I'm ashamed to admit it, but I'm having an affair with another breakfast place. When I wrote this post a few years ago I never thought I could love another breakfast place as much as I loved that one. Sure I had had some places on the side, but nothing serious. All that has changed.
My Don Draper-esque tryst of culinary infidelity started a few months ago. My last few visits to my usual place were a little lack luster; leaving my breakfast desires somewhat unfulfilled. So my eyes wondered, searching for another. I had a place a tad farther away that was a little less busy, who made banana pancakes with bananas baked in. True, the pancakes on their own weren't as good (still very good), but when I had a craving for banana pancakes, I had nowhere else to go. My earlier dissatisfaction coupled with stories of slower service and smaller pancakes means I haven't been back to Norval since late last year.
Breakfast cravings now took me to Caledon Family Restaurant, formally known as Flapjacks. They make a terrific breakfast across the board. The highlight being their enormous banana pancakes but everything on their menu is quite good, and don't get me started on the pancake fries. Cooked pancakes, cut into fingers, and then fried... it almost tastes like funnel cake, but an angelic one.
So weekend after weekend we went to breakfast and Caledon Family Restaurant became the only destination. And then something happened. One morning determined to try something new, we went to breakfast at The Coffee Bean Cafe (and grill), just a few minutes south of Caledon Family Restaurant. I had been passing it for quite some time, but never really paid much attention. Yet, for some reason, I was finally drawn to its promise that everything was home cooked.
It's a tiny place, with few tables and a relatively small menu. Wanting to try a bit of everything on my first visit, I ordered the hungry man with pancakes; my girlfriend, the raisin French toast. It was an unexpectedly snowy day, and I think the wait-staff were stand-ins (haven't seen them since) so service was a tad slow, but all of that was made up for when the food came. And it was a lot of food. Eggs, bacon, sausage and ham were all cooked perfectly and were delicious. The bacon was even soft and chewy, the way bacon should be. The pancakes were absolutely fantastic, a tad crisp on the edges, buttery, light and soft, and the home fries were among the best I've had. The review of the French toast was that it was tasty, although a bit small on the portion size, which I’ve found is a bit unusual for this place. Granted, everything was priced much too reasonably and I left knowing I would be back.
However, I never recommend a restaurant until I've visited more than once. Sometimes you get lucky on your first trip, and you never know if that first experience, good or bad, is an accurate one. Our second venture was even better than the first. Blueberry pancakes, made with dollops of blueberry preserves, that were too good for words and a massive Canadian omelette that was as good as it was huge and chalk full of cheddar cheese. And again, let me reiterate, the home fries can't be beat.
I've been one more time since then, and can't wait to go again. Our last trip solidified how much I like, not only the food, but also their friendly and personable wait-staff; as our overly long decision making process led to the waitress sitting down next to us with a “What’s the problem here?” and an attempt to help us with our orders. It was both funny and charming; completely in line with the homey down-to-earth menu and diner atmosphere. We ordered a lot of food that day, I went with the hungry man with loaded home fries. Imagine, home fries topped with cheese, bacon, sautéed onions and peppers; well, I don’t have to. So good.
I'm not sure if The Coffee Bean Cafe will be my forever place or if I will once again be tempted by another. Regardless, I'm going to enjoy it while it lasts.