Little sister, being her gorgeous posing self.
It was the last day the Olympics Cauldron was going to be lit, and I still hadn't gone to see it! Then and there it was decided the family would make an impromptu trip down to see it before it was put out. Anndd since I still had to check an actual meal at Cafe Medina off my list, that's where we headed.
It was a busy Sunday lunch hour, so we had to write our names down and wait outside. It was a fairly hefty wait, although all the commotion going on in the street made time go by a bit faster. There were many trailers on the side of the street, along with a snack tent. Perhaps somebody was doing a little bit of filming?
And when we weren't looking at the film crew, we were watching the quickly depleting quantity of waffles.
They've got a pretty shoddy wait-list system, consisting of you putting down your name, and them forgetting to cross all the other names off. What results is wasting a lot of time calling people that have already been seated and much confusion on the wait staff's part. Not pretty.
At any rate, once we were seated I promptly ordered a drink. You can't come to Cafe Medina and not order a drink I figure (With the exception of my last visit of course because of circumstances ; D ). I noticed they serve the Brunch menu all day on Sundays. I did not mind this a bit, as I was more interested in their brunch/breakfast fair anyways.
However, after I ordered my drink, our waitress seemed to have disappeared. During this time another table finished, a new one was seated in their place, and their drinks arrived. I wondered where mine had gone. I finally got to flag down our waitress, and she said it was coming right now. The same moment she says this I notice the barista is standing idly, watching the customers and taking a sip of water.
Coming. Huh. Maybe she forgot?
Anyways, we put our food orders in, and then waited.
Matcha Latte. Personally, I'm more of a tea or black coffee person. Simple drinks. A few years ago I used to love cappuccinos.. lattes.. frapps. etc etc. Recently any heavy creams weighing down my drinks have become rather horrible to my taste buds. This was no exception. I love green tea, but I felt that the taste contradicted with the heavy cream. Maybe this is personal preference? I do not drink a lot of lattes, but I would have to say I prefer a plain one to the green tea one. The packet of sugar did not help. Maybe it's because I prefer lighter drinks, making the heavy cream undesirable.
While I didn't like this, my mom did. She drank it up.
Oh. But it is awfully pretty, don't you agree?
We waited for our food. Chatted. Waited.. Waited some more. The wait was not unbearable, and we were having a pleasant conversation. However, when I noticed the table that was seated and ordered after us got not only their drinks, but their food first as well, I was a little bit put off. Our waitress was no where to be found. The cafe is rather small, it's kind of hard to lose sight of your waitress. Safe to say I wasn't very pleased. I understand that the cafe was full, but at the same time, I counted at least four servers and one barista working. At least. Furthermore, there were about 10 tables. That's 3 tables of 2-4 (mostly 2) customers each. As a waitress, I know this is completely manageable, so where our waitress was, I don't know. The others tables were apparently getting service. We decided to order a waffle first from another waiter. And just after we placed that order, our food finally came. So we asked them to put it off for later.
It's a good thing I enjoyed the food as much as I did, because I was not very fond of our waitress. That superficial pleasantness that you feel in some servers? Yea, that was exactly it. I much rather be served by the no-frills guys at The Naam. But yes. On the topic of good food. This was the Oeufs Cocottes -- Baked egg, smoked sockeye salmon, artichokes, cream cheese, tomato pepperdew salad. Grilled foccacia. ($14). It was also topped with some capers I noticed.
Wow, this was an interesting dish. It was ordered by my sister, who I actually felt a little sorry for. It was a pretty good dish, I must say. The eggs were fluffy with cream cheese, there was a good amount of salmon and artichokes dispersed throughout. The salty capers matched well with the light eggs.
At the same time however, after a few bites, the cream cheese started weighing down on everything. Again, this may be personal preference (How we usually eat doesn't consist of throwing sticks of butter and cheese into everything.. as this cuisine sometimes does), but I wouldn't suggest not trying this dish. It was still done extremely well.
