The greatest advantage of being a single diner is that I don’t have to share my food with others. There is another advantage however: it’s generally easier for me to get seats. This is exemplified by my recent visit to Red Wagon Cafe. The latter is a popular restaurant located on East Hastings specializing in breakfast/lunch fare. The place is relatively small and was quite busy when I arrived; fortunately being a single diner, I as able to grab a seat at the bar (the place did clear out a bit over the next hour). I ordered their Pulled Pork Pancakes and Breakfast Banh Mi (with Pork Belly).
Pulled Pork Pancakes ($15):
This consisted of three pancakes sandwiching pulled pork, and is served with a large piece of butter and Jack Daniels flavoured maple syrup. I really liked the texture of the pancakes, which were light and fluffy, with a slightly chewy texture. I did find there to be a slight bit of aftertaste however, whcih I think might be from baking soda. There was quite a generous amount of pulled pork present, which was tender and juicy, albeit a tad bland. I really enjoyed the syrup, which had a really nice fragrance from the liquor. Even though the portion didn’t look that big – I’ve been spoiled by places like Jethro’s and The Elbow Room Cafe – they are actually quite filling; I’m a big eater and I was actually quite full from eating the dish.
Breakfast Banh Mi, with Pork Belly ($12):
This consisted of a baguette filled with two eggs, pickled vegetables, jalapeno, and your choice of pork belly, pulled pork, or tofu (I went with pork belly), and was served with a small side of homefries. The baugette had a great crispy exterior while being soft and chewy on the inside. It was extremely flavourful, with a nice tang from the pickled vegetables and a great heat from the jalapeno. The pork belly was quite tender and juicy and the eggs added great richness, although the runny yolks did make the sandwich a bit messy to eat. I loved the homefries/hashbrowns, which were among some of the best that I’ve had (I’ve generally not had much luck with hashbrowns): they were crispy and fried with bacon and green onions, which provided great flavour. Unfortunately, I was quite full from the pulled pork pancakes, so I was only able to take a few bites of this dish before packing the rest for later.
The food at Red Wagon Cafe was truly fantastic. The service was casual and the staff can be stretched thin at times, but they are friendly. All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed my visit, and I’d highly recommend visiting this place.