Long gone are the days of an eggs benedict simply being composed of two English muffins, two poached eggs, two pieces of back bacon and hollandaise sauce. As everything else evolves, so too has the popular breakfast item.
As if one needs an excuse to get their daily dose of eggs benedict, there is actually a national holiday that celebrates the egg dish, and it falls on April 16th. It is no longer just a Sunday brunch treat paired with a Caesar and a coffee, but rather an “any day of the week” indulgence. April 16th for example is tomorrow, a Tuesday.
In an effort to find some delicious versions of the dish, whether unique or traditional, I have spent the last week sampling some around town. While I hardly put a dent on Vancouver’s eggs benedict scene, below are some restaurants that are serving it up for breakfast and/or brunch.
SAVE ON MEATS @saveonmeatsdine
Like a beacon of light, the glowing meat sign drew me in.
Mark Brand has gained a lot of attention for Save On Meats, both positive and negative. Whether you support him or not, there’s no denying that the diner is providing affordable comfort food to Vancouverites from all demographics. This includes some tasty eggs benedicts, that pair well with a spicy Caesar.
Corned Beef Eggs Benny ($8.95)
The corned beef on this dish is incredible, and unlike any corned beef that I’ve tasted in the past. The meat is sliced thick and cooked perfectly, adding textural contrast to the otherwise “soft” dish. The saltiness of the meat pairs beautifully with the creamy and tangy hollandaise sauce.
Would I order it on Eggs Benedict Day? I’d be crazy not to.
West Coast Eggs Benny ($10.95)
Nix the salmon lox bagel with cream cheese and opt for an English muffin with salmon blanketed in hollandaise sauce.
For an eggs benny, this dish felt quite healthy – minus the homemade hashbrowns sitting in between each half, and the hollandaise sauce on top. The salmon was fresh and stood up against the sauce, which warranted it extra points on the tastiness scale.
Would I order it on Eggs Benedict Day? You bet.
HERONS AT THE FAIRMONT WATERFRONT @fairmontwf
A great location; a rooftop apiary; engraved cutlery; Ocean Wise seafood. Enough said.
Dungeness Crab Eggs Benny ($25)
There is nothing more Vancouver than eggs benedict that utilizes our West Coast abundance of fresh, sustainable seafood.
This may not be the first thing that I’d like to eat in the morning but after a mini yogurt parfait and a delicious, healthy energy drink made from rooftop honey, acai berry, Echinacea and prune juice, I was ready to dig in. I liked the flavours in this benny, even though aesthetically, with all neutral colors, it isn’t the most appealing. The hashbrown was a nice side dish with crispy strands of potato and cheese weaved in to the middle, while the skewer of fruit added a touch of color.
Would I order it on Eggs Benedict Day? Yes, but I’d split it with a friend and get waffles or French Toast as the second dish to ease my stomach in to the morning seafood while satisfying my sweet and savory tooth.
Traditional Eggs Benny ($21)
For a traditional eggs benny this was pretty sub-par, with one measly piece of ham that went almost unnoticed against the organic egg and rich hollandaise sauce. For four dollars more I would definitely opt for the Dungeness crab eggs benny.
Would I order it on Eggs Benedict Day? That price is a bit high for a traditional benny, even if it is the Fairmont.
COMMUNE CAFÉ @communecafe
This café is like something you’d find in a Seinfeld, but modern. They serve you coffee to your table, have booths to enjoy a sandwich or a muffin in, boast red chairs with plants adorning the table, and it’s located right in the middle of the city’s hustle and bustle.
Gluten-Free Eggs Benny ($14 + $2.50 spinach)
While some restaurants use gluten-free English muffins to create a gluten free eggs benny, Commune Café thought outside of the box and chose to use portabella mushrooms as the base of their dish. While I appreciate the recent and popular addition to the menu (less than a month ago), I still need an english muffin to make me feel like I’m eating an eggs benny. I also thought that it could use a little salt because neither the portabella mushroom or spinach add much flavour but rather soak up the flavour around them. That said, I love the hollandaise they make as it screams creamy and rich at first, then finishes with a little citrus tang that lingers in your mouth.
Would I order it again? Probably not. Especially knowing that there are some tasty meat options on the menu (see below).
Pulled Pork Eggs Benny ($13)
I hear pulled pork and, as much as I love it, I cringe a little; it’s so overdone. I know it’s popular and seemingly versatile, so I wasn’t surprised to discover that a few restaurants in town are offering a pulled pork eggs benedict. What the hell, why not try it?
I intended on only eating half of this dish because I was also sampling the gluten-free eggs benny, but I couldn’t resist its sweet and creamy charm. The pork belly is roasted for 12 hours, shredded and then coated in Commune Café’s very own BBQ sauce. It’s sweetness combats the rich flavours from the egg yolk and hollandaise without overwhelming it.
Would I order it again? Oh yeah. And I’d have it with a beer…even if it was 10am.
SLICKITY JIMS CHAT ‘N’ CHEW @SlickityJims
Leave it to Main Street to host a funky diner like Slickity Jim’s. The walls boast the most random decor (like Sock Monkeys), the special of the day is wrote in chalk and they have a mean selection of eggs benedict, both vegetarian and loaded with meat.
A Figment of my Imagination (Turkish Figs and Brie) ($10.50)
This was a unique benny that combined two of my favorite ingredients. The melted brie coated the eggs which was then blanketed by hollandaise sauce. The egg was poached medium so it drizzled out but didn’t pour all over my plate and my potatoes. The sweet complemented the savory and the savory complemented the sweet.
Note: the potatoes, although sprinkled with herbs, definitely need ketchup.
Would I order it again? Yes, even though there’s no meat, which says a lot.
Have a favourite in town that you think I should check out? Leave a comment!
So where did the eggs benedict come from? Good question. Different sources claim different originators, including Lemuel Benedict of Wall Street ordering it as a hangover cure in the Waldorf Hotel in 1894, or Mrs LeGrand Benedict creating the dish in 1893.
Some things are better left unknown so just enjoy the dish for what it is, tweaked or traditional.
A few interesting ones (that you may find variations of in Vancouver restaurants):
• Eggs Chesapeake replaces bacon with crabcake. (found at Slickity Jim’s)
• Eggs Stanley (from the famous Stanley Restaurant in New Orleans) – Cornmeal-Crusted P&J’s Louisiana Oysters, Poached Eggs, Canadian Bacon and Creole Hollandaise on a Toasted English Muffin.
• Irish Benedict replaces the ham with corned beef hash or Irish bacon. (found at Commune Café)
• Eggs Benedict Arnold replaces the English muffin with a biscuit and the hollandaise with country gravy. The egg is poached longer so that the yolk is fully cooked.
• Huevos Benedict replaces the English muffin with a twice-folded warm corn tortilla, and the ham with avocado. Salsa roja and cilantro are added on top of the hollandaise sauce.