Let's do brunch

Are you a fan of brunch? I guess it’s a popular thing in big cities for people who go out and party.

Sunday brunch as a hangover cure is a known rite of passage in places like Vancouver or Toronto. Here in the Okanagan, we run at a bit of a different pace. I like to think we know even better than big city folk how to enjoy a lazy late morning with friends.

This week, I thought I’d offer up some suggestions, but my motivation is also partly selfish. I’m hoping some of you will help me find new places to explore – if you have a suggestion, please share it on my Facebook page.

Brunch falls into a few categories. Taking it easy can’t just have one method, right?

There is the at-home feast of your favourite things, made for a large – or small – crowd. Big pots of coffee, possibly served with Baileys, are also on hand. This category I will save for another column to comment in detail.

Brunch buffets are something hotel chains made popular decades ago.

They are still offered by many hotels, but often as a sad affair. Check out what is available before you go. Mass-produced pastries from a box, scrambled eggs and sausages that have been left sitting in a chafing dish – these are not a good representation of the decadence that defines brunch.

I’m not saying there needs to be 50 different dishes, but they should be fresh, and there should be more than a few options if they call it a buffet.

If you want to splurge in the Okanagan, stay at Sparkling Hill and enjoy the brunch there the next morning. You can even attend in your luxurious robe.

Farmer’s markets can be a wonderful place for brunch. Just think about it: fruit and veggies in season, artisan breads and pastries, hot and cold beverages and sometimes even live entertainment.

My favourite in the Okanagan is the Penticton Farmer’s Market, but every town in the region has one, and they all deserve our support.

Gathering friends and/or family together at a restaurant can be challenging, but if you’re going to do it, brunch is the best meal for the occasion. Who can’t find something they like when two meals are included in the menu? That is my focus this week.

The Jammery is a classic brunch spot. After all, who doesn’t want to start the morning with jam? And a bit of a country drive is a lovely way to add to the fun.

This Okanagan landmark has been around since 2000 and offers a family-friendly environment combined with a bit of local flair (their adjacent gift shop offers their house-made jams and an assortment of kitschy kitchen fare). Not only that, they offer All You Can Eat Waffles.

I once took advantage of this offer after a week of suffering from a broken tooth and not having solid food, so I can heartily recommend it if you’re a waffle fan.

If you’re looking for more of a diner sort of place, Okanagan Street Food is my fave. It’s not open Sundays, but on Saturday, they make wicked Eggs Benny with from-scratch Hollandaise, until it runs out.

The other days of the week, there are classic breakfast items as well as fun specialties like fish tacos and pulled pork poutine (both of which I can highly recommend).

If you’re not with a big group, you can peruse the massive bookshelf of cookbooks for fun. Chef Neil Schroeter knows how to make a menu that’s got something for a variety of tastes, with just enough foodie flair blended in with a comfort food theme.

For the dependability of a chain restaurant with plenty of choices, one of the best options in Kelowna is Cora. This chain comes to us from Quebec; it actually made its name in the town where my hubby grew up, Laval.

There really was a Cora who came up with the original dishes, inspired in part by her children and a desire to make healthy breakfasts.

The menu at the Kelowna location offers a plethora of choices, surely something for everyone in your group. When we had a family reunion a few summers ago, this was the place we started the fun and it worked perfectly.

Maybe you want someplace that offers more of a specialty? I am a lover of pancakes, so De Dutch Pannekoek House is one I recommend. My roots are Icelandic, so the part-crèpe, part-pancake concoction is a dish close to my heart.

This small chain of restaurants started in Vancouver in the 1970s, thanks to a Dutchman who left the army and came to Canada to make his way.

I have many fond memories of family and friends gathering for brunch at various locations in the Lower Mainland over the years. The food with funny pronunciations was just as much fun as catching up with loved ones.

My last entry is one unique to the Okanagan. For us here, enjoying – and especially showing off – the land is a symbol of the good life we have in our piece of Paradise. As a representation of that, I feel obliged to include a winery option, being a wine geek.

There are not many wineries that offer brunch per se, but Terrafina at Hester Creek Winery outside Oliver does. You can certainly just head out for an early lunch at your favourite winery and this would still count in my book.

But for the purposes of this column, I can wholeheartedly recommend the team at Terrafina. Here you have an example of that “farm to table” philosophy you hear so much about, offering in-season fare fresh from a neighbouring garden.

Make a road trip out of it, or if you can splurge, then book a night or two at Hester Creek’s villa and live the dream.

Any way you cut it, brunch is about living life in slow motion. It’s a toast to decadence, to stopping and smelling the flowers. You might prefer to stay home, or perhaps enjoy a straight-up cup of coffee and a donut. So be it.

Since I’m a big believer of carpe diem, I’ll toast your good health with my mimosa. Here’s to having time for more brunch.

More Happy Gourmand articles

About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."


E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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