Category Archives: breakfast

Breakfast at the Eagle Cafe, Pier 39

Despite a rather close proximity to the city, I hardly ever venture up to San Francisco. This weekend however afforded me with the time, opportunity, and motivation to to go the city. My sister was at a geographer’s conference near the Fishermen’s Wharf and I decided I would go up to have breakfast with her.

We walked around the area, which is the most tourist driven part of the city in a city that is a tourist magnet, trying to find a place that did not look like it belonged in Disneyland. Unfortunately, this was a mission impossible and we ended up at the Eagle Cafe on Pier 39, which is like main street at Disneyland, but instead of the nauseating smells of cotton candy and fried food, it smells of fish guts and horse manure.

The restaurant is on the second floor of one of the first buildings. It claims to be historic. I’m not sure how historic it is, but many of the buildings in San Francisco are. Perhaps some of the seats have great views of the bay, ours did not.

I ordered the Crab Cake Eggs Benedict, something I would not normally order, but this was a special event: my sister was “in town” and it was part of my birthday weekend. Denise ordered the Griddled Banana Pancakes topped with pecans and brown sugar.

The crab cakes were piping hot, crunchy on the outside, and smooth on the inside with excellent seasoning and a uniform texture. I hate crab cakes that are dry or have crunchy raw onion bits in them. These were neither of those things. The eggs had the largest yolks I have ever seen and our waitress even asked how hard I wanted them. They were perfectly cooked. I could not have asked for a better poached egg. The consistency of the hollandaise was spot on, not too thin and not too thick. The English muffins were huge, but were the correct size to support the crab cake and poached egg. In addition, there were home fries, which were good, and watermelon with a couple slices of orange. There was some strange fried spaghetti garnish that really had no place on the plate, but otherwise it was a wonderful meal.

Denise enjoyed her pancakes and said that they had a hint of orange that helped cut through the fattiness of the bananas.

In all it was a very good trip to San Francisco. I got to see my sister for the first time in months, the weather was great, and the ride to the city was beautiful and short. I took highway 1 up from Santa Cruz through Half Moon Bay, barely hitting any traffic on the way up. On the way back, I encountered a traffic jam in HMB, doubling the amount of time it took me to get to San Francisco.

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Silver Spur Restaurant Review

The Silver Spur is essentially across the street from our house in Santa Cruz. It is a quaint looking place with a Western decor reminiscent of my grandparent’s living room, minus the shag carpeting. Andrew and I heard good things about it from a couple of locals who have lived in the area for over twenty years, plus the line out the door every Saturday is another good sign.

Breakfast seems to be a battle ground in Santa Cruz, restaurants fighting for a place as the best restaurant. There are few restaurants that serve dinner in town that can hold a candle to the cuisine served at breakfast, according to most of the locals anyway. I have found that most of the breakfast restaurants in town are incredibly overrated: Walnut Cafe, Zachary’s Restaurant, Hoffman’s Bakery, and Cafe Brazil being the most notable examples. They each have something that I enjoy, but overall I have never been wowed. There is only one place in town that I believe serves a perfect breakfast: Kelly’s Bakery. Kelly’s Bakery is the only restaurant, and I mean the only restaurant, I have ever been to that serves satisfactory poached eggs. Every other restaurant serves them with at least a quarter cup of water still in the cup with them. The perfect breakfast at Kelly’s Bakery is two perfectly poached eggs nestled atop toasted slices of Francese bread baked in house with smoked salmon and sliced avocado. Amazing.

Silver Spur is on the same level with Zachary’s Restaurant for me. It is better than Walnut Cafe and Hoffman’s Bakery, while not as good as Kelly’s Bakery. I ordered a Two Egg Combo with poached eggs, two biscuits, home fries, and three chicken apple sausages with limitless coffee. Andrew ordered three slices of French toast, two scrambled eggs (well done, sigh), and bacon with Early Grey tea. The coffee was good and there were limitless free refills. The eggs were still in too much water. Really is it too much to ask for that they drain their eggs before serving them to you? The home fries could have been crispier, but they were tender and there were no bell peppers, which makes me incredibly happy. The sausage was generic, but tasty. The biscuits were the standout for me. They were light, fluffy, and tangy served with apricot preserves. Andrew enjoyed his French toast, eggs, and bacon.

Overall, I would go back to the Silver Spur and I would also try them for lunch some time. Their service was good (a rarity among breakfast restaurants in Santa Cruz) and their facilities were clean.

Breakfast at Rick’s Cafe

Last night I told Andrew that I wanted to go out for breakfast this morning. Since there was the tsunami watch in Santa Cruz and all the damage done to the harbor there, we decided not to go to Santa Cruz which is where we usually go if we want to have breakfast. Instead we went back to a place in Los Altos that we had been to once before: Rick’s Cafe. Rick’s Cafe is a good sized breakfast and lunch deal in the snazzy, up-scale mini-downtown of Los Altos, California. For those unfamiliar to the area, Los Altos is tucked between Mountain View and the 280. It’s a fairly wealthy area so its restaurants are fairly expensive.

