Friday, 20 March 2015

Grazi Gives a Great Breakfast


This week I decided to head to Grazi café in St.Catharines, as it had been recommended by several family friends. I again took my mom with me, however, as it was not Valentine’s Day, it seemed to be much more socially acceptable. We were both surprised at the relative emptiness of the restaurant at 8 a.m. on a Saturday morning. After hearing so much about it we had expected it to be packed.
My Mother
About to enjoy the 'Grazi Special'




















We were seated promptly, and I ordered a 'Grazi Special' two egg, two bacon, home fry and toast breakfast. With my life in a relative state of turmoil, it was great to get a familiar breakfast. It arrived quickly and was very tasty. Our waitress was very attentive and polite and took the time to learn about what school program I was in. It felt as though she really cared about the people she was serving. Grazi had a very healthy feel to it with fruit as an option in many dishes. Unfortunately, I was not feeling particularly healthy and wolfed down my eggs and bacon. The price was also quite comparable, and factoring in that the restaurant is relatively close to my house, I suppose I saved money on gas as well. All in all, Grazi offered a great breakfast for a reasonable price. The staff were exceptional and lived up to the name of the restaurant. I will certainly be going back!
The 'Thank You' sign
Highlight: The friendly service

Honourable Mention: The 'Thank You' sign

Bacon Strip Rating: Four Strips



Wednesday, 11 March 2015

The Flying Saucer Is Not Quite Out Of This World


This week I decided to try my luck in Niagara Falls at the FlyingSaucer. I had heard a lot about the Flying Saucer in my brief time working for Niagara Casinos. Many of my co-workers stated that it was a great place to go after working a midnight shift as the breakfast was quite large. To test this, I attended with my classmates Ethan and HaleyThe restaurant was packed and we were extremely lucky to find a table and parking. I decided to order the steak and egg special for $11.99. This consisted of a large piece of steak as well as three eggs, home fries and toast.
The steak and egg special
 I ordered the steak medium rare, however this was not the condition that it arrived in. All in all, the breakfast was good, but the slow service was quite cumbersome. As you would expect, there were alien decorations on the inside, but there could have been more to really give the place an ‘out of this world’ feel. 
One of the few alien decorations
The portions were generous and I enjoyed my visit, but the real issue with the Flying Saucer is that it is not excellent in a particular area. The decorations are average. The food is ok, and the prices are slightly inflated. For this reason, I will give the restaurant a reluctant three bacon strip rating. I feel that were I to have tried this place at the start it may have scored higher, however, having seen the true greatness that the other breakfast places in the region can produce, I would not be in a rush to go back.

Highlight: Having breakfast with some great friends

Honourable Mention: They sell postcards

Bacon Strip Rating: A reluctant three strips

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Cosmo's Is Out Of This World!


This week, after much encouragement from my classmate Jeff, I decided to go with him to Cosmo’s Diner on Front St. in Thorold. If you are looking for a restaurant that feels like an authentic 60’s diner, this is the place for you.
Jeff and I at Cosmo's
The wait staff were incredibly friendly and the food arrived quickly. I took a chance and ordered the
peameal bacon special which consisted of home fries, rye toast, two eggs and two pieces of peameal. I am a firm believer that the only way to serve peameal bacon is cut thick. Luckily Cosmo's delivered and it made for a delicious breakfast.
The homefries (all too often relegated to a mere aside) were also very tasty with a unique Cajun spice that added to the meal. Beyond the great breakfast taste, Cosmo's was also full of character. There were pictures of Marilyn Monroe, and classic records from Buddy Holly and Roy Orbison throughout to give a genuine diner feel.
'Genuine Diner Feel'
The high point for me was when ‘Green Onions’ by
Booker T and the MG’s came on the stereo.
For a brief moment, it really felt like I was still living in an era where cars were big, Coke was in a glass bottle, and a Kennedy was in the White House. The only potential flaw is that being located on the main street has not afforded Cosmo’s a parking lot. Luckily there is ample free parking on the street right outside.

Highlight: The thick cut strips of peameal bacon.

Honourable mention: The awesome music!


Bacon Strips: Five strips!

Friday, 27 February 2015

Measuring Up The 2x4


This week I decided to head a bit further afield. Luckily my friend Haley knew of a great breakfast restaurant in Wainfleet called the 2x4 Diner. Having a bit of trouble locating it on my GPS, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that it was located at a major intersection right near the edge of Wainfleet. We had to wait several minutes to be seated as there was a group of rambunctious youngsters sitting in the back. Apparently they were part of a local hockey tournament. Our waitress seemed frustrated by her previous customers and was delighted that Haley and I had simple orders. She ordered the barbecue chicken omelet, and I ordered a western sandwich.
The western sandwich (above) and barbecue omelet (below)
I love western sandwiches as they provide all the key ingredients of a breakfast (eggs, toast, meat) all easily compartmentalized in a tasty sandwich. Unfortunately, the western the 2x4 produced was not very good. The vegetables tasted aged and the meat was not very prevalent. What the 2x4 was lacking in western sandwich prowess, it made up for in creative wall murals. There was a happy full length mural located next to the cash register, and friendly cowboy lassoing patrons towards the bathrooms.
The cowboy

The mural near the cash regiser
















Overall, the ambiance of the 2x4 is what you would expect from a small town breakfast restaurant. It seems like a great option if you live near by, but may not be worth the drive if you are coming from further afield. I wanted to give it two bacon strips out of five, but Haley insisted that her omelet was good and I needed to give it a three.


