Vanier. A lot of associations come to mind, and not always good. I wasn’t going to start this post that way, but I felt it neccessary because I don’t think Vanier gets a fair shake.
We have lived in Sandy Hill for a long time, because of this we often head east across the bridge to Montreal Road to shop, get gas, use the drugstore. As a foodie I have been curious for a long time about a number of spots in Vanier along Montreal Road (and the streets surrounding it). So I thought it was time to get out there and give some of them a try.
This adventure was planned in partnership with the guys from Vanier Now a popular, sweet blog about Vanier and the stories that make it the wonderful place it is. What was most helpful in deciding where to go, and even more, answering a question I had for a long time was this post in Vanier Now that explains the boundaries of Vanier.
Also joining us on this little journey was Vanier resident, Kirsten Duke. We appreciated her input. She has found great value in living there. She shops there, uses and reccomends a lot of the local restaurants, has developed great friendships in her neighbourhood and along with her partner Aaron has been one of Vanier’s best advocates.
Our morning begins with breakfast at Bobby’s Table. This comfort-food filled spot to some degree came out of the former Nate’s Deli on Rideau (Nate’s does have another location). Bobby Leblanc worked as wait staff at Nate’s for 28 years! He brought some of the crew from Nate’s over to Vanier when Nate’s closed it’s Rideau St. location.
The place was packed at 9am. We waited a few minutes for a table, and it was well-worth it. The $3.99 breakfast special takes top honours here. 2 eggs served with either bacon, ham, sausage or smoked meat, toast, homefries and coffee…WHAT A DEAL! I ordered poached which cost a wee bit extra but were certainly done right (perfect, soft yolks), and you know how I feel about my poached! A few of us ordered the special, but others opted for pancakes and an omelete and were quite pleased.
The conversation at the table of course was about Vanier, it’s struggles, it’s appeal, it’s history. It was a lovely, thought-provoking discussion. During this time we were treated well by wait staff who, checked in on us, replenished coffee and weren’t far when we needed them.
I am going to take my Dad back. First, he would love the special and second, what a great opportunity for him to use his French. It also has convenient parking right next door and when available, on the street.
After breakfast we headed down the street to The Vanier Farmer’s Market (Montreal Rd. at Hannah). A nice small market with a great variety of goods. Fresh baked bread, vegetables, apples, honey, maple syrup, meat, cheese, some take away food and handmade jewellry. The vendors really take the time to discuss their product. The value of a farmer’s market can’t even be measured, it goes way beyond community, buying local and healthy food, they are invaluable.
We parted ways with the guys from Vanier Now, promising to get together again soon and headed down the street to Mercado Latino.
Mercado Latino sells Latin groceries. It’s one of those places I have been meaning to get to and drive by it almost daily. On Saturday mornings they also sell tacos out of a little back kitchen, this was happening while we were there, but full of breakfast we did not take out for lunch, which I now regret. I needed to buy canned tomatillos for a recipe I am making and also picked up some black beans and corn tortillas. It is jam-packed with everything one needs from a Latin grocery, I highly reccommend it and will now use it on a more regular basis.
Our visit to Vanier to try out the places we have wanted to go for quite some time now, only reinforced for me what I already knew. It is a special place, full of unique things to see and do and really good people. I plan on visitng more often and telling you about it. You should visit too!