If you’re looking for a great restaurant for breakfast or lunch, featuring fresh ingredients and delivered by warm, friendly locals in a cozy ambiance, look no further than the Peace Arch City Café near the Canadian border in Blaine, WA. This eatery, a favorite of mine since it opened in July 2012, is the brainchild of John Quimod and Kylie Bestul, who work the kitchen and front of house respectively.
Quimod is a whiz in the kitchen, assembling familiar comfort food but adding a splash of innovative additions. Curried egg salad, pear and prosciutto salad and dried figs coupled with blue cheese are just some of his great pairings. Bestul and her team of servers bring a genuine warmth to this turn-of-the-century home that’s been converted into a restaurant. Whether you’re meeting friends for a meal or sitting down in the company of your laptop, the soft music and friendly, genuine atmosphere at the café bring out the sun even when it’s pouring rain outside.
My friend and I sat down for breakfast in late April, just days after Quimod had launched two new items on his breakfast menu: huevos rancheros ($11.50) and a three-egg omelet with pulled pork, verde salsa, spicy corn salsa, avocado and tomato (also $11.50). The breakfast menu is already choc-full of tempting offerings: French toast, scrambled egg sandwiches, omelets and breakfast platters, with an assortment of muffins beneath the glass countertop.
We were both drawn to the spinach, sundried tomato and blue cheese omelet ($9.50), a hearty meal that comes with hash browns, toast and a choice of marmalade. We added a rich Scottie chai tea latte to the meal and sat down to enjoy this rare treat: a leisurely breakfast on a week day. Our dishes turned out to be a great choice. The omelets were hearty and the blue cheese added a perfect zing to the sundried tomatoes and spinach.
Service is quick and efficient at this 28-seat restaurant and the menu is very reasonably priced. A Canadian couple sitting next to us told us this was Blaine’s ‘best restaurant.’ “We come here often,” they said. “The food is great and it’s really inexpensive, especially compared to what we pay for the same dishes in BC!” Sandwiches are priced between $9 and $10 and salads, served with bread and large enough to constitute a meal, are $10.
A few months earlier I’d had lunch at the restaurant, dining on curried egg salad with celery, green apple, red onion and mixed greens, and curried cauliflower and zuchhini soup. Quimod has a great knack for combining ingredients in delightful combinations, the kind you’d never think to do at home. The menu is also easily personalized, which means you get to choose gluten-free bread if you prefer, or add more cheese to a dish, or leave out an ingredient. There’s no fuss made and personal choices are quickly and graciously accommodated.
Peace Arch City Café’s walls double as gallery space for local photographers and there are some soothing ocean scenes and gorgeous images of local water birds decorating the walls right now. There are a few tables occupied every time I’ve entered the café but it’s never felt crowded and I’ve never had to wait for a table. Just minutes across the border in White Rock, it’s another story completely…
The café is licensed to sell beer and wine, with an emphasis on small microbreweries out of Washington, Oregon and California. Its espresso menu is also impressive, with options including white chocolate mocha, salted caramel lattes, mint marble mocha and pumpkin spice latte.
Admittedly there aren’t a lot of dining choices in Blaine. But of the handful of eateries, there’s one or two great ones and Peace Arch City Café is definitely my top pick.
- Address: 321 H Street Blaine; 360. 332-5212
- Website with Menu: www.peacearchcitycafe.com