WEST COAST WAFFLES

Let's talk about breakfast. 

I have made it no secret that I am a little obsessed with oatmeal as can be seen on both Instagram and Tumblr. Before moving to Victoria, the only time that I ever ate oatmeal it came straight from a sugared up instant package. Over the last six months I've become hooked on the stuff. It's for real like my morning smoke or crack or whatever other bad things people do (but in the best way - we are still talking about oatmeal here). Every once in a while I'll write some other breakfast into my meal plan just for varieties sake. Lately it's been the occasional Flax or Hemp Plus Waffle (I have yet to find a low-fat/low-cal homemade waffle that suits my fancy) topped heavily with berries and a dash of nut butter. They're good, but they're no oatmeal. Cold cereal is another mystery to me. One of my roommates has a constant stash of numerous sorts of sugary cereals (bless her soul, she really tries to make healthy cereal choices but usually comes up short) that she goes through on a weekly basis. I've had the same box of cereal sitting in the cupboard since we moved in... I'm curious about Nature's Paths millet flakes/heritage o's (thanks to the cereal posts over at KathEats... seriously check out that bowl) but I can't help but think that they'll just sit in the cupboard sadly neglected when I reach for my containers of rolled/steel cut oats instead...

Take this morning for instance. In honor of National Pancake Week (not just day you guys, c'mon) I made some flapjacks this morning. When I think of pancakes I think of my mum making my brother and I fun pancake shapes for breakfast. From what I can remember, I enjoyed them for this very reason. Oh, and because they were a yummy change to cereal that we topped with sugary goodness in the form of Rogers syrup and Summerland Sweets. My mum wasn't quite as exquisite a pancake maker as this fellow, but she still made the cut. This morning I made these banana pancakes with bananas pressed into the batter while cooking instead of mixed in. I topped them with more bananas, blueberries, a little peanut butter and no sugar syrup (I'm still too cheap to buy maple syrup and had some of this no sugar crap left over). Don't get me wrong, these pancakes were good (as all things katie creates are) but they left me completely unsatisfied. They left me craving a big bowl of oats. *sigh* I can't even wait for tomorrow morning.

There are only two exceptions to my oatmeal rule, and those are (1) hungover savory diner brunch, and (2) West Coast Waffles.

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West Coast Waffles

My friend Meagan and I first discovered West Coast Waffles on our trip to Vancouver/Victoria two years ago. I've since dubbed it my favorite breakfast joint the best place on Earth. I've done so much raving about it that whenever anyone is here there are no questions asked about the one place that we will for sure be visiting.  We went here when one of my roommates and I came house hunting over the summer. We went when my parents moved me out to Victoria. My mum and I split a peanut butter banana waffle while my dad got the Wake 'N Bacon. They've been trying to recreate the Wake 'N Bacon at home, but nothing compares to the real deal. We went when Gabi came to visit over the summer, with my roommate, and again when Jess came to visit last week.

"It's just a waffle," you say. "What makes it so special?"

Let me tell you. The actual restaurant has a pretty cool vibe to it. It's got kind of a modern feel to it, but with a fun, retro twist. Upon walking in you're greeted by the staff no matter how preoccupied and busy they may be. If you haven't been there before, they'll walk you through the creation of your perfect waffle. The waffles are pretty customizable. They have an extensive menu featuring both savory and sweet waffles, so you're bound to find something that tickles your fancy. First you choose a batter: Original, buckwheat, or spelt and rolled oats. Next comes the type of waffle you want. I usually go with mix and match fruit, but the sweet waffles get as crazy as chocolate almond, gummy bear ("The Yummy Gummy") and frozen yogurt waffle sandwiches. I'm not even going to venture into the savory waffles... They're pretty insane(ly good sounding). Next you get a choice between yogurt or syrup, which ranges from real maple to an assortment of Summerland Sweet flavors.

I'm like clock work here...

West Coast Waffles
Spelt and rolled oats + Banana and blueberry + Yogurt + Maple syrup

The menu also features real fruit smoothies, a variety of juices, beverages, and coffe. I say walk down the street to Wild Coffee for your caffeine fix. 

