SIDE DISH: Chantal Ireland

Everything’s better after brunch

West Coast benny at the Village Estevan.

West Coast benny at the Village Estevan.

While I’m still wiping Christmas cookie crumbs off my face, I’m not going to tell you about juice bars, granola and salads because there’s plenty of other things you can read that will.

Instead of giving in to the pressure to commit to a new diet, workout plan or other major lifestyle change, I’m going to talk about brunch. Go the gym, cut out some sugar, eat less meat and any other change you want to make but do it because you want to, not because you feel like you have to.

We set ourselves up for disappointment when we take on too much, and in the end, change doesn’t end up happening. If you want to make diet changes, look at cooking with a new ingredient (I chose cranberries and leeks in December), joining the meatless Monday movement or shifting your buying to include more local products. Don’t freak out and think you have to start with kale smoothies on the way to Pilates at 6am. We have so much dialogue and information overload on food, it should bring joy and nourishment, not guilt and angst. So: brunch.

In the Fall I told you about a new location for Fol Epi. They are open now at 732 Yates St., with a cafe and bakery on one side and Agrius, a full service restaurant, on the other. Weekend brunch is served from 10am to 2pm, with a focus on local meats they process themselves from whole animals; egg creations; and simple dishes that really embrace and showcase the quality of the ingredients. The beautiful room filled with pastries, breads, coffee and bustling energy is a top new spot. Watch for patio seating in the Spring.

The Village Estevan serves breakfast all day (they have lunch dishes too) and the latkes that lie beneath the eggs and hollandaise are fantastic. They have plenty of great options and portion sizes are perfect. The line on weekends is worth it. Watch Twitter for time estimates. The Village did a pop up ramen night in December with house made broth, noodles brought back fresh from Hawaii and perfectly cooked eggs. It brought a room full of people inside on a rainy night for ramen and Phillips Beer. With just 60 bowls they were sold out 20 minutes in. Watch Facebook and Twitter for the next one. For more brunch ideas, check my list at chantalireland.com/best-brunch-in-victoria.

Try it, you’ll like it:

• A fresh new list of original cocktails every six weeks at Little Jumbo.

Spinnakers Brewpub brunch or roasted root vegetable salad for lunch. All local, great waterfront view, with cider and beer made on site.

• Anything on the weekend brunch menu at Relish Food + Coffee. I love the bennies.

Level Ground Trading’s Direct Fair Trade spices, vanilla beans, cane sugar and coconut oil. At grocers around town and online, this local company has high quality baking supplies sourced with a commitment to fair practices.

 

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