1 August 2015

Okanagan Chicks Who Brunch

The view at The Vanilla Pod
I love Sunday mornings. Most often being my only free day I have the unbridled pleasure of doing as I please. Once the weather co-operates I am loathe to spend time at home. Plenty of housework to be done, Hell NO!!! Cooking for the week. No, no, NO! Instead I gravitate towards exploring our desert valley with its undulating vineyards and picturesque orchards, heading to the sun-baked beach, or having a satisfying brunch with those special people in my life. Since my friends and family are not always available I took the bull by the horns when our group Okanagan Chicks Who Brunch took its first baby steps a few months ago. My ultimate goal is to try every brunch venue near and far on a once a month "date." Meeting some new faces along the way is an added bonus.

I started the group with thoughts of supporting our local chefs while enjoying good conversation and good food. These are not fast food joints or buffet-style all-you-can-eat affairs but farm-to-table experiences that are the "norm" in the Okanagan valley. Competition for your taste buds is intense!!! Both old and new restaurants are stepping up their game and providing their customers with exceptional local, organic products that consumers demand these days.

Browsing the Internet there was no real indicator on where THE BEST brunch could be had in the Okanagan Valley. I take into account other peoples opinions but food and why you enjoy it is subjective. I boldly disagreed with some of the publics choices. Ugh!!! So with a good appetite and a varying group of food enthusiasts we are well on our way to exploring all that the Okanagan has to offer in a series of posts. Research takes time, but gosh, darn, somebody's 'gotta' do it. 

Photo from Vista 18
Breakfast is one of the best and most important meals of the day and the Okanagan has some exceptional spots to start the day with your best foot forward. Brunch is its rather ambiguous cousin that could be breakfast, or could be lunch. It may be an institution, but too often the perfect brunch experience gets messed up by long lines, watered-down mimosas and substandard eggs. Ugh!!  But don’t despair. Brunch in the Okanagan is reason enough to get out of bed in the morning. It's the perfect remedy for hangovers and weekday woes. An indulgent wake-up call complete with fluffy pancakes, three-egg feasts or freshly baked fare. In the valley these days, people take brunch as seriously as wine and gripes about the weather. 

For many brunch has taken over the quintessential Sunday excursion with seemingly every restaurant serving brunch one way or another. But even if you're a brunch diehard, the surplus of options can prove challenging. I'm here to help you navigate through the sea of syrup and pancakes to determine some of the best brunch spots in the Okanagan Valley. We're in the process of scouring the valley to find exactly that. It's not all eggs Benny and French toast and I will help you discover some of the under-the-radar and overlooked joints.  Venturing out of the house for that morning (or, er, midday) meal is a gratifying ritual that deserves to be celebrated - preferably over mimosas. 

The 5 restaurants below are not a list of THE 5 best brunch spots but the beginning of my research to finally discover those perfect spots to take out of town guests or gather with friends and family. The BEST brunch in the Okanagan depends on who you ask and what you're looking for. At the end of our journey, in a year or so, I will have compiled a list of my own personal choices and take a running poll  for the opinion of any and all who attended. In the meantime let's begin with our groups first 5 options. 

The Vanilla Pod 
The Vanilla Pod at Poplar Grove Winery
Walking into Poplar Grove winery, you immediately feel the Okanagan. The floor to ceiling windows act like a picture frame that enhances the jaw dropping view of Okanagan Lake.

To get to our first destination we leave Kelowna and head south to Penticton. The whole valley is absolutely breathtaking and every curve in the road is a renewed opportunity for fresh vistas. It is certainly worth the weekend drive and maybe you will see the resident mountain goats on the highway as you pass. In recent years the pairing of the Vanilla Pod Restaurant with Poplar Grove Winery has proven to be a spectacular combination and the perfect destination for your out-of-town guests. 

At The Vanilla Pod restaurant their seasonal international and Mediterranean menu is focused on local  Okanagan ingredients for a delightful exploration of contemporary cuisine created by Executive Chef Bruno Terroso. For brunch we savoured dishes like Pod Benny (for me an egg-less Benny as they are very accommodating), Flatbreads with Chorizo and Eggs, and a Baked Ragout. 

