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Yolks – Eggs Benny vs Fried Chicken

I recently accepted an offer to begin working in a field that’s completely new to me. Sure, it’s still science-related, but it’s entirely different from anything that I’ve ever done before, and I really don’t know what to expect. Part of me is super excited to step into the new position, and another part is absolutely terrified. What if I wind up being terrible at it? I already had a dream that I showed up for the first day in cut off jean shorts and a tank top without realizing there was a dress code. Granted, dream world Food Wench apparently isn’t that bright, but you never know.

To congratulate myself on the new job, and distract myself from my fears, I decided that I would use the last few weeks off before I started the job to plan a quick trip to San Francisco to visit my good friends Bits and Princess Rainbow Sparkles. So imagine my surprise when I contacted Bits to ask if it would be alright if I stayed with her, only to find out that she had already booked a trip to visit Vancouver that exact same week. So I decided to postpone my trip until the spring, and take advantage of having Bits back in the city. First order of business: Brunch at Yolks with mutual friends.

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Jug of Mimosas – $25

Once we were seated and perusing the menu, my friend Mo mentioned that she was going to ask if they had sparkling wine. I laughed, thinking there was no way that a diner like Yolks would have a liquor license. Turns out I was wrong. Not only do they offer caesars and spiked coffee, but you can even get an entire Jug of Mimosas which I immediately ordered. Even more surprisingly, the restaurant actually makes the effort to chill their champagne glasses (which you can clearly see in the above photo). The drink itself was far heavier on the orange juice than the sparkling wine, which was unfortunate, but not entirely unexpected. A lot of restaurants tend to cheap out on the amount of sparkling wine in mimosas. They also used orange juice with pulp rather than the strained version. I don’t mind pulp in the least, but just a warning since it’s one of those things that can make or break a mimosa for some people.

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Chicken & Waffles – $11.75

Normally whenever I visit Yolks I go for their portobello mushroom benedict, because it’s the bomb diggity (you can read my review of it here). But in addition to their benedicts, the restaurant is also famous for their Fried Chicken & Waffles, which many claim to be the best in town. Featuring organic fried chicken, Belgian waffles, chicken gravy, and Canadian maple syrup, the dish is definitely impressive to see (and much larger in real life than it appears in the above photo). Unfortunately, although it was decent, it wasn’t anywhere near the best (that title would probably still have to go to Chewies). Two things held it back. First off, the waffles weren’t sweet enough to contrast the savouriness of the chicken and gravy. The syrup helped, but a dish should stand on its own without the aid of accompaniments. The second issue was was the the chicken breasts were cut into pieces, and panko crusted rather than drenched in flour, making them more like chicken strips than traditional fried chicken. The chicken was still decently moist and seasoned well, but it just didn’t have the same impact as the real deal. As I said earlier, it was still a decent rendition of the dish, but definitely not the best in town.

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Truffle-Lemon Hashbrowns – $3.75

Although the chicken and waffles were a meal in themselves, there’s no going to Yolks with ordering a side of the Truffle-Lemon Hashbrowns. Consisting of organic local potatoes, fresh lemon, truffle oil, sea salt, and chives, these are easily my favorite thing on the entire menu. The potatoes are cooked up perfectly where they’re crisp on the outside, and soft on the inside, but its the flavour that really sets them apart. Lightly lemony and salty with a good truffle kick, I truly believe there are no better hashbrowns in town. You can also get them as a bed for eggs benedict (in place of the english muffin), but the very best way to eat them is all on their own, so that you don’t have any other flavours masking them. Ugh. I could totally go for a plate of these right now.

So would I recommend Yolks? Certainly. Like I said, their lemon-truffle hashbrowns alone are reason enough to return. Would I bother with their fried chicken and waffles again? No. I get the feeling that the reason so many people are fond of them is that back when they were just a food cart they were one of the first places in the city that offered chicken and waffles on the menu. The novelty factor made them a must eat. Since then, however, chicken and waffles have become a staple on brunch menus. And they just don’t stack up to the competition. I’ll be sticking with their poached eggs over hashbrowns when I return in the future.