Can I first say how wonderfully they cooked the bison? I've never tried bison before, but I've heard it was a lean meat. Yet, this bison was still fairly tender, and most notably, not overly chewy. Isn't the colour gorgeous? The potatoes weren't amazingly flavourful, but the slight saltiness of the dish brought everything together very well.
A note on the watercress. It was fresh, yes. Unfortunately, it was also very bitter. From my expansive and encompassing (Wikipedia...heheh;;) knowledge, I can inform everyone watercress only becomes bitter after the plant starts producing flowers. Otherwise, it should be peppery and tangy. The watercress in our dishes was neither of these. Just bitter. It's unfortunate, but I'd like to blame the supplier more than the kitchen for this.
Finally, (apparently the most popular according to both bloggers and the wait staff), the Fricasse -- 2 fried eggs on braised short ribs, roasted potatoes, caramelized onions, arugula and smoked applewood cheddar. Grilled foccacia ($16). There were also pieces of apple as well.
The first time I saw a picture of this dish, my first question was "Where exactly are the short ribs you all keep going on about?" Really. Because even when they served it to me, I didn't see it there.
Even after digging under a bit, I only found a little bit.
And then I shuffled the contents of my dish around a little bit. Ohhhh, THERE it is. : )
And can I say it was just wonderful, my favourite of the three dishes (and my family agreed). The short ribs were sweet, moist, fell apart easily. The eggs were expertly fried (and this goes for the bison dish as well), and when the yolks ran and mixed with the rest of the contents of the dish, it just made everything come together so well. I know others have commented on this being a heavy dish, but honestly, none of the dishes served at Cafe Medina seem very large to me. I was able to finish all of this. So either I was really hungry, or this portion is just perfect.
The skillet was very hot, so the blocks of cheese in the dish melted onto the ribs and vegetables. Heavenly.
Unfortunately, the apples were a little soft, so perhaps not the freshest. Still, their sweetness was appreciated.
There wasn't an overwhelming amount of sauce, but just enough for flavouring the bread. Plus, the yolks were sopped up by the bread as well which was again excellent. Unfortunately, and I know this may seem petty-- but the shape of the bread disappointed me a little bit. If you've seem previous pictures its shaped as a rectangular block. Haha; I know. Again, petty. But it was a little bit too soft. I would have preferred it grilled a little more. See the lightness of the char marks? Yea. Still. Very enjoyable though. This applies to all the dishes' bread.
I have to say that this was the only notable service we got all day. Just as we were all finishing our dishes, the waffle came~ I was surprised because not only had we ordered the waffle with another server, this other server remembered to put it off, and then bring it to us just at the right time.
(Maybe this is just a fluke, but in my books, the score now is male servers: 2 [the waffle now, and the waffle during my last trip], female servers:
Now I could go on again about the waffle. But you really should just read this post instead. It'll save both you and me a lot of trouble. One note though. My mom actually didn't believe this waffle was very special. And rightfully so, I mean. Waffles get a lot of hype. Too much. In reality, waffles are rarely the pinnacle of desserty bready sweet goodness, so no. This did not impress her. In terms of simply being a good waffle though? Yea. This is it. Perhaps not the extremely crispy waffles everyone is used to, but liege waffles aren't supposed to be crispy, its supposed to be dense. This is exactly what this waffle was. I did like how the ends crisped up slightly though.
I will note the berry compote though. So sweet, so very full of berry goodness. This elevated the waffle to another level. Was much more thoroughly enjoyed compared to my last trip. Sticky sweet rich saucy goodness.
It is quite the bill;; But if I ended up enjoying myself as much as I did even with iffy service, hey. They've done something right. I will be back to try more.
- Have. The. Fricasse.
- Menu's are a decent size. You don't feel overwhelmed with choice and they still have a quaint selection.
- A great brunch/breakfast spot.
- Apparently horrible depending on your server once it gets busy.
- If you catch them at a good time there are some genuinely good servers, but in this particular outing-- not so much.
- Cute cafe for a nice chat