Canelé

When Hobag invited me to brunch and a hike, I said, “Meh, I don’t really like brunch.”  Those words are like blasphemy to the majority of people.  People just LOVE breakfast foods.  I’m not sure why I don’t go gaga for omelettes and breakfast burritos.  I guess I didn’t grow up eating those kinds of things for breakfast.  Heck, I didn’t even grow up eating breakfast.  But there are so many things I didn’t grow up eating that I love now, so I guess that argument doesn’t really work here.  I guess my real issue with brunch is that the waits are just so frickin’ long and I’m not a huge fan of egg stuff.  Well I guess if I get to eat other fantastic non egg based brunch foods with a reservation then I am a damn happy camper.  This was my experience at Canele.  Lucky for us, we met their minimum party size of 6 or more for reservations.  The restaurant is small, and your almost elbow to elbow with every unemployed artist/actor/hipster that calls Atwater Village home.
Baked Pancake meyer lemon custard
Holy smokes was this FRICKIN’ delicious.  The pancake was fluffy and light, while that Meyer lemon custard brought the decadence.  Hobag being the pig that she is ordered this to share on top of the individual dishes we each ordered.  Deceptively Hapa just ate this by herself.  It’s safe to say she was starvin’ after our hike.  This is a MUST order.

Apple Waffle fried chicken, honey apple butter foie

Everyone was a fan of this, but I’m somewhat undecided.  I guess it was a play on chicken ‘n waffles, with the chicken being more like Japanese karage.  The honey apple butter foie (whose description I’m sort of making up because I failed to snap a shot of the daily specials board).  But it was essentially their take on the butter and maple syrup that enriches and sweetens your waffles.  It obviously had a more savory and slightly offal note to it which Hobag was simply salivating over.  She LOVES anything foie, pate, charcuterie.  We are definitely soul sisters in that regard.  So while I liked all the elements going on here, I couldn’t help but feel that something was off.  I kept eating and eating and kept lingering on some familiar taste…hoisin!  This tasted like hoisin flavored whatever.  Overall, it was a favorite dish for many including Foot In Mouth.

 

Uni Pasta

Colon’s Keeper ordered this but she was disappointed.  There was nothing wrong with the dish per se, but it just wasn’t all that special.  And of course, most of the uni was microscopic.

Thick French Toast

Colon ordered this, but he didn’t have much to say good or bad about the dish.  I don’t think he has much to say in general.  Some people are born talkers, other people are born listeners.  Colon is the latter.

Shrimp & Grits fried egg, toasts

Hobag found her order of shrimp & grits too spicy and smokey.  I’m not sure which spice brought the smokiness but it did get a tad overwhelming if eaten alone.  Interspersed with bites of waffle, pancake, hash, pasta, the shrimp & grits were a tasty addition to our whole shared menu.  I still think Brenda’s had the best shrimp & grits I’ve ever eaten, but I’m no expert.

 
Oxtail Hash gruyere horseradish creme fraiche, fried egg

The hash was not much of a looker, but it was deceptively delicious.  That has was the best combination of meat ‘n potatoes that I’ve had in a while.  Crispy but soft potatoes with tender oxtail meat.  You didn’t really need the sauce but it had a tasty kick to it.  This won my vote for favorite dish.

I was pleasantly surprised by Canale since it’s only earned 3.5 stars on Yelp.  I think the place gets dinged for its service.  I think we were seated for maybe 15 minutes before I even saw a server, and it wasn’t even OUR server.  I was getting pretty miffed because I was so hungry.  What does this combination lead to?  HANGRY.  Despite the slow start, the food came out relatively quickly.  And with most of the food being really delicious, the hanger quickly dissipated.  I highly recommend the hash and baked pancake.  Don’t be afraid to order the baked pancake in addition to whatever you order.  You won’t regret it.  If you’re in this neck of the woods and need a spot to brunch it, Canale is your place.

 

10 – You NEED to eat here
9 – Awesome! 

8 – Very good

7 – Good 

6 – OK

5 – Average

4 – Not bad

3 – Not good
2 – Terrible
1 – Do NOT go here

 

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