Bikes and Bandidas

by Jessica Grajczyk

On Sunday I awoke sans hangover to sunshine bouncing off the Coastal Mountains outside my window. I couldn’t resist the urge to grab my roomie out of bed, grab our bikes (provided they weren’t rusted to the porch after that hideous winter) and embark on a morning bike ride. We rode our little hearts out to Trout Lake where we parked, sat on a log on the beach, and were treated to an amazing panoramic view of the water set to a backdrop of colourful little East Van houses, tree-lined paths and a magnificent mountain range. Just then, a young bohemian chap popped out of the bushes, sat on the dock and whipped out his banjo, providing an apropos soundtrack to our already awesome morning. The air coming off the lake was chilly, but my heart was warmed imagining the fun to be had by the small child sprinkling seeds on the shore for the ducks to devour. Frankly, I’m getting nauseous just thinking about the disgusting quaintness of it all, but I assure you, it’s the truth.

After enjoying the view, we continued our ride through the back alleys of Trout Lake and felt like kids again as we zig-zagged through the lesser-known facades of our neighbourhood. Our hands froze to our handlebars in the brisk, early spring air. Then our stomachs started to rumble like our tires on the rough alley pavement and we realized that the only thing missing from this perfect morning was a perfect breakfast.

It was then that we happened to ride by Bandidas Taqueria, a little vegetarian/vegan Mexican restaurant I’ve been meaning to try. We were delighted to learn that they serve brunch on weekends, so we locked up our bikes and happily sat at a big table by the window. I loved the purple and black patterned table coverings, and the black and white checkered floor. Bonus points for the extensive National Geographic collection, Balderdash game, colouring books with crayons (we dove right into our masterpieces), vintage furniture accents and mismatched mason jars in the place of standard water glasses. I learned later that Bandidas believes in sustainable business practices (i.e. reusing items like the jars), and even has a bike and trailer as their company vehicle.

And the brunch menu! Their Bennies sounded wonderful, with poached eggs resting on cornbread muffin tops rather than the traditional English variety, with tomatillo or spicy tomato sauce masquerading in the place of Hollandaise. Rosemary yams and purple cabbage salad would accompany each breakfast. My roomie decided to go for the Mexican Breakfast: free range eggs, pinto beans, your choice of salsa, cornbread and honey butter (all for just $7). I decided to be wild and crazy and ordered Jamie’s Benny: free range eggs, caramelized pineapple, onion, jack cheese, choice of tomatillo or spicy tomato salsa ($11). We were so pleased with our breakfasts we kept munching on them past the point of stomach capacity. The combination of sweet pineapple, rich egg yolk and spicy tomatillo sparked a flavour fiesta in my mouth and the potatoes rivaled my all time favourites at Theresa’s with whole cloves of roasted garlic and rosemary.

No this is a big-ass plate of food.

No this is a big-ass plate of food.

We could have sat and munched all day, but our trusty steeds were calling our names so we jumped on them and rode into the afternoon fully satiated and comforted by our wonderful Bandidas brunch.

Bandidas Taqueria

Open for Brunch

Saturday 10am-midnight

Sunday 10am-9pm


Monday-Thursday 12pm-10pm

Friday 12pm-midnight

About Lauren Mote

Lauren has been an intricate part of the food industry for many years. Whether it’s behind the bar, in the kitchen, tasting and learning about wine, or sitting with her laptop writing food stories and reviews at the local coffee house, it was clear at an early age that Lauren’s professional and personal life would be completely consumed by the joy and passion of edibles.
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