The Vanilla Pod
Poplar Grove Winery
425 Middle Bench Rd N.
Penticton, BC V2A 8S5
(250) 493-9463
Brunch - Saturday and Sunday 10:00

BRODO Kitchen
Brodo in Penticton

BRODO Kitchen is a cozy, bustling restaurant that is also a favourite of Penticton locals that serves brunch only on Saturdays to coincide with the Penticton Farmers Market.  That does not mean that there couldn't be an excellent early brunch/lunch option the rest of the week. BRODO (Italian for "broth") features locally-sourced ingredients. The menu changes seasonally to reflect what's fresh in the Okanagan. 

The brain child of owners Chef Paul and Holly Cecconi. BRODO offers a variety of soups, sandwiches and salads. To top it off the talented Holly preserves everything, just like your grandmother used to do, so if there were something on the menu you enjoyed you may be able to take it home with you.

Grab a healthy fresh juice straight from the cooler, and linger at BRODO's communal table with friends. Their daily specials are made with the best, freshest local ingredients. You may begin with a breakfast slider. Later in the day there may be flatbread with mushrooms, Serrano ham, arugula and smoked Gouda or with British Columbia tomatoes, pesto and three cheeses. (including BC wines). BRODO Kitchen is a family place where a sense of community is important.

BRODO Kitchen
483 Main St,
Penticton, BC V2A 5C4
(778) 476-1275
Brunch on Saturdays 11:00 - Open 11am to 8pm, closed Sundays.
Daily Seasonal Menu  

Flask Social House
Flask Social House 

New on the Kelowna scene The Flask Social House (FSH) is cozy, with a bit of rustic charm. Better known as a sports bar than a bucolic place for brunch it offers an eclectic menu.  No reservations.  This new offering on the Kelowna scene offers a friendly vibe with well-portioned meals so bring your appetite. Eggs Benny Poutine anyone !!

The Flask Social House
101-1405 St. Paul St, 
Kelowna, BC

The Curious 
The Curious Artistry and Alchemy Cafe
You won't find your typical eggs Benny and French toast at this  downtown sibling to La Bussola. Luigi Coccaro, the youngest member of the family, is the front man of this hip new venue and has helped create a restaurant with dual personality.

The first things you notice are the cured meats hanging from the ceiling on hooks and the two walls of wine. Then there are the communal wooden tables and a pop of colour with the red-tile wood-burning "forgo" or pizza oven in the back. If you're not chowing down on eggs benedict served on delicious biscuits topped with tomato jam and a perfectly spiced harissa sauce or "curious" twists on corned beef hash and pork and beans your first or second choice might be Italian style pizza from their wood-fired oven shipped in from Naples. Excellent espresso and espresso drinks are a;span essential start to the day created in a beautiful imported Italian coffee machine.

The Curious
1423 Ellis St,
Kelowna, BC V1Y 2A3
(778) 484-0490
Brunch 9 - 3

Sunset Organic Bistro
Sunset Organic Bistro at Summerhill Winery
Summerhill Winery, owned and operated by the Cipes family, is also home to the newly renovated Sunset Organic Bistro. On the menu, food grown and raised by local organic producers, including Summerhill’s own on-site permaculture-style vegetable garden. The added bonus, an absolutely stunning panoramic view of Lake Okanagan  with the wineries pyramid in the background. Earlier this year, it was announced that winery Chef Luca Paola was taking the helm at the Bistro, bringing with him a wealth of global culinary experience. 

The menu changes frequently as the freshest offerings become available. Up to last year the restaurant was well known for its buffet-style brunch. But focus has changed with a change in chef and new renovations. It now has a less extensive a la carte menu that may be disappointing for those seeking what used to be their typical brunch menu, but promising for  lighter Brunch fare, lunch and dinner. It is worth another try.

Sunset Organic Bistro
Summerhill Pyramid Winery
4870 Chute Lake Road
Kelowna, BC
250-764-8000 ext. 501
Brunch 11:00 Sundays

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  1. Oh my gosh, what gorgeous spots for having brunch with friends. Wish I lived closer. I would have to beg my way into the group.

  2. Is the Jammery on your list? We went there yesterday but the waiting list was too long.

  3. Sounds like a great idea to get together and try new places, so beautiful!

  4. Love Sunday mornings, hate Sunday nights.


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