Happy Easter Monday! Wherever you are, I’m imagining plenty of tabletops littered with Easter egg foil, more than one half-eaten chocolate bunny, and hams baking in the oven. Or perhaps getting fried up as leftovers! Whatever your Easter traditions are, I hope your weekend has been wonderful.
Yesterday, I headed to Steveston again. How could I not with this unbelievable weather? I had a very specific mission in mind, which was to go to Tapenade Bistro and try Chef Kayla Dhaliwal’s chicken and waffles. She’s a competitor on this season of Top Chef Canada, and got off to a rather infamous start a few weeks ago.
In the very first episode, after being asked to prepare the dish that inspired her to become a chef, Chef Kayla cooked up chicken and waffles, then plated the chicken. Just the chicken. While this might have been a devastating mistake for some, her chicken was so good the judges kept her anyway! Roses are red, violets are blue, and sometimes you just don’t get the waffles on a plate, ok?? Cleverly, she’s now added them to the brunch menu at Tapenade, so that we can all try that really, really good chicken.
Not wishing to part with the sun, I asked for a table on their patio. The menu had a variety of lunch-style starters such as carpaccio, beet salad, and prosciutto flatbread, as well as an impressive number of entrees. These ranged from two varieties of eggs benedict to fish and chips (Ocean Wise!), and the burger royale, with house made bacon, apple wood cheddar, horseradish burger ‘schmear,’ and crab tater tots. Most of the offerings are classic dishes cooked with a modern twist, which is my kind of food.
Even though I was alone, I ordered three dishes. I couldn’t help it. I actually wanted six, so what I was really doing was practicing unbelievable self-control.
I started with the infamous chicken and waffles ($15), which had yogurt fried chicken, bacon & pecan waffles, and maple cream cheese syrup. The dish came with two pieces of chicken (a breast and a drumstick), which I assume had been marinated quite a long time in yogurt and herbs.
The meat was unbelievably moist, and fried in a thin layer of spiced batter. Besides possessing incredible flavour, the nice thing about this chicken was that it wasn’t oily. I love fried chicken, but often it leaves me feeling like a grease bucket.
This chicken was all taste, with the savoury, smoky batter contrasting well with the candied pecans and creamy maple cream cheese syrup. I’d have liked waffles that were slightly more robust and crunchy, but that’s just a preference thing. Overall, this dish was killer.
Next up was Tapenade’s entry in Vancouver Foodster’s Eggs Benedict Challenge, adding to the two options for benedict already on the menu. Their challenge benny ($17) is a take on Toad in a Hole, with two poached eggs in duck fat Yorkshire pudding, foie gras hollandaise, British bangers, pommes anna, and a tomato and onion marmalade. BOOM.
Everything on the plate was well executed – the eggs were poached perfectly; the foie in the hollandaise was subtle, but present;
the perfectly stacked, thin slices of potatoes were dark brown, salty, and crunchy;
the Yorkshire pudding was light and airy; and the sausages were full of fennel and ever so tender. Also, they’re made locally at D-Original Sausage Haus!
This was serious breakfast fare, and I bet it’ll do well in the Eggs Benedict Challenge.
Finally, I couldn’t resist ordering the duck donair ($14), which had duck confit, Israeli couscous tabouli, sheep’s feta, Greek yogurt sauce, and came with an artisan green salad with duck vinaigrette and duck crackling. Duck! Duck! Duck! No goose.
This dish held all the comfort of a post-beer, late night donair, but with the ingredients kicked up about 20 notches. The portion of saucy, shredded duck was generous, and the tabouli (a classic Middle Eastern salad) had plenty of fresh herbs and orange, to compliment the duck.
Even though I hadn’t finished my first two dishes, I was still mighty full halfway through this one. Even so, I forced myself to finish the salad, which was perfectly, and sweetly, dressed.
I highly recommend heading to Tapenade for brunch when you can, and tuning into Food Network Canada tonight to cheer on Chef Kayla!
With plenty of leftovers for my roommates and feeling more than a little full, I decided that while I did NOT need dessert, I would still pop into Bell’s Bake Shop to see what they’d dreamed up for Easter. Plenty!
My favourite of the bunch was the Cadbury Creme Egg cupcake, which was a dark chocolate cake filled with cream egg filling, dipped in dark chocolate ganache, and topped with a slice of cream egg. Adorable.
I also stopped into the Sweet Spot to see if they’d made any hot cross buns – they most certainly had. 300, to be precise.
Dozens of the brioche buns were lined up on the counter, each with a sweet, white icing cross.
I bought two, and plan on eating them toasted with butter tomorrow morning. That’s a favourite Anderson family Easter tradition. They also had these alluring little pavlovas with passionfruit curd, which I think I’ll have to try sometime soon…
A very, very Happy Easter to all. Now I’m going to find some ham and chocolate eggs to eat.
Cash and cards accepted
Vegetarian options available