Saturday, 6 April 2013

JACK N LOIS

301 James St N, Hamilton
www.jacknlois.com
visited Friday August 9, 2013

So last I blogged about this place, I had just started hungryhammergirl and wasn't as prepared with my picture taking skills.  This time around I was ready.  I came down with a group of girlfriends for a dinner birthday celebration and it just happened to be art crawl night as well.  James Street North was alive and buzzing with people and it was one of the nicest summer nights we've had all summer. 
Jack n Lois had their garage door open into the restaurant, that was fully packed.  Luckily they have recently added a back patio which we walked around the back parking lot to get to.  It had a relaxed backyard vibe, with an eclectic mix of patio chairs, picnic tables and retro furniture.  A small bar where drinks were being mixed and a dj booth playing music added a cool factor to this new outdoor space.




Our server was great.  She knew how to time our drinks, taking our order and bill payment just right and was quick to respond to any requests for extra cutlery or straws or hot sauce.  To start I ordered a white wine sangria, which I eventually enticed a few other girls to get and the ones that didn't get it really liked the sip they had of mine and wished they'd ordered one earlier.  It was light refreshing and a perfect patio drink, although a touch overpriced for its size at $8. 

 



This is the first time I've had dinner here (I've had breakfast and lunch previously, so I guess I've covered all possible meal times here now!).  I ordered The Replicant platter for $10.  It was 2 very large portobello mushroom caps breaded and pan fried, with pesto mayo a hunk of melted aged cheddar cheese all on a garlic toasted Cake n Loaf bun.  The mushroom caps had excellent crunch on the outside without being greasy, but the interiors were meaty and cooked well (read: not raw or mushy, which can normally happen to thick portobello mushroom caps).  The garlic toasted bun was amazing.  Soft and light but full of flavour and really held all the contents of the sandwich together really well.  I love that Jack n Lois contracts their bread out to Cake n Loaf, because this bakery clearly knows how to do bread very well.

Burgers and sandwiches here can either be served solo or as a platter, which consists of their house made slaw and choice of side soup.  For and extra $3 these little extras are totally worth it.  They are made with care and are not an afterthought on your plate in any way.  The slaw has a lot of Asian influence with julienned carrot, purple cabbage, onion, peanuts and a light Asian vinaigrette dressing.  The two soup choices were spicy thai coconut or charred tomato.  This time I had the charred tomato soup and it was excellent.  It tasted like fresh picked tomatoes made into a chunky soup with a subtle smoky flavour and herbs.  The sides are small but just right for enjoying along side your huge sandwich or burger. 






Everyone at the table devoured their meals and had nothing but good comments to say about the fresh ingredients, the great flavour combinations and the fun vibe at Jack n Lois.  All their menu prices include tax so for $18 I had a great meal and a refreshing drink alongside some fabulous company.  Another successful outing at Jack n Lois.

Rating:
Food 5.0*, Value 4.0*, Service 5.0*, Décor/Ambiance 4.5*

Overall 4.6*  :  I also love that they serve all day breakfast here, as some of our party ordered some of the breakfast sandwiches that they loved.  The food here is carefully thought out and has great little twists on some classic sandwiches.  The vibe is relaxed with a bit of retro hipster and a dash of downtown Toronto cool factor.  You'll like it I promise!

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visited Saturday March 16, 2013

For our second visit to Jack & Lois, we wanted to try out their breakfast menu.  Our first visit for lunch a few months back exceeded our expectations and we were salivating for more.  A chilly but sunny Sunday morning at 10am had the restaurant full but not packed.  We scored the large group table in the front with the sun shining right in to warm us up.  I researched ahead of time what I wanted and new exactly when we sat down. 

The one lonely waitress who was there the last time we visited was attentive, calm and pleasant, despite having  over 7 tables to serve.  She came with big glasses of water for my husband and I, then a steaming cup of java that was rich and tasty for moi and OJ for my hubby.  We ordered the “Bet the Farm” breakfast for $24 to split.  The waitress had to read it over, mentioning no one ever orders this  and you’ll see why in a minute.  The single order consisted of: 1 side Eggs Benny, 3 egg omelet, French toast, hash browns, 3x breakfast sausage, 4x bacon strips, 2x peameal, 2x Stuffed Angels, fresh fruit, bottomless coffee, and Apple or OJ. 

Ya you read right! Of course no one single person could ever order this and eat this.  It’s a sharing thing for sure…even possibly a family meal.  Within 10 min our massive order came out on 3 plates.  I got to pick how I wanted my eggs benny done from the daily features and my husband got to pick out his omelet accompaniments.  The eggs benny was on a soft piece of bread with a nicely cooked poached egg atop smoked salmon.  The bacon was crisp, the peameal bacon wasn’t too fatty, the hash browns were crisp on the outside but tender on the inside and the French toast was sweet.  We got real maple syrup to go on top which was great.  None of this aunt jemima crap.  We live in Canada the largest producers of maple syrup and its my pet peeve when restaurants don’t cook with it, serve it or utilize it to its fullest potential.  Ok its expensive but its darn good.  I feel better that I got that off my chest. 

I’m not a huge sausage fan but the one I had was porky and caramelized on the outside so it was decent.  Am also not a omelet fan, so James dug into that all by himself and quite enjoyed it.  It was massive and filled with mushrooms, onions and tomatoes.  A couple small pieces of fruit, consisting of honeydew, cantaloupe and pineapple. were on the plate.  It would’ve been nice to have something fancy done with them instead of just thrown under the mass of food on my plate, but there was little room for them I guess.  And finally the stuffed angels were deep fried wonton pockets filled with a black bean, garlic, cilantro, tomato concoction.  They were delicious and an interesting addition to the plate, that seemingly elevated it from your basic weekend brunch plate to something with a bit of flair.  Even James who hates cilantro gobbled it down in a single bite. 

Needless to say we were stuffed, but then again we did clear all the plates.  The food was well prepared, fresh and tasty.  The service always pleasant and the price tag just right.  We will be returning sooner than later no doubt.

Rating:
Food: 5.0*, Value: 4.0*, Service: 5.0*, Décor/Ambiance: 4.5*
Overall:  4.6 We love this place and can’t wait to try all the things on the menu.  The atmosphere is relaxed and kitchy and the service is easy and attentive.  This little gem in the James North area will be around for a long time in my opinion. 

 Jack & Lois on Urbanspoon

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