Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Chez Meme Baguette Bistro (The Heights, Burnaby, BC)

I am a huge fan of The Heights neighbourhood in Burnaby. I love the small businesses, I love the community, I love the murals, and I love the history behind the Heights. Their annual Hats Off Day (taking place this year on June 5) highlights this sense of community while celebrating the history. It was the Hats Off Day of last year that I wrote about Heavenly Bites, an Indian restaurant that served tiffin boxes / set meal that came to under $10.

Unfortunately, due to a medical situation, Heavenly Bites closed up suddenly. Almost as suddenly, a couple months ago, Chez Meme Baguette Bistro opened up in its place. M spoke about it a couple times, as he passed it on his commute.

He mentioned it enough that the name and location stuck. However, when we tried to visit them, they were always closed. Reason? Their limited hours - as the restaurant is run by a couple with younger children, Chez Meme is only open during 8am-3pm, Monday through Friday. As of writing, they have plans to open one Saturday a month, but will have to work out the scheduling and babysitting. :)

So how did I manage to visit Chez Meme Baguette Bistro? Well, the bossman gave me a whole day off this year for my birthday. ...And, well I literally had a doctors appointment that ran into lunch!

The first time I visited Chez Meme was with FMace, cousin Nate, and Chez Henri. "Chez Henri", you say? Well its suitable that I introduce Chez Henri in this particular post. He lived in France for a period of time before he came to Canada. One of the first times he went into MacDonalds in Canada (for breakfast, no less) he was under the impression that everyone spoke French. So Chez Henri (who didn't speak an ounce of English at this point) walks up to the counter at MacDonalds and orders a "Jus D'orange". The stunned girl (I think this was in interior BC or something) hesitated, then continued with the order.

Chez Meme concept is simple - French bistro food in the form of omelettes, baguette sandwiches, and other offerings like a duck confit and brioche french toast. A fresh batch of soup / potager is prepared regularly, and it shows!

The first time, I ordered a Bourguignon baguette. All the sandwiches come with your choice of salad, soup, or fries. The soup of the day was the spinach, fennel and apple. While the portions may look small, I was pretty stuffed. Upon viewing the photos at home later that day, M got some "lunch envy". He was a little upset that I'd gone there without him! For good reason though - the baguette was crisp with a slightly chewy interior, and the pulled beef short rib was complemented well by sharp horseradish and slightly sweet carmelized onions. The soup was a light accompaniment to the meal. I was surprised that the soup was so fresh. It was pureed, but the quality showed through.

Fmace had the Sarladaise - an omelette with duck confit, potatoes and onions.This is a French omelette: moist, tender, and no colour on the omelette. The filling was rich - shredded duck meat and onions. The bite that I sampled did not have potato... As the restaurant name implies, the omelette was served not only with potatoes, but with crusty baguette as well. The baguette was fresh and crisp, but the potatoes could have been crispier and seasoned better.

Cousin Nate settled on the Brioche French Toast, banana and maple syrup option. Honestly, if Nate wasn't there that day, I would have ordered the French Toast. The slices of brioche were light and fluffy. When I asked Nate whether he liked his (Chez Meme) french toast or his moms' French toast better, he thoughtfully sighed out a long, "moms...." with a long sideways look at his mom.
Chez Henri ordered a Jambon-Brie baguette, also followed by their daily soup. Although you cannot see it in the photo, the baguette was full of oozing, melty cheese.

Chez Meme Baguette Bistro is a fairly small operation with about twenty seats. It was packed at lunch hour, for good reason. There was even a couple people  waiting for seats when we left!

On a subsequent visit, M and I had a chance to savour more of Chez Memes' baguettes. M ordered a Cordon Bleu sandwich, while I (on my meat ban) ordered a From'ton.

The Cordon Bleu was a ham, chicken, and emmenthal sandwich with dijon mustard on the side. M thoroughly enjoyed this, and would order it again. My From'ton was a sandwich of brie, pear, and walnuts. When it came, I was excited that they didn't go cheap with the cheese; however, upon finishing my meal I was ready to take a nap. :p While I enjoyed the combination of melted, creamy brie, sweet pear, and crunchy walnuts, I would have liked to have more pear (it was canned, I believe), and for the walnuts to be roasted / toasted. It said toasted on the menu, but the walnuts looked like they were out of the bag when I got my sandwich. Even so, I got a euphoric foodie high when I had the odd bite that included brie, walnut, pear and baguette!

We both went with the soup of the day, a fresh tomato, fennel, and Italian parsley soup. Once again, it was a nice medley of flavours. I think Chez Meme has convinced both of us to start using more fennel in our cooking.

Overall, we liked Chez Meme. It is unassuming, delicious and food is prepared fresh. I only wished their children would grow up faster so that they'd be open on weekends. ;p Chez Meme Baguette Bistro is a nice addition to The Heights community.

Chez Meme Baguette Bistro
4016 Hastings Street
Burnaby BC
P: 604-299-1141
Chez Meme Baguette Bistro on Urbanspoon


  1. Seriously? In North Burnaby? That is a very welcome addition. The Lamb Shank Baguette with Roasted Garlic jam sounds incredible! I may have to do breakfast and lunch there tomorrow! Thanks for the huuuuge tip! Great post, Jessica!

  2. Thanks for reading Karl! It is right beside Tom Yum Thai (or 2 stops over...). I thought it was good quality. So good that I've already spent two "mornings off" there. :p Do give them a try and let me know what you think!

  3. This seems to be a great find. Alas, I also wish they have extended hours. Based on their schedule and location there is absolutely no way I can get there.... >_<

  4. Kim, They are focusing on raising their children; thus the limited hours (after she told me that I felt bad for suggesting longer hours). They'll be open from 9am-2pm on Easter Monday (not sure about Good Friday). As I mentioned in the post, they are planning on opening one Saturday a month as well, hopefully the 2nd Saturday of every month.

  5. I agree with Kim! This looks like a GREAT find!! Omg those baguettes look truly amazing!!!! I almost want to drive there now and get it...I can't beleive I've never heard of this place.

    Thanks for the post Jessica!

    PS: The comment was probably from another person named Jessica

  6. Mijune: yes, thus M was a little jealous that I'd lunched there without him! :p

    re: comment - Sorry, I assumed too much and clicked through on the link. Ignore my comment on your entry. :o\

  7. This cafe is operated by the former owners of Cafe de Bretagne downtown, so you know it's quality. Too bad they're not making galettes anymore! But steak & frites for $13.50, wow.

  8. Thank you for the comment Mek. all makes sense! Galettes would be awesome, although it seems that they have considerably simplified their menu and as mentioned before, just concentrating on suburban life (kids, kid-friendly hours and schedule). :) I am all about quality time with family, so I cannot argue with that.

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.


Related Posts with Thumbnails