sell only gluten free goodies. It was quite late in the afternoon when we arrived, and they were starting to saran-wrap their muffins to close the shop.
Isn’t it such a lovely little place? With the perky chandelier and cozy decor, I thought Sweet Surprise Bakery was the cutest place ever. It is opened by a mother and her daughter, and they sell nothing but GF treats. Everything looked amazing!
That’s it for today! Have the tastiest weekend ever. Lots of recipes coming up – stay tuned!