Reviews and Such Restaurants

Aalto’s, Men’s Breakfast

One of the little interesting tidbits from the Grey Owl dinner I went to a couple of weeks ago, was that the meal began with grace. That’s rather uncommon at public, non-church gatherings. Even more uncommon was that as clergy in attendance, I wasn’t the one called on to say grace. I was thinking about that this morning as I attended the St. Margaret’s Men’s Breakfast at Aalto’s restaurant in the Pembina Highway Canadinn.

Aalto's coffee
There was lots of coffee available at the table for the Men’s Breakfast at Aalto’s
Schwartz's Diner in Montreal
Schwartz's Diner in Montreal

As a priest I am, in one sense, always on the job. Yet there are places and groups where that is more in theory than in practice. The St. Margaret’s men’s group is one of those places. Sure, I’ve acted in my priestly role at the men’s retreat, but more often than not the men’s group is a place where I can sit around and chat and share the ups and downs of life (priests have those too, though I’m sure you know that).

Many of the gatherings of the group are done in people’s homes or at the church, but occasionally a place like Aalto’s makes is used because it allows for more time to talk together, without any of the members having to do much preparation work as far as food is concerned.
Having not read the email correctly, I arrived at Aalto’s at 9:00 am for the 9:30 am start time. Fortunately, Allan, one of the organizers arrived early as well, so we sat and chatted while we waited for the others to appear.

Aalto’s Breakfast Buffet:

When it came to eat, everyone went for the Breakfast Buffet. The Saturday one offers an omelet bar, but I don’t think anyone in our group was prepared to stand in line for that, as it was quite popular. Going through I realized I had only ever been to Aalto’s for brunch, and so the Breakfast Buffet seemed quite sparse by comparison.

Aalto's breakfast plate.
My breakfast plate from the buffet at Aaltos

Still, there were enough options to choose from, I took eggs, potatoes, bacon, and pork sausages my first time through, with a bran muffin and mini danish on the side. I enjoyed the food on my main plate, but the pastries on the side were a let down. The bran muffin was very dry, and the danish seemed slightly undercooked and doughy.
Still, the main portion of the food was prepared quite well, and any place where you can go back for extra helpings of bacon is a good place.
Plus, we were seated in an area all on our own. That meant when it came time to hear our speaker Wayne talk about the effects on his life from his time living in Kenya and Tanzania, we could rearrange ourselves to easily hear him speak.
Finally, a great job by our server Leah. While the buffet means we lined up to receive our food, Leah made sure that there was plenty of coffee, juice, and water for those who wanted them. I especially like Aalto’s practice of leaving a jug of coffee to share between three or four people, so that refills were always at hand.
On a day that started out with a 1 am emergency when my toilet tank cracked, and leaked, it was wonderful to be able to sit around eat and enjoy the company of some of my male friends from St. Margaret’s.

By Donald McKenzie

Anglican priest, and food blogger. This blog is focused on Food. It will feature reviews of places to eat books, and the odd recipe. I also write about what it means to gather together around food.