But of course the other reason I love brunch so much is because it's such a great opportunity for a leisurely meal to catch up with friends. There's something that sets brunch apart from a lunch or a dinner. Maybe it's the coffee, maybe it's the 11am ish time that brunch usually happens, but it really is perfect for catching up. So, with friends in town from Calgary that we do not see nearly enough of, we headed to Culina Mill Creek on a cold Sunday morning.
Culina Mill Creek professes to be a "friendly neighbourhood bistro. Culina proudly serves ethnic-inspired comfort food from local sources in an intimate, bohemian atmosphere." The restaurant is tiny; reservations are an absolute must! The food is varied and delicious, and the decor certainly embodies bohemia without being over the top or garrish.
I've had many brunches and dinners at Culina, and the food never disappoints. They have an excellent wine selection for dinner, and delicious mimosas for brunch. When I say the menu is varied, I mean it. Perogies and kielbasa share menu space with huevos rancheros and a tofu and chickpea scramble.
Of course, I went with the eggs benedict (Eggs benedict: choice of smoked bacon or maple sage sausage & two poached eggs on sweet potato toast with hollandaise & brunch potatoes; $17). The eggs were perfectly poached, the bacon was crisp without being overcooked, and the hollandaise was creamy perfection. Although the sweet potato toast doesn't really add a lot in terms of flavour. But those brunch potatoes! Let's just take a minute to discuss how deliciously seasoned these potatoes were. The skin was crispy, little bits of shredded cheese were studded throughout, and the green onions added tang. I could see how they might be a little too salty for some palates, but for me they were perfect. My friend had the same thing and really enjoyed his benny's, too.
The boyfriend ordered the perogies and kielbasa (Cheddar-scrambled eggs: potato onion perogy, kielbasa, crème fraîche, & Dijon mustard; $15). Sometimes I think he chooses his brunch dishes based on what will have the most pork product on it, whether it is bacon, sausage, or ham. Regardless, he was thrilled with his plate. I sampled one of the perogies and it was wonderful. Between the eggs, perogies, and sausage, he was very satisfied. Of course, it helped that there were some brunch potatoes left on my plate for him as well.
Finally, our other friend was feeling like plain old eggs and bacon with none of the fancy stuff. He asked for scrambled eggs and a side of bacon (Side of smoked bacon or braised bacon; $8). What he got surprised us all - it was closer to a couple pounds of bacon cooked down and served in a very large bowl. Between the four of us the bacon went unfinished! With the boyfriend around, that really is an impressive feat.
I absolutely adore the lattes at Culina (Latte or cappucino; $4.5). I don't know what they use for beans, but they are always wonderful. The boyfriend is obsessed with the french press coffee (French press coffee for two; $7) and always orders it for himself, not to share.
The menu at Culina is super inventive, and the service is always attentive. Next time, I want to try the apple fritters (Whisky-soaked apple fritters w. aged white cheddar, chicken sausage, & ginger maple syrup; $16). How amazing does that sound? Apple pie and cheddar cheese is pretty much the best combination imaginable so add in some whiskey, and I'm down.
This is a fantastic spot for any meal of the day and the prices are fairly consistent with other like-minded restaurants around Edmonton. They have just recently started serving lunch as well! I would highly recommend checking out this cute neighbourhood restaurant serving world-class food.
Culina Mill Creek
9914 89 Avenue, Edmonton