You know, I was thinking – Hakuna Matata. What a wonderful phrase. Hakuna Matata. It definitely is not a passing craze. You know, in some translations of Swahili, it means no worries. And why not apply that slogan to the rest of your days? It is truly a problem-free philosophy! It takes a well-fed philosopher to come up with such an intricate motto. And most philosophers eat breakfast because they spend the majority of the night contemplating by placing their elbows on bended knee and resting their chins between their thumbs and sides-of-their-pointer-fingers. It is for this logical reason that I found myself in Avenue Diner on Stephen Avenue one weekday morning before classes started with a good friend. (Nice segway, Jer!)
Now, regardless if you are completely confused as to how I managed to mashup the Lion King with flawed deductive logic, we can all agree that breakfast is one of the best meals of the day (along with Brunch, Lunch, Snack, Dinner, and Dessert). In addition, we had a hankering for breakfast-y foods. But not just ANY breakfast-y foods. Breakfast-y foods with a contemporary-y twist! Enter the Avenue Diner. A trendy, slightly upscale diner nestled along Stephen Ave, Avenue Diner undoubtedly caters to the business brunch crowd, as there were many tables occupied by suits, but is also a great place for foodies and youngin’s alike. While the words “upscale diner” may seem contradictory, the menu and decor allow for the juxtaposition. Upon entering the restaurant, I noticed that it was a lot more long that it was wide (that’s what she said). But with clean pastel blue, exposed brick, well placed photographs and clean, retro tables, it managed the diner feel with restaurant comfort.
The menu was very interesting, with contemporary twists on old diner favorites. I had the Egg White Frittata, with blue cheese, bacon, carmelized onion and yukon gold potatoes. This was served in a small cast-iron skillet with some multi-grain toast slathered with melting butter. The Frittata was quite good, if not a little too rich. Sensory-wise, it was a very balanced dish. The bacon provided the usual smokey, saltiness, which was complemented by the deep sweetness of the carmelized onions and soft potatoes. Providing the tart-richness was the blue cheese, and all this was bound together by the creamy egg. The flavours went very well together but there was just a bit too much blue cheese, which overpowered the dish and provided too much richness. However, the dish was still excellent.
Other menu items include granola’s, parfait’s, griddle items and even sandwhiches and macaroni & cheese – all with a little sophistication thrown in. I still want to try their Corned Beef Hash – braised brisket, poached eggs and a citrus-basil hollandaise will live to see another day! The service was prompt, friendly and helpful, and if not for the stress associated with finding semi-affordable parking nearby, I would be there more often. The only downside? The price – my frittata was $14.49 (without tax). But I suppose that’s what you get at Avenue Diner – high quality ingredients put together in more complex versions of old brunch favorites. It’d be nice to have more ‘upscale diner’s’ around!
BONUS QUESTION – how many times did I bold Avenue Diner?