Review: Against the Grain Urban Tavern

Against the Grain Urban Tavern - Leaside

“Want to go for brunch on Sunday??” I get or send that text message every week, typically sometime between Wednesday afternoon and Friday morning. Usually it’s to and from my friends Matt and Dawn. Brunch is one of those meals where you recap the week and make plans for the next so you have to be in good company either because you need someone to laugh with (hopefully not at) and occasionally a shoulder to cry on. Knowing I was in good company, it was time to send the all-important follow up, “Where do you want to eat?” That’s not a tricky question normally, except when one goes out for brunch every weekend and then where do you go avoid gastro-boredom?

Then I remembered the Against the Grain Urban Tavern, a restaurant in Leaside I had watched being built over the winter months. I suppose being stuck in traffic caused by the road construction on Laird Avenue could be looked at as a bad thing by local businesses, but on the other hand it’s free advertising because what else do people do when they’re stopped in their car, but look around. So why not? Let’s give this place a shot and see what they’ve got for brunch.  Continue reading “Review: Against the Grain Urban Tavern”

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Maple Bacon Biscuits

Maple Bacon Biscuits

Last year, when I ran the Disneyland Half Marathon, I figured it was a one and done race. I was there to get my Coast to Coast medal and had no plans on going back. That was until runDisney announced the Dumbo Double Dare – a 10K race on Saturday followed by a half marathon on Sunday. It’s an inaugural race and with a little bit of peer pressure, I found myself signed up. What else is new?  Continue reading “Maple Bacon Biscuits”

‘Ohana’s Pineapple Breakfast Bread


Fans of Disney World know that when you plan a trip to see the mouse, you have to book your dining reservations 180 days in advance. It might seem a little strange but if you don’t make those reservations, you may not get to eat where you want, when you want. Many of you know that I’m going back to Disney World in January for marathon weekend to do Goofy’s Race and Half Challenge with my running group. Which means our 180-day window is coming up and it’s time to get organized. One of our group meals is going to be at the Polynesian resort. It’s my favorite resort at Disney – I love the theming of the resort and I think it has some of the best restaurants on property. That got me thinking about some of my favorite foods from the Polynesian. One of those is ‘Ohana’s Pineapple Breakfast Bread.

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Whole Wheat Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes

My dad was away last week and I thought it would be nice for my mom and I to spend some time together, so we went to a well-known breakfast joint.  Why not have someone else do the cooking, clear the table and wash the dishes? A good idea, in theory. The actual breakfast and service left a lot to be desired. I ordered my favourite: blueberry pancakes, while my mom ordered an omelet. It took the kitchen nearly 25 minutes to complete the order and when the food arrived, it wasn’t good. You know how some people make jokes about burning toast. Well, the toast wasn’t burnt but it was rock hard, and my pancakes were cold and somehow hard on the edges and soft in the middle. I couldn’t figure that one out. If a breakfast place can’t make pancakes or toast properly, they’re in big trouble. The lady the restaurant is named after would not be happy to know one of her franchises wasn’t even able to make toast or pancakes properly. Oh c’est la vie, I guess. Oops, I might have said too much. In any case, I decided to make breakfast at my house this weekend. Except… I was out of white flour.

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Banana Chocolate Chip Protein Pancakes

Most runners who complete a race take a banana at the finish and eat it then and there. Not me. No, I’m not hoarding bananas because that would just be wrong. I just don’t like the taste or texture of raw bananas. Too mushy and squishy for me. Yuck. So at the end of the Sporting Life 10K, I ended up with a banana and a bagel. The bagel was gone in about 4.95 seconds (I’m kidding) but that banana was headed off for bigger and better things. Like what? How about banana chocolate chip protein pancakes! Sounds good to me! Continue reading “Banana Chocolate Chip Protein Pancakes”

Sundried Tomato and Goat Cheese Quiche

Here’s another recipe for those of you looking for brunch ideas for Mother’s Day. Remember the bagel bombs from a few days ago? Here’s something else you can add to your brunch menu, a quiche with sundried tomatoes and goat’s cheese. You’ve got eggs, cheese and cream mixed together and surrounded by a warm pie crust. It’s a slice of heaven! I don’t think you can go wrong. The best part? It’s easier than you think but looks and tastes like something that requires a lot of work. You’re guaranteed compliments all around!

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