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Let's get something out of the way first.

The Elbow Room is not the place for you if you object to:
1. Being called darling, honey and princess, no matter what your gender.
2. Having your ability to finish what you order questioned.
3. Cooking staff who drop the f bomb.
4. Having to refill your own coffee and get your own water.
5. Having to wait for a table.
6. Having to donate money to charity if you don't finish your food.

The Elbow Room is the place for you if you like:
1. Good-natured "abuse" that doesn't cross the line, IMHO. For example, they might accuse you of getting your outfit at Wal-Mart, but they won't call you a fat pig. It's kind of what a favorite but kind of rude uncle might say to you.
2. A huge menu with amusing descriptions.
3. Truly original dishes with fresh ingredients in large, delicious portions.
4. Looking at photographs of various celebrities who have eaten there.
5. Bantering with your waiter about things.

Those lists probably give you a good idea of the atmosphere of the Elbow Room. The Elbow Room has a gimmick, that's for sure: the waiters are friendly but they make fun of you. But even if it weren't for the gimmick, the Elbow Room would surely be popular because of the quality of the food and drinks served.

Our friend Naazia ordered the Rosemary omelet, which contained salmon, cream cheese, and green onions, cranberry sourdough for the side. Her drink was a blueberry milkshake. She asked our server, who was in fact the owner, whether she should get the milkshake or the smoothie (same price), and he said "Oh honey, get the milkshake!" XD

I got the B.C. Benny--two poached eggs, salmon, cream cheese and chives on an onion cheese bagel, covered in hollandaise sauce. I ordered the hashbrowns for an extra buck but tbh I would skip them, they were pretty ordinary. The Benny itself, however, was marvelous. Way better than ordinary eggs benedict.

Gordon ordered the 12" Savoury Big-Ass Pancake. Just look at that thing. It's huge and thick. Make your own dirty joke here (and if you don't, the servers will!). It's got bacon, cheese and sausage in it, and it's topped with butter and syrup. Do NOT order this thing if you have heart problems.

Gordon and I both got coffee, and the coffee is good, but like I said, they bring you the first cup, then you have to refill it yourself. If you want water, it's only free if you get up and get it yourself, otherwise they charge you.

The Elbow Room is only open for breakfast and lunch (until 4pm). If you want to try the amazing food, but aren't so into the banter, from what I saw, if you look uncomfortable or don't respond, the servers leave you alone. If you give it, then you'll get it. ^_^

Name: The Elbow Room
Location: 560 Davie St, Vancouver BC 604 685 3628
Prices: $10-20. Licensed.
Service: Ordinarily, a server saying "Make up your mind already!" and a cook saying "What the f***? That's not on our menu!" would be considered bad service, but in the Elbow Room, that's the charm. The service is really prompt considered how busy it is.
Food: Fantastic. A huge menu, with dishes you can't get anywhere else, in unusual combinations like a fruit omelet with bananas, kiwi, pineapple, cheese and pecans. There's also the old standbys like eggs and toast. The burgers are supposed to be really good as well, so I will have to go back there sometime when I'm in a lunch mood instead of a breakfast mood.
Recommended?: I probably wouldn't go here on a day where I was in a bad mood or feeling sensitive or thin-skinned. Otherwise it's a must-try.

Elbow Room on Urbanspoon
thisisarestaurantblog: cute cartoon picture of food such as fortune cookies, soda bottle, etc (Default)

Oh Taipei. I miss you so much and long to return to you, city of cheap dining out. You can do anything--anything!--except make good Indian food.

Mexican food, however, is within your grasp.

Grandma Nitti's Kitchen, located within the Shida Night Market area of Taipei, is something of an expat hub. Any given evening, you're likely to see at least as many foreigners as Taiwanese. Maybe it's because they sell canned Chef Boyardee, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, and other things that people far from home crave. Maybe it's the AWESOME used stuff sale that goes on every Sunday to benefit Animals in Taiwan, an animal welfare organization with a lot of expat members. Maybe it's because of its location, a university area. Or maybe the food is just delicious. :3

This is not authentic Mexican-from-Mexico food; it's stuff like quesadillas and fajitas, the kind of food you'd get at Chili's in the States. They also offer other Western fare like meat loaf and lamb chops. The emphasis is on homey, unpretentious food.

The homeyness and unpretentiousness extends to a extent that many Westerners may not be comfortable with: Grandma Nitti's has cats.

Yes, I took that picture from our table.

Not effecting the popularity of the place, as you can see.

Portion sizes are small and prices are higher than most other Western places. The trio platter above cost NT$760 (~US$23). I split it with two of my roommates, and on our way home we grabbed some baozi to fill our stomachs. Part of this is because imported ingredients, particularly cheese, are expensive. The food is tasty, but IMHO Grandma Nitti's should be saved for Mexican cravings only. There are other Western restaurants with better prices for other kinds of food.

You can add on dessert and coffee to your meal for NT$100 (~US$3).

Grandma Nitti's also serves breakfast. The omelets in particular are good, Western-style omelets, instead of the Japanese-style which is so common in Taipei. However you're still gonna find the same tiny portions and high prices as dinner.

The menu is bilingual and the waiters speak English well. Credit cards are taken. Free Wi-fi.

To get there, ride the MRT to Taipower Building Station, get out at exit 3, and walk up until you get to Lane 93 (it's the second alley I think). Turn right, and you'll see it on the right hand side of the street.

Name: Grandma Nitti's Kitchen
Location: 8, Lane 93, Shida Rd., Taipei (台北市師大路93巷8號). (02) 3365-3448
Prices: NT$400~1000 (US$12~30) for dinner (meal + drink). Brunch is NT$200 on weekdays and NT$300 on weekends ($6/$9), tea or coffee not incl.
Service: Typical for Taipei re: the waiters. The ambiance is comfortable and you won't be rushed out if you go there, order coffee, and sit playing on your laptop. There is a service charge (aka an enforced tip), unusual for Taipei. The service should really be better than it is, with the service charge. Most places in Taipei, you don't tip at all.
Food: Tasty but small and expensive portions of Western style food, especially TexMex and breakfast.
Recommended?: Expats should hit Grandma Nitti's at least once, if only to say they've been there. If your time in Taipei is at all limited, however, there are better options.


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