Sunday, May 18, 2014


Place: heartbaker 
Location: 1408 Clement Street (at 15th Avenue)
Hours: Tuesday through Friday open at 7:00am and Saturday at 8:00am (just for standard bakery items); Sunday open at 9:00am for "Brunch" (however, they need to update their official website to reflect this, and maybe list a sample Sunday "Brunch" menu there, too)
Meal: French Toast ~ with cardamom custard, caramelized fruit and whipped honey ricotta; a side of Gabrielle's roasted potatoes; Cherry Mascarpone Galette[1] (for breakfastary dessert); and a cuppa pour-over/drip Hearth Coffee Roasters

(Do do do do do you get today's EweToobular juxtaselections?

Well, it's a well-known fact that both Mick and Keith are fond of their Full English Breakfasts.)

I went back to heartbaker (see previous 'blog-entry from October 5th, 2013) this morning to check out their brand-new "Brunch" offering. They have only been open for "Brunch" now for the past two months, and have only been open at this Richmond bakery spot since about June 2013. It's a rather small joint (well, it's basically a bakery joint, not really an eatery joint) with just three tables for four people, four tables for two people, four counter seats, and four tables for two out front on the sidewalk. This morning, they were playing several old Hank Williams (the original guy, not Junior or III) and Johnny Cash tunes on the house stereo (probably from some kinda Pandora radio channel or such).

The "Brunch" menu is a bit sparse with only about five to six items from which to choose, and it changes weekendly. Some other items that I noticed on the menu: Huevos Rancheros; Shrimp & Grits (with pickled okra ~ they may have listed this as simply "Shrimp Grits" and I really didn't pay much attention to what else it entailed, but if you eat of the dead, decaying marine insects, you might like that one); plus, there is their full line of standard bakery items (there were two different quiches this morning: one suitable for stupid vegetarians and the other for idiots that partake of the dead, decaying animal flesh).

After Baker Street Bistro's ultimate Pain Perdu, this has to be the best French toast that I have had this year, and probably one of the best I have had in a long while. I told the waitress/server lady-person that I could only think of two words to describe it: "Wow!" (I don't think she quite got my joke. It's okay, though, no actual tipping points are ever deducted due to someone not understanding my stupid sense of humor.) It is hard to actually describe the whole thing, but the bread that they used had a very eggy-custardy texture to it, too; I have no idea what kind of bread they used to make this. The only minor complaint that I might have (and this is just a little ultra-nitpickery on my part) is that I would liked to have tasted a bit more cardamom in the whole thing (I absolutely love cardamom, so maybe it was just right for "normal" people). The caramelized fruits this morning were peaches and apricots[2], and provided a bit of a nice, syrupy sauce on the side.

The "whipped honey ricotta" was outstanding, too. I can't be sure, but I think they finished it off with just a soupçon of sea salt on top. At first, I had forgotten that it was whipped ricotta and was wondering why their "whipped cream" was so lumpy ~ mighty tasty, but lumpy…

The portions were a bit on the small side (both the French toast and the side of potatoes), but more than made up for it in huge flavour. This was all okay with me, as that just left me more room to order a breakfastary dessert (I still need to come up with a decent portmanteau word for that). Even including the pastry, I wasn't quite as full as yesterday's Godzilla-sized (and Godzilla-coloured) omelette.

The Cherry Mascarpone Galette was made with large black cherries (extra bonus points there) and was outstanding; however, after eating their amazing French Toast first, it was a bit anticlimactic. I am sure that if I had the breakfastary dessert first, I wouldn't be so harsh on it. And this is no fault of the Cherry Mascarpone Galette itself, it is just like comparing apples to oranges (or cherries to cardamom, I suppose).

I really have no idea what heartbaker might offer in the way of condimentary supplements; I didn't ask and they didn't really need to offer any. I simply used some of my own Hula Girl Chipotle Habanero (Thanks, Jim!) on the potatoes. No way was I going to mess with the awesome French toast.

I really like that this is walking distance from my apartment: just seventeen blocks (each way… and uphill both ways!), and if they offered more "Brunch" items on the menu, I am sure I would make it a new call-up for my Breakfastary Rotation. As it is, I will definitely be going back to check them out again and can highly recommend the French Toast.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: French Toast ~ 7.7; Cherry Mascarpone Galette ~ 7.1

1. Once again, Billy Gee and his Spell-checker Nazi-boys do not seem to recognize this simple French baked item. Do people at Microsoft subside on bad burgers and fries only?

2. Stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer of the day:

(Just because I felt like it) here are the French words for today's fruits (fruits):

Peach = pêche (pronounced "pesh"; sometimes, it's not really Roquette Science)
Apricot = abricot (pronounced "AB-ree-co"; and sometimes it's not really Chirurgie du Cerveau, either)
Cherries = cerises (pronounced "sa-REES-eh")

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