The Red Wagon – Crisp Pork Belly Confit
There’s been a lot of talk about The Red Wagon (especially since Guy Fieri visited this place on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives). But is this place worthy of all the hype?
First off, let me just say that it can be a little difficult finding somewhere good to eat on a Saturday morning. Unlike classic breakfast joints like Jimmy’s Place and Jimoco Cafe in Coquitlam, a lot of restaurants in East Van don’t open until at least 9am. I must have hit about 5 different places on this Saturday morning looking for a decent place to pick up some good grub but they were all closed.
I had originally driven past The Red Wagon at 8 o’clock but it was still a good hour before they opened for brunch. After my futile effort of finding another breakfast spot, I came back to The Red Wagon about 15 minutes before they were set to open and there was already a line-up outside the small diner.
Since the weather wasn’t bad, I decided to get in line before it got too busy. It was a good thing I did too since the whole place was full up by 9:15am with a small line up of people patiently waiting outside for an open table.
I was a bit surprised when my Hot Chocolate came to the table – it had two large marshmallows in the mug. I’ve had marshmallows before in my hot chocolate but they were usually the small little mini marshmallows – never the full size variety. The hot chocolate was pretty good but I really liked how the large marshmallows partially melted in the hot beverage.
I’ve heard that the Pulled Pork Pancakes is a favourite here but I didn’t think I could finish off 3 buttermilk pancakes on this morning. Instead, I opted for the Crisp Pork Belly with 2 eggs (poached), homefries, grilled tomatoes, salsa verde, hollandaise, and toast. I’ve mentioned before that I like my eggs on the runny side so I’m glad that the waitress asked how I liked my poached eggs prepared – and sure enough, they came perfectly runny for my liking.
I was a little skeptical about the pork belly as I’ve heard many places claim that they have the best pork belly in Vancouver and they never live up to my expectations. I have to admit that the pork belly confit at The Red Wagon is really good (I’m not sure if it’s the best, but I would definitely order this again without hestitation). The pork belly slices are cut thick and have a bark to it. There’s something about how the fat melts in your mouth – and yet it doesn’t feel like you’re eating a big glob of fat.
Despite not ordering the Pulled Pork Pancakes, I was determined to see how good the Pulled Pork was so I ordered a side of it for $2.50. I was surprised at how much you got for such a low price. My first bite from the top of the bowl wasn’t too spectacular, but once I got down a little further, I started tasting how juicy the pulled pork was and the flavours were just bursting in my mouth. I can see why people would love this with their pancakes… some of the juiciest and best tasting pulled pork I’ve had for a while.
So, is this place worth all of the hype? Big time! I normally dislike line-ups but I am glad I had the chance to try this place out. My advice would be to show up early or try and stop by during the off-peak times because it gets quite busy here. While my food took about 15 minutes to get to my table, a lot of the patrons that showed up after me had to wait longer due to how busy it was getting. Service from the waitresses was quick but friendly and efficient.
Food: 5 / 5
Service: 4.5 / 5
2296 East Hastings Strret
Posted on May 3, 2012, in Breakfast, Brunch, Diner, Restaurant Review and tagged BBQ Pulled Pork, Breakfast, Brunch, Crisp Pork Belly, Diner, Food, Grandview, Hot Chocolate, van. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.