Archive for the ‘breakfast’ Tag

Stuck in Breakfast Gridlock   1 comment


When the hostess at the Silver Creek Diner in Lone Tree told us that once we were seated we’d still have at least another 25-minute wait for our food, I laughed and asked if she wanted us to leave. She laughed, too, and assured me that wasn’t her intent. We’d already been waiting 10 minutes for a table. We decided to hope for the best. Wrong call.

Given that we had waited so long from the time we walked in the door to when the food arrived, it’s hard to know if we were simply so famished that anything would have tasted good. It wasn’t that Silver Creek was particularly busy, but the way orders were coming out of the kitchen it seemed as if all the cooking was done by one person with his/her hand tied behind his/her back.

Breakfast is standard; lots of egg possibilities and pancakes.  The latter aren’t the “ridiculously large ones that some places serve” we were told. The Blueberry Pancake Plate featured two eggs, hash browns, choice of breakfast meats (bacon, sausage or ham) and two cakes full of fresh blueberries. It was a lot of food.
Silver Mix
The Hash Brown Mix blended crispy and creamy shredded potatoes with diced red and green peppers, onions, eggs and choice of bacon or sausage. Two size options are available, and even the smaller of the two is a substantial amount of food.

In truth, it all tasted fine, but I can’t say the time spent waiting for it was justified.

Silver Creek Diner
Three Plates
7824 Park Meadows Dr.
Lone Tree, Colo



Happy Morning Faces   Leave a comment


As I stood in line reading the menu boards, I couldn’t help asking myself why I’d never visited Smiley’s Bakery and Café before. While enjoying my breakfast, that question re-surfaced. In the past few weeks several friends have mentioned Smiley’s; up ’til then it wasn’t on my radar. I understand why some may have been keeping it a secret but am grateful I know about it now.

Although the menu features traditional breakfast fare such pancakes, eggs, French toast, and freshly-baked goods, it doesn’t stop there. Specials include Shrimp and Sausage Grits, Buttermilk Biscuits with Gravy, and Crawfish and Andoulle Sausage Etoufee. Even the standard items get special attention. Consider Spinach Walnut Pesto with Scrambled Eggs or the Cajun Crabcake Omelette, which evoked effusive – and loud – praise from the man at the next table.


Several items caught my eye, but I couldn’t resist the Sweet Potato Pancakes. I ordered a single because most plate-size cakes are more than I can eat in one sitting. Smiley’s pancake was certainly filling, and I would have been sorely tempted to eat more thanks to the flavor depth of the sweet potato with its whisper of nutmeg. A side of bacon created the right balance of sweet with savory. The homefries on my husband’s plate were inconsistently cooked: some crunchy with no soft middle and some perfectly executed. His was otherwise satisfied with his meal of eggs and sausage.


While I have no excuse for the past, I plan on returning to Smiley’s to make up for missed meals.

Smiley’s Bakery and Café
Four+ Plates
323 N. Tejon St.
Colorado Springs, CO

Good Times for Breakfast   2 comments


A friend, who is only slightly younger than me, remembered going to Bon Ton’s Café when she was a child with her grandmother. Although it wasn’t my recollection, I smiled at the idea of a restaurant and its food evoking a fond memory. Bon Ton’s, on the corner of Colorado Avenue and 26th Street in Old Colorado City, has been serving food for years (and years), and plating up some memories in the process.

Bon Ton’s is like a favorite sweater. It’s comfortable, dependable and, if frayed around the edges, familiar. Of course, it helps that the food is consistent. It’s only open for breakfast and lunch, so the menu, printed like a newspaper, features all the offerings. For breakfast, standard egg dishes, pancakes, French toast and several Southwestern items, identified by the presence of green chile, are available. Traditional lunch fare includes burgers and sandwiches.


I’ve enjoyed the Vegetable Scrambler in the past as much for the fresh vegies cooked with scrambled eggs as for the crunchy hash browns also on the plate. I was tempted by the thought of the hash browns  — a yin and yang of crispy and creamy shredded potatoes, — but I really wanted a pancake. My friend offered to give me her spuds because she said she wouldn’t be able to eat everything she ordered. She was in the holiday spirit.

My plate-size, golden pancake with maple syrup was exactly what I wanted, as were the hash browns. They’re the stuff of memories.

Bon Ton’s Café
Four Plates
2601 W. Colorado Ave.
Colorado Springs

Once in a Blue Moose   1 comment


The Blue Moose in Breckenridge has several issues: lengthy waits, cash only, and limited hours. The best advice is to forget about those things. Instead, focus on the food and friendly staff, which, fortunately, is easy. Mud season may be the only time it’s possible to walk in and sit down without a wait. Even then, it’s iffy since the restaurant appeals to locals just as much as, or more than, skiers and summer tourists.