Highlight: The accommodating staff

Honourable mention: the barbecue chicken omelet (apparently)


Bacon strips: Three strips (or two depending on my assessment of the omelet)

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Silks Soothes the Soul


With my girlfriend away in Ireland for the month, I decided to take my mother out for a Valentine’s Day breakfast. We chose Silks in Virgil as we had heard it had a cheap breakfast that was quite good. Upon arrival I was embarrassed to see several people I went to high school with having breakfast with their spouses and young children. Needless to say sitting alone with my mother did not project the image of ‘functioning member of society’ that I am striving for these days.
'Functioning Member of Society'
However the breakfast itself was delicious. As advertised on the outside sign, you can get a two egg, two bacon, toast and home fry breakfast for a mere $3.49.
The $3.49 Breakfast Special
The service was very quick and we were enjoying our breakfast in no time. The restaurant was quite busy but it did not feel overly crowded or cramped. The cheap breakfast was very good. Ultimately the real selling point of Silks was the price and speed with which the meal was served. It’s tough to imagine finding a decent breakfast cheaper than $3.49 and for that reason the place scores very highly. Further it was not over-decorated with outrageous items all over the wall, but rather was painted in a soothing brown that made it feel like eating at a relative’s home.
Soothing brown paint and tastefully decorated
It is evident that Silks is a cornerstone of the Virgil community. It serves as a gathering place and a second home for many. I would certainly recommend Silks if you are looking for a quick, friendly and cheap breakfast. Just don’t go with your mother on Valentine’s Day.
My mother on Valentine's Day


Highlight: The price

Honourable mention: The soothing brown wall colours


Bacon strip rating: 4 strips!

Friday, 13 February 2015

Rozie’s Raises the Bar



With snow falling, I decided to keep my breakfast adventure closer to home this week. This led my sister and I to brave the snow and make the short trip to Port Dalhousie to give ‘Rozie’s Breakfast Café’ a try. The restaurant was packed but luckily we got one of the last open tables for two. Because of its location on Main Street in Port Dalhousie, Rozie’s has all sorts of rowing paraphernalia on the walls as well as lots of high protein breakfasts.

I was particularly intrigued by one called ‘The Coach’. Having not coached anything for a while, I felt a bit devious ordering such a breakfast, however, it was more than worth it when my scrambled eggs smothered in beans, tomato slices, and rye toast arrived. Normally I demand meat with a hot breakfast, but in this instance I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed my meatless meal.
"The Coach"
To further add to the ambiance, the exposed pipes and high ceiling allowed for a very open feel even within a room that was quite full of people.
The cool exposed pipes
 I am also pleased to report that the home fries are delicious. There were none included with my meal, however when my sister carelessly knocked the syrup bottle off our table, I was able to sample a few from her plate during the ensuing confusion.
The syrup that provided the diversion



The delicious home fries



















My experience at Rozie’s was truly top notch. It was clean and the servers were very friendly and attentive. I will certainly be going back.


Highlight: The entire ‘Coach’ breakfast

Honourable mention: The restaurant had an easily accessible first aid kit, which offered me peace of mind on such a slippery day.


Bacon Strip Rating: 5 Strips! 

Friday, 6 February 2015

Butterballs



This week I decided to explore Butterballs in Jordan, a restaurant that I had not been to since I was very young. Luckily not much had changed. The food was affordable, the seating was immediate and the pictures on the wall were as random as ever. I ordered the standard two-egg breakfast which I chose to pair with bacon, white toast, and baked beans. I was particularly excited about the baked beans option as it was a pleasant change from the home fries that most other breakfast restaurants offer. Furthermore, it reminded me of a flatulent scene in the Mel Brooks classic Blazing Saddles.
A Blazing Saddles character enjoying beans
My sister chose to accompany me on the adventure (as she too had not eaten breakfast at home) and decided to get the French toast. All of the food was quite nice. It was not the best breakfast I have ever had but certainly up to par. The eggs were runny, the toast was warm and the beans were delicious – all in all a great feast. 
The author anxiously awaiting his baked beans
As alluded to before, what really makes Butterballs special is the décor. There are few other places in the area where you can see a picture of some sad clowns, a dated Atlanta Falcons picture, and a French soldier, all within several feet of each other. 




















This is the great charm of Butterballs: it has a very rural feel, it values art in its simplest form and casts off any modern idea of theme. The place is truly a one off. I also discovered that many of the items on the wall and shelves have price tags on them, as the property also serves as a flea market. All in all, if you are looking for a nice breakfast and a wild array of pictures on the wall, then Butterballs is the place for you.

Highlight: The baked beans!

Honourable Mention: The sad clown painting that provokes a whole world of emotion.


Bacon Strips: I give Butterballs three bacon strips out of five. The food was quite good but the portions were not quite as large as in other locales.