Rick’s Cafe is no exception to that.  A breakfast there costs thirty dollars without the tip included. Their service is nothing amazing, in fact its incredibly average. The food comes out fast because they have a huge kitchen staff, but their wait staff seems to think it’s appropriate for people to wait fifteen to twenty minutes to get their bill after their dishes have been cleared. This has happened both times that we’ve gone there, once on a weekday morning and once a weekend morning. At least we didn’t have to wait too long for our food, which is of course the most important thing anyway.

There are a lot of choices at Rick’s Cafe. First they have about ten different kinds of pancakes that you can order. I’ve never ordered the pancakes there because I’m not really interested in pancakes and they don’t come with anything on the side. They also have crepes, skillets, cheese melters, basic breakfasts (bagels with meat and eggs), french toast, scrambles, and breakfast specials, such as huevos rancheros and egg’s benedict. The last time I went there I got the Lox Benedict which was delicious.

This time around I was not able to resist the hollandaise and got the Midshipman’s Crepe. The Midshipman’s Crepe consists of real lump crab meat, chives, jack cheese, avocado, and hollandaise sauce. I ordered mine without the cheese because seafood and cheese to me is an abomination of both cheese and seafood. The two just don’t mix for me. The crepe was tender, the crab meat very fresh tasting, and the hollandaise was creamy, piquant, and a bit spicy from the cayenne. This came with a toasted, buttered bagel and breakfast potatoes, which were a cross between hash browns and home fries. I was able to finish my crepe, bagel, and two cups of coffee, but only got through about a third of the potatoes before I gave up.

Andrew ordered the mountaineer’s skillet without cheese. He got annoyed when they served him a bagel already buttered, but they were very nice about it and immediately got him a non-buttered bagel. He seemed to enjoy his food enough after that.

 

Ex-Girlfriends…Black Jettas…and Brunch?

If you’re not familiar with the weirdness that is Ima Robot, then Ex-Girlfriends, Black Jettas will not make much sense to you, but I can try to explain. It is a song that is simply about a man driving around Hollywood and running it all his ex-girlfriends who all strangely drive black Jettas.

I drive a black Jetta. And today I had brunch with an ex-boyfriend.

Okay, I just wanted a clever title for a post on a mediocre brunch.

Hey, I had that same dishware growing up.

Today my friend and I went to Jeffrey’s Diner in Santa Cruz for brunch. Jeffrey’s is a place on Soquel Avenue in mid-towrn Santa Cruz. It caters mostly to old people and it serves decent pancakes, which I learned this morning. It lacks the tastiness that Zachary’s has and the ambiance of cheap, drunk black outs of the Santa Cruz Diner, but it had good pancakes. I don’t generally like pancakes, but these were delicate, tender, and fluffy.

The rest was okay. The bacon could have been crispier and goddamnit, why can’t any restaurant drain their poached eggs all the way. I do not want my egg yolk getting mixed with lukewarm water. I just don’t. I will never be satisfied on this front.

 

Shirred Eggs

 

The first ever food challenge is EGGS! I chose eggs because they are versatile and cheap. They also appeal to vegetarians and meat eaters. They are a superfood, a near complete protein with plenty of vitamins and nutrients. They can be incredibly easy in the form of hard boiled or scrambled, or some of the most complex intimidating dishes people encounter: souffles and quiches.

My entry is the shirred or baked egg. This is a yummy, easy dish to make that is very versatile. It can use up leftovers and makes for a quick weekend breakfast; it may be a little on the slow side for weekday breakfasts.

In my version I buttered the small baking dish then cut a slice of sourdough to fit in the dish. I cracked two eggs into the dish then put green salsa on top. Finally I sprinkled “Mexican Mix” cheese on top. these baked in the oven for about twelve minutes at 375 degrees. I would have liked them a little more cooked and I think I should have toasted the bread first because it got slightly soggy. Otherwise it was really tasty!

Failure Waffles

Today I woke up wanting to make Andrew waffles. He was very excited about this and the prospect of bacon with them. We usually eat bagels or cereal for breakfast so waffles are a treat. It had been a very long time since I made waffles. In fact, I think the last time I made waffles was with the waffle iron Katie and I won at the boardwalk with our tickets. Those waffles were amazing because of the effort we put in winning those tickets, but these waffles. Well, they were failure waffles.

They turned out flavorless and I think I undercooked them because they were chewy and a little too moist. I was hoping for waffles with an inside like air and a crispy outer part. This was not that kind of waffle. I managed to eat through one and Andrew ate through two, but insisted that I throw the rest away.

I don’t think these were nearly as bad as the time I tried to make pancakes a couple months ago. Those were horrendous and inedible. Thankfully those were just for Andrew’s Halloween costume. Mark Bittman, you failed me at breakfast again.

Saffron Omelet

A couple of months ago I splurged on some saffron. I think I’ve used it once or twice and forgot about it in my spice cabinet. I’ve been afraid to use it since saffron is incredibly expensive. The other night I was hungry, it was late, and I was slightly inebriated so I decided to make an omelet. Have I also mentioned that I’m really poor and don’t buy meat? Eggs are cheap, simple, and quick. I’ve recently figured out the key to making delicious omelets: lots of margarine or butter and a non-stick pan.

This was two eggs beaten with salt, pepper, and a pinch of saffron threads. I heated up about two tablespoons of margarine (this was more than enough, I had to pour some out of the pan when I was finished) and then added my eggs. I was able to slide my omelet right out of the pan and onto my plate this time. Amazing!