Blue Plate Diner
10145 104 Street
With February in full effect, Sarah and I found ourselves invited to dine again with Linda & Jason. After our first outing at Daawat, Sarah and I were both quite excited to take this lovely duo up on another offer to eat. This time it would be at the Blue Plate Diner. Located in the city core, and alongside the downtown farmer’s market, this diner has the classic feel but offers a wide selection of vegan and vegetarian options, making it home to many a hipster. To me, the diner has always been home to the city’s best veggieburger.
Spotting Linda in the corner, Sarah and I headed over to find Jason running a few minutes behind. This of course gave us plenty of time to talk about life (ok, bread) while we waited. Eventually with our table full, and drinks all around, we set about ordering. And remember what I said about the veggie burger…well, it just so happens that it’s a favourite for many. In a flurry of decisions, and some small pressure to try something different, we only ended up with a single order of the infamous burger.
We started with Hearts of Fire – 3 Artichoke Hearts stuffed with Goats’ Cheese and Roasted Chilies. Drizzled with a Pomegranate Juice Reduction with Fresh Basil. (Vegetarian Friendly/Gluten Free). Our server mentioned she’d ask the kitchen to include another heart (at an additional cost) to ensure everyone was able to taste the starter. Unfortunately, by the time it came, I think a leather sole would have tasted good. I don’t usually get bothered by service, especially with good company, but the order at which new tables, and previously seated tables were getting food was all over the map. Finally, after inquiring with the kitchen, our hearts arrived. The hearts were delicious one or two bites ‘shots’ of goat cheese. The soft artichoke gave way to a slight kick from the cheese and made for a good opener. The pomegranate juice was more like sticky toffee, and provided quite the challenge to get off the plate. Why not drizzle it on the actually food?
Asking if our mains would be far behind the appetizers (no one likes to wait again), we were told it was busy in the kitchen, but coming. Eventually, they did..
Pozole Enchiladas – White Corn Tortillas stuffed with ‘Pozole’, made with Hominy Corn, dried & fresh Chilies, Onions, Garlic and Oregano. Baked with Smoked Caciacavallo Cheese and Rancho Sauce. (Vegetarian Friendly/Gluten Free)
Lentil & Nut Loaf – A Rustic Vegetarian Loaf made with Mushrooms, Lentils, Walnuts, Pecans, Almonds, Sunflower & Flax Seeds and topped with Miso Gravy. (Vegetarian Friendly: Vegans can substitute Mashed Potatoes for Fries, Veggies OR Rice.)
Famous Veg Burger – Our Spectacularly unique Veggie Burger is made In-House with Beets, Turnips, Zucchini, Carrots, Sunflower Seeds and Rice. Topped with Cheddar Cheese on a Whole Wheat Bun with Lettuce, Tomato, Red Onion, Pickle and Herbed Mayo. (Vegetarian Friendly)
Mac-N-Cheese – Cavatappi (Corkscrew) Pasta in Bechamel Sauce, Loaded with Cheddar, Mozzarella & Asiago Cheeses and topped with Diced Tomato. (Vegetarian Friendly)
Maybe it was the hunger, but I’m going to say right away that the veggie burger was easily best dish of the night. A quick look at the macaroni, along with a confirmation by Jason, showed that the pasta was not exactly ‘loaded’ with cheese and seemed rather average. The pozole enchilada on the other hand looked promising at first, but Linda soon found her self asking for hot sauce to give the dish some bite. My lentil nut loaf arrived on a scoop of clumpy mashed potatoes, and tasted like a dense, dry, nut loaf. Nothing to write home about here. The burger though…the burger was great. Juicy and flavourful, the beets always give this patty a beautiful red hue. And the fries, enough for everyone to sample, were long, fresh, crispy and addictive.
I have to say I was nervous about our table branching out. And I think we tried a good selection, from a Mexican inspired dish, to the comfort of macaroni, to the cold winter classic loaf and potatoes to conquer any major flaws. Yet, in the week since this visit, I’ve talked with others who seem to agree that the veggie burger is the way to go here. It’s so popular that I’m told you can buy them frozen now (true?). So go to the diner, enjoy your time, but save yourself the decision and go straight for the burger. Your tummy will thank you.
*Our appetizer was comped when the bill came, and our server apologized for the long evening and wait on food.
Previous brunch visit – here.