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The brunch gods work in mysterious ways.
Spring-like sunshine after weeks of shoe-ruining downpour is not to be squandered. That’s why this sight at our planned weekend brunch destination almost made me cry:It was also 1°C on Sunday. Which is a lot of suffering for eggs, pan-fried meats and/or toast, but here’s half of Vancouver lined up outside Victoria-import, Jam Cafe, anyway. And this restaurant opened at the beginning of 2016! What are they doing to eggs in there?To save time and daylight, my starving friends marched us to Catch 122, another notorious waitlist around the corner. This is actually a big debate we’ve had in our VanMag office: who would wait upwards of an hour for brunch? Are they all tourists, locals who live next door, the brunch-obsessed? Is any dish worth the wait?It took 30 minutes for us to get seats at a communal table, probably another 30 to get our food, but shortly after we ordered our server dropped off a plate of warm, chewy and delicately sweet oatmeal raison cookies (on the house), so we didn’t notice the minutes ticking by. And the pièce de résistance:An eggs benedict at White Spot is $10, at Earls it’s $13. So colour me impressed that this Catch 122 eggs benny—featuring slow poached eggs, pickled slaw, light hollandaise, a generous portion of tender smoked pork shoulder and a kiss of barbecue sauce—clocks in at a respectable-for-Vancouver $15. It also came with a springy bed of kale greens tossed with mushrooms and a savoury soy dressing, in a venue that’s quintessential Gastown with heritage brick walls, wood beams and industrial pendant lighting.
No, we did not make it into Jam Cafe that day, but a trip to the West Hastings Street old faithful reminded me that Catch 122 serves up one of the best brunches in the city (and that it’s most definitely worth the wait). No promises after 45 minutes though.
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