By contributor Shaleeta Harper.
I heard about this hole in the wall—literally a hole in the wall—on Facebook. It made me curious, so I had to check it out. I took a trip downtown to the corner of Victoria Cres. and Albert St. for some of the New Years goodies advertised online, made specially for the occasion.
Normally a description of the décor would come in here, but, since Cinnamon Joes is a coffee window, paved sidewalks and maple trees are what you get for a street-side window.
The name Cinnamon Joes implies cinnamon buns and coffee, and that’s what it’s all about. The menu features a variety of cinnamon buns, from the au naturel to Nanaimo bar flavoured, and other snacks including daily special entrees, and beverages. Daily Facebook posts keep their customers informed about homemade daily specials.
The gentleman at the counter was all smiles, and happy to talk up the menu. On New Years Eve the highlight was a seafood potpie with lobster, scallops, and white fish in a parmesan cream sauce. The crust was flaky and buttery, but unfortunately the butter overpowered the other flavours and masked the lobster I paid $12 for. My companions let me sample their choices. I managed to try the smoked oyster curry on rice and the pulled pork burger with cheese on the homemade bun. The smoked oyster curry with rich red sauce ladled onto white rice, topped with spinach and oysters, was flavourful but very spicy for me. The smoked oysters were the star of the dish, which was the highlight of the meal for me. The pulled pork burger had a nice smoky flavour, but without enough sauce it was quite dry, although the homemade bread was soft and fresh. The daily special dishes didn’t live up to the rave reviews and I found the small portions pricey.
The evening looked up when we came to desert: the cinnamon buns were soft and pleasantly doughy with sweet icing that had real cinnamon flavour to it. I enjoyed both cold, but when I heated the leftovers later, things got even better. The higher temperature softened the chocolate and buttercream drizzle on the Nanaimo bar bun, and enhanced all the flavours.
Cinnamon Joes Coffee Window has irregular hours, opening for lunch Wednesday through Saturday. On weekends they cater to the bar crowds until 3 am. I wasn’t a fan of the entrees, but appreciated the great service. And for coffee and cinnamon buns, Cinnamon Joes does a fine job.