Dish Review

Brunch-drunk love

A huge, delicious meal at Café Mosaics always beats Sunday-morning leftovers

Everybody has their own preferred way of dealing with a hangover: some people drink a boatload of water and get on with their day, others just plop down on the couch with a jug of orange juice and watch TV until God stops hurting their brain, and still others think, for some reason, that the best way to chase away the pain is by going to the gym. Me, though, I’m a simple man, and after a solid night of punching my liver with beer, I need nothing more than a dark, heavy cup of black coffee and a gigantic breakfast.

But when I woke up this past Sunday morning, problems arose. For one, I totally didn’t have any eggs—well, actually, I do have eggs, but I’ve had those eggs for a really, really long time now. You can’t just eat them anymore; they have tenure. For two, there wasn’t much else in that fridge besides those incumbent eggs, and there are likely few breakfasts you can make with week-and-a-half-old pizza, a quarter-full jar of salsa and an unopened bag of green apples. And for three, Jesus… how long has it been since I did some dishes? My sink’s starting to smell like a garbage can in an abandoned slaughterhouse, for Christ’s sake. I had to get out of this dump, stat, before I ended up eating microwaved apples and salsa out of a pot lid—and buddy, if you’re looking for breakfast on a Sunday at the crack of noon, there’s only one place you ever need to go: Café Mosaics.

In case you’ve never been to Mosaics before, this tiny little vegetarian café on the west end of Whyte reigns supreme as the preferred haunt of hipsters and hippies alike in search of a home-cooked meal. It’s good practice to get there before noon; it’s not a big place, but it’s popular, and this Sunday’s as busy as always; there’s one table for two left in the small dining area filled with brunchers of all walks of life: there’s the mom humouring her daughter’s insistence that she try something new by eating this "tofu" stuff; there’s the young granola couple, baby in tow, enjoying some fruit and yogurt; there’s the single hipster reading what I want to believe is a copy of Vue over a cup of coffee and some veggie huevos rancheros, and hey, didn’t I see those guys drunk off their asses and dancing up a storm last night at the Victory? And then there’s bleary-eyed, messy-haired, drunky-faced old me, slouched in my chair across from my substantially less hungover girlfriend, hoping to God that someone brings me a coffee soon.

There was a time even a few months ago when I would have called service was remarkably slow. It’s still slower than usual, really, but not in a bad way; as the sign behind the bar states, everything here is "homemade and yummy," so it’s gonna take some extra time—but I’ve been really impressed by the promptness of the Mosaics waitstaff the last couple times we’ve visited. Almost immediately after we sat down, someone (I say "someone" because service is a community effort here) came by with the menus and took our drink order: coffee for me, cranberry juice for my girlfriend (both are around the usual $2). With that out of the way, we turned our attention to the markedly pared-down brunch menu, offering a small but adequate selection of meat-free meals ranging from lighter fare (the fruit and yogurt bowl and the fruit crepe both sound fantastic) to more substantial meals such as the aforementioned huevos rancheros.

After some deliberation, my girlfriend decided to go with the tofu scramble, a, well, scramble of tofu (even fried with something yellow to make it look like eggs) tomato, red and green peppers served with toast and hashbrowns ($4.25), while I being far, far too hungry to order something that small (hey, for less than five bucks, it has to be small), went with the breakfast burrito with tofu, potato, beans and cheese ($7). Once the same woman came back to take our order, we commenced playing the waiting game.

Seriously, I ain’t kidding folks, the food takes a while here. I’ve never timed it, seeing as I’m not the biggest jerk in the world, but if I had to venture a guess, I’d say you’re in for a wait of at least 15 to 20 minutes, depending on how many orders made it to the kitchen before yours. So yeah. Bring a list of planned conversation topics, do some math homework, spend the time checking out whatever local art display is gracing the walls that month, do whatever you gotta do. But just be patient; it’s always worth it.

And this time, of course, was no exception. In due course, my burrito arrived hot and ridiculously huge, garnished with a wedge of lime and dollops of sour cream and homemade salsa. Although some have trouble getting through the occasionally tough defenses of Mosaics’ whole wheat tortillas with the supplied butter knife, I’ve found that softening it up with copious amounts of the Louisiana hot sauce on every table is both helpful and delicious; in no time flat I was cutting through that fucker like an old cutting pro of some kind, enjoying the homey, stick-to-your-ribs blend of beans, cheese and fried potato and tofu, accentuated nicely by the lingering tang of lime juice and fresh homemade salsa. My girlfriend, meanwhile, reported no setbacks on the tofu scramble front, which contrary to my initial assumptions, looked like a heck of a deal: a big plate of steaming scrambled tofu and veggies served with hashbrowns and a side of toast with homemade saskatoon berry jam, it proved to be more than enough for my girlfriend (who actually finished the meal, if my memory serves me—a rare occurrence indeed).

When all was said and done, we managed to stave off the worst of my hangover with a couple great day-starting meals for $20 after tip, and with a price like that for food this good, I may never have to buy groceries or wash my dishes again. V

Café Mosaics
10844 Whyte Ave • 433-9702

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