Weekly Feature: The Grad Lounge – The Epitome of Brunch in a Swiss & Smoky Bacon Quiche

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I think I’m in love with the concept and idea of brunch.  The thought of little sandwiches, crusty bread, panini, pies, quiches, pastries, omelettes and other breakfast foods makes me salivate with visions of bakeries and cafés dancing in my head.  I wake up early in the morning (most of the time at 6:30am so that I can get a good jump start to my day) and by the time 8am hits, I am ravenous and I am shoving blueberries and bananas in my mouth like it’s my last meal on Earth.  So for a hungry girl like myself, a mid-morning meal with the works fits the bill for that growling tummy of mine.  

Lunch and/or brunch has always been my favourite meal of the day.  I look forward to lunch more than I look forward to dinner.  And even though I adore traditional breakfast foods, I love that breezy relaxed feeling that goes along with a great lunch and/or brunch.  Having been in university and grad school for a combined six and a half years, I would get through my days by looking forward to my lunches.  I would contemplate where to eat, what to eat, and when to eat.  It was always the highlight of my day and it made those god awful 12-hour typing days just slightly more bearable.

Even though this was a lunch time meal at The Grad Lounge, it had brunch written all over it and I think it may have even bumped a meal off of my current top 5 list of favourites because it was THAT amazing and delicious.  The amazing swiss and bacon quiche with side spring mix salad and crusty baguette wedge.  I gotta say, The Grad Lounge kills it when it comes to their quiches and pies and I don’t even care that quiches are slightly fattening because of the pie crust and egg/custard/cream/milk composition; they’re mouthwateringly good and I would choose a quiche meal over a rice one or sandwich/wrap one any day.  THAT’s how much I adore these.  I’ve had two of The Grad Lounge’s quiches and pies thus far: 1) cheddar broccoli quiche with grilled zucchini and 2) sweet potato and mushroom pie.  I loved them both, but this swiss and bacon one just knocked it out of the park, so much so that I didn’t want to finish my meal because I didn’t want the yumminess to end. 

While the cheddar broccoli quiche was softer and airier and more tofu-like in consistency, the swiss and bacon one was denser and more “solid”, almost like a thick slice of pizza with egg.  It was cheesy, eggy, and full of smokiness from the bacon, and the green onion and chive flavour was a great complement.  We do eggs at home this way a lot, scrambling them with some green onions or chives and sometimes adding bacon crumble into the mix. 

Egg in and of itself is a blank canvas.  Unless you season it, it’s bland so it works perfectly for dishes like these where you can really go crazy with adding things and working with combinations of foods and flavours (things like spinach and feta, broccoli and cheddar, and in this case, swiss and bacon).  The flavour of the baked egg doesn’t end up competing and clashing with other foods.  The cheese flavour was very subtle, but very well done as you can see the cheese bubbled and browned perfectly off the edges.  The whole dish just worked and the crusty baguette wedge was a really nice touch too.  This right here is the epitome of a fantastic brunch dish 😀 

*****

The Grad Lounge is located at 166 South Ross at the York University Keele campus.  They will be closing for the summer THIS THURSDAY (June 30th) and will be open from 12pm-5pm for the next several days, so drop in to get your last fix of the summer and to give Mike and Paul a big thanks for all their hard work.

Weekly Feature: The Grad Lounge – Sweet Potato and Mushroom Pie

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It’s a snoooow daaaayyy!  If you live in the mid-to-East coast, you are probably snowed in like me.  Schools are closed and if you live in Markham like I do, you have most likely noticed the snow has only taken a breather for several minutes at a time since the middle of the night.  Although the hyped up snowstorm didn’t deliver quite the punch everyone was expecting, I had a neighbour this morning who tried to start his snow blower almost 30 times with no luck – I seriously would have given up after 5 and just shovelled the damn driveway myself; either that or collapse on the ground and make snow angels to soothe my frustration.  And hello, it’s never a good thing when the snow is blowing horizontally!  So for those who are snowed in, I hope you’re enjoying the day off and for those who had to trudge off to work at an ungodly hour, I hope you’re at least staying warm!

Alright, so in lieu of snow day, let’s churn out some comfort food for this week’s Grad Lounge feature!  I have never met a potato I didn’t like, and like many foods that have grown on me over the past 5 years, sweet potatoes (or yams) is one of them.  My mum and brother loooove sweet potato anything (sweet potato fries, mashed and roasted sweet potatoes, the list goes on) and when I first tried them, they were just okay to me.  But I’ve definitely learned to appreciate their versatility, especially in dishes like this one! 

A quiche-like pie made with sweet potato mash and savoury portobello mushrooms and a spring mix green salad on the side with sun-dried tomato dressing.  The pie crust is nice and thin, and the filling is deliciously moist and whipped airy soft.  The bold flavour from the mushrooms complements the sweetness from the yams, and it’s the kind of bakery dish that screams warmth and comfort.  Mmmm.  Take note though that this dish is part of the rotating daily specials and not a part of the permanent, everyday menu.  So hopefully if love sweet potatoes, you’ll be able to catch it sometime! 

Stay safe and warm everyone!  Annnd Happy Chinese (Lunar) New Year Eve to everyone who celebrates!  I’ll have a special Chinese New Year post for tomorrow, so I’ll see you all again then! 

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The Grad Lounge is located at 166 South Ross at the York University Keele campus and have extended their hours to 9pm in the evening from Monday to Friday.

Weekly Feature: The Grad Lounge – Cheddar Broccoli Quiche with Fresh Grilled Zucchini

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I feel really, really lucky to have a space at school where I can sit and have a good meal without having to wait 20 minutes in line, without being elbowed by everyone and their mother, and without being forced to choose something off the menu that will make me worry about my arteries afterwards.  I’m talking about The Grad Lounge, located in the Ross Building on the York University Keele campus.  Owned and run by graduate students (with the exception of Mike and Paul who run the show day in and day out), it’s a space exclusively for graduate students and 19+ folk as the eatery serves alcohol.  Good food that’s affordable and vegetarian and vegan friendly.  Now, I may not be vegetarian or vegan (far from it, ha!), but I truly appreciate the lengths eating establishments go through to ensure there are viable options for everyone.

What we have here is a broccoli and cheddar quiche with grilled zucchini and a mixed green salad with sundried tomato dressing.  Don’t even get me started on how much the grilled zucchini made me wiggle with joy, oh my golly.  What I love about the Grad Lounge is how they consistently rotate between daily specials.  You could feasibly find about 3 vegetarian or vegan options off the daily meal (among others for more carnivorous folks) and if none of them suit your fancy, there’s always the permament menu you can order from.  And when I say rotate, it means if you miss one of your favourite dishes one day, it’ll most likely come back again the next week, so there’s no need to fret! 🙂

I’m going to be point blank when I say this: if I’m going to be spending $6-$8 on a fast food combo meal that may or may not fill me, I would much rather go to the Grad Lounge and spend the same amount and get a healthy plate of food instead.  Yes, of course, sometimes I will have the urge to get a quesadilla from Taco Bell and I will sure as hell enjoy it.  But if we’re talking about food from the perspective of it being MORE than just food, I would much rather support an establishment that gives me quality and heart on a daily or weekly basis.

It is really fun eating my way through the menu and taking photos of everything, so this is going to be a weekly fixture on the blog.  Every week I am going to feature a menu item from the Grad Lounge until I basically run out, ha!  Enjoy!

*****

The Grad Lounge is located at 166 South Ross at the York University Keele campus.