Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!  I imagine many of you are in warm kitchens preparing dinner for tonight, or relaxing after feasts you’ve already enjoyed.  Having hosted Thanksgiving yesterday evening, I’m now contentedly stuffed, with a pot of turkey stock simmering on the stove and a fridge full of leftovers.  For its gathering of family and friends, tables laden with harvest food, and genuine time of reflection,  I love Thanksgiving.

Before I get too sappy, let me first share a meal with you.  Since the sun has generously remained well into October, I took advantage of the blue sky by trekking to Steveston for breakfast.

Several readers have suggested I try Cimona Cafe, which is located just off the water on Bayview Street.  They have a cozy interior, but I decided to save that for a wintery afternoon when I’ll crave cider by the fire.  Though it was a little windy, I pulled on my cardigan and sat outside, happy to warm up with breakfast and the bright sun overhead.

Cimona Cafe offers standard restaurant fare: sandwiches, soups, wraps, burgers, pastas, a few entrees, dessert, hot drinks, and breakfast every day until 3pm (all day on Sundays).  I ordered the Bacon Eggs Benedict with hashbrowns ($8.49), and one slice of French toast ($2.99), just to try something sweet.

My order arrived quickly, and I started with the benny.  It wasn’t fancy, but pretty good.  The eggs were poached properly (bright yolks poured out as I cut into them) and the generous portion of bacon was chewy and satisfying.

I would have preferred the hollandaise to be saltier, but the crispy chunks of potato were well-seasoned.  It was a basic, wholesome, and filling plate.  Not bad at all.

The French toast was a disappointment – it was just a thick slice of white sandwich bread, battered lightly on the outside and dry on the inside.  It didn’t taste bad, but it didn’t taste sweet, eggy, or substantial either.

While I wouldn’t recommend the French toast, I would get another bacon benny on Cimona’s patio.  I have to say the service was lovely; I felt fully welcomed, and as I paid my bill, the server called me “honey.”  I always find that endearing.

She made my day a little sweeter with her kindness, and for that I am always thankful.  After breakfast I wandered over to the Market at Papi’s and discovered pumpkin cheesecake in their dessert case.  Then, well, my day was really made.

It was like eating forkfuls of Autumn; smooth, rich, golden, and spiced, with a layer of cream cheese on top and a gingery biscuit crust on the bottom.  Pumpkin pie isn’t really my thing, but pumpkin cheesecake most certainly is.  As I left the market, I came across this scarecrow on the sidewalk.  People are so clever.

Last night I celebrated Thanksgiving with a family of friends.  My roommate and I cooked the turkey and fixins’, with lovely contributions of baked brie, roasted squash, salads, and wine from everyone else.

We made pies (apple, apple/apricot/almond/brandy, and a little cherry one), enough sourdough bread stuffing to last us a week, broccoli cheese casserole (an Anderson family Thanksgiving essential), spiced cranberry sauce, a huge pot of buttery mashed potatoes, and roasted a 12 pound turkey.

I love spending time in the kitchen preparing food for friends, and yesterday reminded me of why I spent four summers in the bush cooking for treeplanters.  Hours spent listening to music while chopping, stirring, rolling, tasting, and mashing make me practically euphoric.  Add to that an evening around the table with friends – the kind who don’t judge you for undoing your pants because you’re so full – and there you have it, my happy place.  I could write a novel’s worth of things for which I am thankful, but a Thanksgiving feast sums up the basics very well; plentiful food and drink, a warm home, the luxury of having time to relax, and enjoying that time with the finest of people.

Oh, and pie.  I am also very thankful for leftover pie.



Cimona Cafe and Catering

3791 Bayview Street, Richmond BC

Cash and cards accepted

Vegetarian options available