Next, take a seat, chat up your friends (or the other patrons... everyone seems to be in the mood to talk over waffles), listen to the funky tunes and wait for your waffle to be made. The waffle is brought out to you, and the presentation of these bad boys are stunning. I have half a dozen photos of the exact same waffle on my cellphone, because I have to take a photo every time I go. The staff like to check in on you to make sure you're enjoying your meal, which is a nice touch that makes it feel more like a restaurant than a sort of fast food joint. 

West Coast Waffles
Jess' waffle: Nutella with raspberries, maple syrup and whipped cream.


There is no doubt in my mind that this will be your best waffle experience from start to finish. From the friendly staff, the yummy food and the general vibe of the place, you will not leave disappointed. My only qualm is that if you don't go at the right time the chances of getting a table are pretty slim. They get quite busy. Another perk about West Coast Waffles is their hours. They're open early for the freaks like me and stay open until 2:30AM from Thursday to Saturday for the partygoers who want a waffle at the end of the night. One of my roommates is a patron of this late night waffle phenomenon, but in my old-lady-no-party ways I like to keep it for the morning. 

West Coast Waffles, please open a location in Calgary. I'm going to miss you when I'm gone.

You can check out West Coast Waffles website here.

West Coast Waffles on Urbanspoon

SAM + JESS TAKE OVER VICTORIA (PT. 3)

Murchie's
Jess and Habit coffee
Pizza
Pizza and macarons
This is the first year in quite a while that I've made any notice of Valentine's day. The way it would usually play out is my mum leaving my brother and I those chocolate marshmallow hearts at our spots on the counter (that I sadly couldn't eat anyways because of the gelatin) along with a silly valentine's day card. I'd spend the rest of the day working and most likely call it an early night. THIS YEAR I got to spend it with Jess! Originally we had planned on going out for dinner, but later decided that it would probably be easier to go the night before and cook dinner at home.

We started off the day downtown picking up macarons at Murchie's for my roommate (and we got a couple for ourselves) and made another trip to Habit. We also picked up some frozen yogurt from Qoola. I totally lucked out. This place is right down the street from my house. It's a shame that I don't take advantage of it unless I have guests. Dinner was amazing. I'd been wanting to make this sweet potato and spinach pizza for aaaages, but had never had a justifiable reason to indulge in making pizza. This was the PERFECT opportunity. I was incredibly daunted by the whole wheat dough, but gave it a shot anyways. It didn't work out as the instructions said, but it was still delicious. Note: I made this pizza again for my roommates and the dough worked out great. I made a few little tweaks like letting the soaker dough sit for about five minutes before mixing it to allow the yeast to activate. I also pulled the soaker dough out of the fridge at the same time as the biga (roughly 3 hours before using making the final dough). The whole pizza was amazing actually. I made half sweet potato and pizza and the other half was pear, havarti and blue cheese with walnuts and spinach. 


We polished off a bottle of red wine (my fav) and nearly a bottle of rose while nomming on our pizza, fro-yo and watching He's Just Not That Into You and What A Girl Wants. It was a super chill, very girly, and VERY indulgent night. It was perfect! Best Valentine's Day in a long time for sure. 

SAM + JESS TAKE OVER VICTORIA (PT. 2)

Marina (Sidney)
Sidney bakery
Sidney
Marina (Sidney)
Marina (Sidney)
Monday afternoon, we made the trek to Sidney for a walk down memory lane. Jess grew up in Sidney and hadn't been back since our trip a few years ago, so she was super stoked to see everything new and old. We started off our walk down Beacon Ave. at Alexander's for some coffee. I got some crazy concoction of espresso topped with coffee, while Jess opted for a London Fog. Hers was deliciously sweet, and mine was more of a palate cleanser it was so strong! In a good way of course. We completed walking down Beacon Ave. shortly after (it's very, very small), and spent a little time by the ocean at the marina. The funniest thing that I find living in Victoria is that I somehow manage to NOT see the ocean very often even though I do in fact live on an island. It is definitely something that I take for granted, so being down at the marina was so nice. On the way back up Beacon we had hoped to stop at Lunn's for some pastries, but they were ever so sadly closed that day. We peered through the window though, and the items that were in the cases looked devine. Sidney bakery was open (shown above), but we chose not to get anything from there. One of the coolest things that we saw that day was something that Jess and her dad had done many years ago. On a pathway they had carved their initials into wet cement and it was still there! The letters were quite worn down, but you could definitely still make them out. 