Recently, we braced ourselves for a long wait and made sure we had plenty of cash in our wallets. We got a table soon after arriving and didn’t have to spend everything we had. The appeal is fresh food, and lots of it, almost too much. The Spuds and Vegies is one of my favorites. Sautéed broccoli, onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, green peppers and spinach served over country potatoes. Eggs and cheese on top are optional. The meal is like eating a carb-building garden.


Several types of omelets and the usual parade of pancakes and French toast comprise the menu. Several items include names familiar to the central mountains, such as the Minturn Loop. It’s nothing more than choice of eggs, bacon or sausage, potatoes and toast. On the other hand, the English has everything to do with what’s served. It features plate-size pancakes, eggs and several meats: bacon, banger and ham. In case that’s not enough, toast and potatoes are included, as is a fresh tomato relish.

If you eat outside, nothing beats the mountain view — they’re worth the wait.

The Blue Moose
Four Plates
540 S. Main St.
Breckenridge, CO

Breakfast Highs and Lows   2 comments


Mountain Shadows is a misnomer: the restaurant isn’t in the mountains but shadows might be right; it is mostly a bright spot for breakfast, does feature a bit of the dark side.

The bungalow-style diner has a steady clientele of regulars, as evidenced by the servers’ exchange of quick wit with them. Even for us new to the establishment, the staff was ready with a smile, acknowledgement, compliment, and coffee.


Mostly, it’s basic fare. My husband and son ordered eggs, bacon, and pancakes. They were quite pleased. I was in the mood for something with a little kick, so I selected the Chile Relleno. It’s topped with green chile and an egg; I skipped the latter. Creamy/crunchy hash browns and flour tortillas filled out the plate.


I was impressed with the fried thick-battered coating on the poblano chile, and even more taken with the pork-infused green sauce that had been poured over the top. It took a few bites before I reached the cheese-filled center, and that’s when the honeymoon ended. Processed cheese is such a disappointment, and that’s exactly what was hidden in the depths of the relleno. I would order the green chile again, but not that dish – at least not there. Shredded cheddar was sprinkled on top of, but it never occurred to me to ask what the relleno was filled with. The fake gooey stuff took me by surprise, but I guess I should be prepared for it to appear on a plate from time to time.

Mountain Shadows
Three Plates
2223 W. Colorado Ave.
Colorado Springs, CO

A Dive By Any Other Name   Leave a comment

Having an open mind and an empty belly are important when dining. I admit I struggled with the former when my family wanted to have breakfast at The Dive. They loved it; I was less enamored. I couldn’t tell how much of my reaction had to do with the name or if I let some minor problems overshadow the meal.

When five of us order and only three get our food at the same time, I take issue. And, toast should be toasted, not simply dry bread. That was the downside – mostly.


I confess that, once it arrived, I enjoyed my vegetarian omelet. The onions, green peppers and mushrooms had been sautéed before being added to the eggs. Along with fresh tomatoes, this extra step made for a very flavorful dish. My husband and two of our sons ordered traditional scrambled eggs and bacon – along with the marginally toasted bread. They were pleased with the plentiful serving sizes.


The Dive is open 24 hours and serves breakfast and burgers all day/all night. With this in mind, my youngest son opted for a burger. His nod to the time of day was to have it topped with an egg. His French fries were better than my too-crispy, somewhat oily hash browns.


For most of the meal the only other female in the joint besides me was the server. Maybe men don’t care what a place is called as long as the food is good. Maybe I should try to follow their lead.

The Dive
Three Plates
3040 W. Pikes Peak Ave
Colorado Springs, CO

Cafe Classics   1 comment

We aren’t planning any trips to Albuquerque anytime soon, but when we do we’ll make sure to include a stop at a Flying Star Café. There are eight in the Duke City area, plus one in Santa Fe. It’s similar to Panera Bread, but with a far more ambitious menu. Dinner and breakfast are served all day, which means the lunch options are plentiful.

A recent road trip resulted in our introduction to the Flying Star. Orders are placed at the counter, but the fare is delivered to the table. The emphasis is on comfort food that can be prepared quickly without sinking to a fast food template.


I chose the smaller portion of the Buddha Bowl (appropriately called the Baby Buddha). Featuring stir-fried vegetables in a lemongrass-ginger sauce served over brown rice. The ginger adds a nice zing to the medley, and the fried wontons provide texture.


The Macaroni and Cheese has apparently developed a cult-like following among diners trying to discern the types of cheese included in this classic dish. A few years ago, it was the recipient of an area newspaper’s Best Mac and Cheese Award. Curly pasta is coated in a very rich, very creamy cheese sauce. It’s decadent. One of the most elevated, and least expensive, menu items is the $5.99 Grilled Cheese Sandwich: gobs of melted cheddar on toasted sourdough bread.


