Cross-posted from Calgary is Awesome.
Several months ago, two food journalists who also kept blogs came out with a Food Blog Code of Ethics. Their goal was to put some guidelines down to help raise the accountability/credibility of food bloggers as their voices become more powerful in helping people decide where to eat. In their Food Blog Restaurant Review Guidelines, two lines made a lot of food bloggers wince -
"We will visit a restaurant more than once (more than twice, if possible) before passing a final judgment."While I do see where the authors are coming from with these guidelines, for someone like me, I rarely have the chance to try a place multiple times and with a frequency that will ensure that my review is relevant, let alone sample the full range of items on the menu (though going out with lots of people helps), but as I sat down with the menu at Avenue Diner, I knew one visit wouldn't be able to do it justice... but I wanted to have something to share with you today!
"We will sample the full range of items on menu."
I was delighted when Tiff mentioned that we should try the Avenue Diner for brunch - Gail over at The Pink Peppercorn had just mentioned Avenue Diner alongside AKA Winebar as places in Calgary to go for a "modern, hip brunch" on Daybreak Alberta on CBC 1010.
The Avenue Diner is tucked away in a tiny building just off of Centre St. on Stephen Ave. The space is long and narrow, with a long, retro drugstore-soda-fountain sort of bar, and booths with comfy leather couches as its primary seating. Kettles of coffee sit in the entry way to make the wait a little more bearable, but the wait wasn't too long for us; we arrived shortly after 10 and though there were lots of people in the waiting area, we were told that there was only one group ahead of us and only had to wait about five or ten minutes.
So, the menu...
I had taken a gander at the menu online before heading out and was initially thinking of the corned beef hash ($15.29), but as if the large selection on the regular menu was not enough, there's also a separate features menu with a tantalizing array of dishes. Coupled with Tiff's choice of the Avenue stuffed French Toast ($14.49, pictured on top) and the tempting idea of having a combination of sweet and savoury, I debated between the featured lamb hash ($15.99) and whole grain pancakes ($11.49) with a side of maple buffalo sausage ($4.49) before the Carrot Cake Waffles ($11.49) caught my eye. I resisted ordering the sausage because I wasn't sure how big my dish was going to be, but in retrospect I could've *totally* done a sausage ;)
The waffles went really well with the maple whipped cream and made for a light, sweet treat. My only qualm was that my waffles were very limp and I generally prefer them a little crisper instead of the texture of pancakes. Tiff definitely made the better choice of the morning - half of the toast was stuffed with savoury bacon and cheese, while the other half was grilled apple and brie. The toast was topped with a glob of spiced butter and served with a little pitcher of organic maple syrup.
I should also note that Avenue Diner has a pretty impressive drinks menu to go with their brunch. Tiff and I went the boring route and went for our "regular fixes" - coffee for her, Genmaicha green tea for me - but there were a lot more other teas, hot apple cider, different types of juices (that can all be made into mimosas)... For those who aren't creative with their beverages, they get creative for you by serving water with a little slice of lemon and a cranberry.
Our server was very efficient but friendly - it's clear that the people here know what they're doing and keep the flow of the restaurant running smoothly. Tiff and I are already daydreaming about what we'll order next time.
105 8 Ave SW
Calgary AB T2P 1B4
Open Mon-Fri 7 AM-3 PM; Sat-Sun 8 AM-3 PM. No reservations.