I can't quite wrap my head around growing up in such a small city, but the trips back with Jess are always nice. She gets so excited about everything and has lots of stories to share about her childhood. Next time, perhaps I'll give in and we can go to Mineral World.

SAM + JESS TAKE OVER VICTORIA (PT. 1)

Jessica_Habit_Floyds
Habit and Floyd's Diner
As I mentioned, my friend Jessica is currently visiting me in Victoria. She's the first one to visit me since Gabi came during my first month here. I've had plenty of time to adjust and discover my favorite spots, so it added a whole new element to the visit. Not only that, but Jess grew up in Sidney, BC, so she's well versed on all of the tourist activities. We spent our days doing non-tourist things, which mostly involved eating and drinking a lot of coffee. I have yet to figure out what else there really is to do in Victoria OTHER than eat your face off and spend time outdoors (too cold!). 

Shortly after Jess flew in, we made our way to Habit, which is my FAVORITE place in Victoria to get coffee. Before moving to Victoria, I was well versed in all things Starbucks. I even liked to claim that they made good coffee. I spent most of the last three years working full-time in a mall that (until recently) only sold Starbucks and Second Cup coffee, so I really didn't know any better. It breaks my heart a little bit (and my taste buds, blegh) to drink Starbucks these days when I know that there are so many better options out there. Habit is one of them. 

After coffee we did some roaming around downtown. This doesn't take a whole lot of time, as  prime downtown shopping is essentially two streets with a lot of cute boutiques that for the most part sell the same things. I'd been meaning to go into Sitka for ageeees. The most alluring thing about it before walking in is that they also have a cafe in the store. That and the windows are all rugged and earthy - totally alluring. Well, we finally went in and it did not disappoint. I'd been wondering where everyone had been getting their Hershel bags as I'd wanted one forever but didn't want to order it online. Surprise, Sitka sells them! This was a sad moment for me, as I'd bought a MEC bag a few weeks earlier. Jess ended up buying the shirt shown in the second photo above. This place carries LOTS of cool stuff, and the staff seemed pretty hip and cool as well.
Jessica_Lucky
Skrillex, is that you?
Jessica_Lucky_Floyds
Lucky Bar and Floyd's Diner
That evening we ended up going to Lucky Bar. I've lived here for six months and I've been out dancing only twice, both within the first couple months. I'd been to Lucky once before, but it was a couple of years ago when I'd come to the island to visit friends. They're most known for 90's night on Monday's, which is what I'd previously gone to. After much debate and input from many, we decided to go against the grain and head to Lucky. It was a pretty good time! I'm not really one for getting slammed these days, nor am I one for dancing (Re: I can't), but overall it was a pretty stellar night. Plus, we managed to find ourselves at the grocery store at 2:30 AM buying candied salmon. I always wondered who really went to the grocery store at that time of night, and I now have my answer. 

The morning after, a hangover breakfast was in order. Come to think of it, neither of us were really that hungover (one of the biggest reasons why I choose not to drink often anymore is because my hangovers were so brutal - that, and at 20 I somehow manage to feel too old to party my ass off anymore). Still, grease is really the only thing that seemed very appealing, so it was grease we got. Floyd's diner is by far the best place for this. Jess informed me that it had been featured on You Gotta Eat Here, a television show on the Food Network. I didn't know this, so it was kind of cool. We started with orange juice, which is the only thing (besides shitty diner coffee) that I'll drink after a bender. It's also the only time that I'll drink orange juice. However, this morning I neglected to ask if the juice had pulp and ended up with a huge mouthful of it. Ugh. I opted for my usual meal of half order scrambled eggs (instead of tofu this time), a side of hashbrowns (possibly a little too many), and half a bagel. Jess went for the breakfast sandwich. 
Jessica_Cake
Mug cake!
The rest of the day was spent watching television and napping, followed by a simple supper and mug cake for dessert. I used this recipe, and omitted the sugar and oil in favor of stevia and applesauce. I also made some soft serve banana ice cream. I LOVED both of them, but I think that I was the only one. I scarfed mine down, and the girls had ended up tossing a good portion of theirs. Sad. Not for me though!
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