The café was bustling, but the food provided a nice respite from the basic off-the-highway-for-a-quick-bite meal we’ve settled for in the past.

Flying Star Café

Three-and-a-half Plates
8000 Paseo Del Norte
Albuquerque, N.M.

Morning Meals   1 comment


Four of the six people having breakfast together at Adams Mountain Café wanted the Planet Burger, a blend of brown rice, roasted nuts, onions and cheese. The only problem was that it’s on the lunch menu. Although we pleaded with our server to ask the kitchen to make this possible, she politely, but unfortunately, recited those all-too-familiar words: “If we make an exception for you, we have to make an exception for everyone.”

Only somewhat reluctantly, we ordered traditional breakfast entrees. Of course, at Adams this is not a problem and our collective disappointment was short-lived. Adams is popular for many reasons. It appeals to runners, hikers, shoppers and friends wanting a comfortable place to eat where the food is reliably fresh and good. It’s not uncommon to wait for a table – especially during breakfast service. It’s worth the time.

yes chef-1

I ordered the omelet special which, on this particular day, was filled with sliced fresh tomatoes, mushrooms, fresh basil, mozzarella and sprinkled with truffle oil. The licorice flavor of the basil mingled well with the decadent truffle oil. Omelets at Adams are made with three farm-fresh eggs and are light, without being full of air. In fact, the menu describes them as being “French style.”

Other fare includes plate-size pancakes, French toast, homemade cinnamon rolls, a variety of egg dishes and oatmeal. Most meals come with fresh fruit or slices of sunflower whole grain toast. Until, the Planet Burger is served before 11 a.m., it’s easy to “settle” for something else.

Adams Mountain Café

Four Plates
934 Manitou Ave.
Manitou Springs, Colo.

Serving Meals Not Time   Leave a comment

Father Greg Boyle is a rock star in Los Angeles. His status is a reflection of his strong faith; it’s not based on short-lived trends or fickle fashion. He’s revered for his efforts – actions which give more than lip service – to helping former gang members contribute positively to society. He started  Homeboy Industries whose slogan is “Jobs Not Jails,”  in 1988. Homeboy offers a range of services from tattoo removal to education, from counseling to career placement, and boasts several social enterprises, including the Homegirl Café, that put people to work.

The Café is run primarily by women with former gang affiliations or who have lived in dangerous domestic violence situations. The Café, as with the other enterprises, gives people a chance to learn conventional social skills while becoming economically independent.

In LA it’s possible everyone who ventures into the Café knows the story. Although it’s a good one, the fresh, enticing food is the real reason to stop by. Sure, it’s a great cause, but this is far from a charity case. All the women work hard, know the food and serve it with pride. It helps that much of the 100 percent organic produce is grown in Homeboy mini-farms.

Most of the menu items have a Latino flair. Chilaquiles combine fresh corn tortilla chips covered in a green salsa that relies more on flavor than fire. It’s topped with crema fresca and crumbly cotija cheese, and red onions. They’re breakfast super nachos, a great way to jump start the morning. There are a few alternatives to the mostly-spicey entrees, including Blueberry Multi-grain and Quinoa Pancakes. These taste as healthy as they sound, but the refreshing burst of blueberries in almost every bite makes them seem decadent.

Homegirl Café
Four Plates
130 W. Bruno St.
Los Angeles, CA
Breakfast and lunch served Monday through Saturday

Long Live the King   2 comments

I ordered a quarter portion of The Thing and still couldn’t finish everything on the
plate. Don’t worry, the name isn’t reflective of the unknown. It’s one of several over-
abundant menu items at King’s Chef Diner. The Thing is constructed on a base of
Texas Toast, which I pretty much ignored, covered in a mound of the yin and yang
creamy/crunchy hash browns. Scrambled eggs, bacon, green chile and cheese com-
plete the hodgepodge. The quarter portion did an impressive job of concealing the
dish, but I knew it was there somewhere.

It’s important to know a few things about King’s Chef Diner. First, the green chili:
if this doesn’t make your eyes water like you’re watching a Hallmark card commercial,
nothing will. Of course, the chili is far edgier than it is sentimental. If the servers sus-
pect you are ordering the green chili for the first time, they’ll suggest getting it on the
side rather than having it doused over your breakfast. Be forewarned. It’s also import-
ant to know that most of the entrees, from the Breakfast Burrito to The Grump, a var-
iation of The Thing but smothered in gravy, are Extra Extra Large in size. Some half
and quarter options are available, but even those test the limits of the common appetite.

If by chance everything on the plate is consumed, servers come by to acknowledge your
admittance to The Clean Plate Club. It earns a sticker boasting of the accomplishment,
although a bulging belly does the same thing.

Four Plates
King’s Chef Diner
131 E. Bijou St.
Colorado Springs, CO
Cash Only
Open “7 a.m. to 4 p.m.-ish Everyday”