Tag Archives: eggs

Delicious and Healthy Breakfast: Walnut Avenue Cafe, Santa Cruz

17 Jul

Kicking off our road trip from San Jose down to San Diego, California, hubby and I were in search of a hearty but healthy start to our day. We found it at the Walnut Avenue Cafe in Santa Cruz.

My veggie scramble was fantastic. I hate it when scrambled eggs are too buttery, this was not it. And it came with a fruit cup and rye toast. The scramble may look simple, but it was so perfectly prepared.

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Hubby ordered a build-your-own omelette, stuffed with chorizo, onions, bell peppers, and avocado. 

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Check out all that avocado inside!! And, the side of potatoes were some of the best breakfast potatoes I’ve tried. Again, simple, but perfectly prepared.

We shared a plain, fluffy waffle too. Yum! What a perfect breakfast. I only wish I had ordered a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice. The large glasses looked amazing at the other tables.

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The Final Word: A solid breakfast/brunch here, with simple ingredients done well. I would definitely come back!

Info: Walnut Avenue Cafe, 106 Walnut Ave., Santa Cruz, CA 95060 USA

Walnut Avenue Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Battle of the Brunches, Part II: Bongo Room

22 Aug

Last week, I kicked off the Battle of the Brunches in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood, and showed off the good eats at Big Jones. This week: does Bongo Room have what it takes to beat Big Jones?

Right when we entered the restaurant, the Bongo Room impressed me with its bright space and modern look. The Andersonville location is the second Bongo Room restaurant in the city, and it’s quite new. There’s a nice patio out back too, though we chose to sit indoors (as my pasty and pale husband worried he’d burn to a crisp).

We kicked off our meal with coffee (okay) and a cappuccino – which unfortunately, was rather bitter, and came in a pretty small cup – sorry, a mug with the trendy “crinkle” look can’t make up for this.  I even had to add some sugar to the drink, which I never do with my cappuccinos! Okay, so we were off to a slow start in this battle…IMG_20150613_124646901

I had the chorizo potato and avocado omelet – it was very yummy (how can you go wrong with chorizo and avocado?), and served with a side of yet more potatoes – something different could have upped this dish, especially since the potatoes were rather bland on their own. IMG_20150613_125700660

Hubby had the beef tenderloin and cremini mushroom Benedict. The generous portion of beef was very nicely cooked, and the eggs were perfectly poached. However, the side of potatoes was like mine – looked good but tasted bland.IMG_20150613_125648629

I was initially excited to try Bongo Room because of the photos of creative and over-the-top pancakes and French toast plates I had seen online. So Hubby and I finished our meal with an order of chocolate French toast. We asked for the French toast to come later, after our savory dishes. I was only halfway through my omelet when the French toast arrived (sigh).

Slices of chocolatey bread were sliced thick (yay!), but there was only a hint of egg batter on each slice (boo). It was as if we were simply eating warm slices of chocolate bread. The dish was very filling, as the toast was surrounded by a ridiculously large amount of thick maple cream. At least you won’t go home hungry…

French toast

We had barely begun digging into the French toast when the check came. “Whenever you’re ready,” quipped the waitress. Did she open her eyes? We still had a giant plate of unfinished food in front of us. No, we were not ready!

Overall, Bongo Room’s food looked much better than it tasted – while the presentation was great, most things were underseasoned. Service was so-so and rushed at times. Bongo Room, you seriously need to up your game.

So, you’ve probably caught on already, that the Bongo Room has lost this Andersonville Battle of the Brunches. With good-looking but average-tasting food, and below-average service, our experience at the Bongo Room felt overpriced. There will be no return trip to this joint!

Info: Bongo Room, 5022 N. Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60640 USA

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Battle of the Brunches, Part I: Big Jones, Chicago

16 Aug

Andersonville is home to so many great restaurants offering weekend brunch. Where to begin? My husband and I tried two different places, on two consecutive weekends. This is Big Jones versus Bongo Room, head to head! Let’s check out Big Jones first.

Our meal kicked off with some complimentary beignets. They were okay – just fried dough really, a bit bready. The powdered sugar helped make them tastier.

Beignets

Complimentary beignets

Hubby ordered the Bayou Teche, a very flavourful  omelette with meaty crawfish, cream cheese, and andouille sausage. Both our entrees came with a choice of grits or hashed potatoes (which we picked, they were crispy just how we like them.)

Bayou Teche

Bayou Teche

 

I ordered the Eggs New Orleans – Crab cakes stuffed in a popover (reminded me of Yorkshire pudding), topped with perfectly poached eggs and Hollandaise sauce. This was honestly the best interpretation of a crab cake benny I’ve ever had.

Eggs New Orleans

Eggs New Orleans

We both liked our entrees so much, we came back a second time and ordered the exact same thing!

Big Jones has a good selection of loose-leaf teas, served in a beautiful glass pot:

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Bloody Mary Jones

Hubby got the Bloody Mary Jones. On a separate visit, I tried the Morning Dove brunch cocktail – the fresh grapefruit juice pulled me in. It was okay, but nothing spectacular. The Intelligensia coffee however, is spectacular, so I’ll stick to coffee in the future.

We shared the buckwheat banana pancakes at the end of our meal. We asked our server to make sure the pancakes arrived after our savory plates were done, and he happily obliged. The pancakes were fluffy and delish, served with crunchy pecans and caramel sauce.

Buckwheat banana pancakes

Buckwheat banana pancakes

Everything about this meal was fantastic – the food, the atmosphere and the service. I would recommend making reservations however – on our second visit, we were treated like second-class patrons since we had not made a reservation. What was supposed to be a 10 minute wait for a table turned into a 35 minute wait, and left a bitter taste in my mouth. Maybe this is an opening for another restaurant to  stake claim as Andersonville’s top brunch spot?…

Info: Big Jones, 5347 N. Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60640 USA

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Brunch in Asheville: Tupelo Honey

18 Apr

At the center of downtown Asheville, North Carolina, is a great place for brunch – Tupelo Honey. There’s a nice enclosed patio area, but it was intensely heated, so we chose to eat inside.

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My husband built his own omelette – stuffed with roasted red peppers, asparagus, caramelized onions, and goat cheese.Tupelo Honey - omelette

This plate-sized sweet potato pancake with pecans is a signature dish. Definitely large enough to share!

Tupelo Honey - Signature Sweet Potato Pancake

I was a bit disappointed that the egg white frittata was no longer on the menu, so I ordered the Eggs Betty instead: two medium poached eggs on a buttermilk biscuit.  I really liked that Tupelo Honey let me choose asparagus instead of ham on the side, and sliced tomatoes instead of hash.

Tupelo Honey - Eggs Betty

The Final Word: Tupelo Honey serves up a solid breakfast with Southern flair.

Info: Tupelo Honey Cafe, 12 College Street Asheville, NC, 28801 USA,  and several other locations

Tupelo Honey Cafe on Urbanspoon

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