2 breakfast reports - Scotts Valley
Over the past holiday weekend we tried 2 places in Scotts Valley for a late breakfast, Heavenly Cafe on Mt Hermon Road (almost in the outskirts) and Scotts Valley Diner on Scotts Valley Drive near the Hwy 17 offramp.
Heavenly Cafe came out scoring heads & shoulders higher. The menu has a lot of interesing omelettes and other breakfast specials, and many vegetarian, lowfat, or other alternative-diet friendly choices. You can even sub tofu for eggs if you want. The inside is charming in a country cabin sort of way, or like some place you would find on a backroad in northern CA. Or you can sit outside in the patio below the hill, under some large trees or patio umbrellas.
I had the Bene-cado ($9.95), an eggs benedict with avocado instead of Canadian bacon. I was asked how I wanted my eggs poached. Wow, I get to be picky? I asked for yolks still runny, and got exactly that without runny whites. There was a lot of avocado under the eggs, and a good amount of sauce (I like it on the saucy side). It came with a fruit bowl with non-bland fruit that included a few slices of strawberry.
I had a tiny taste hubby's scramble with sliced sausage, mushrooms spinach & cheese ($7.95), and a good taste of his home fries - chunky, very flavorful (good salt&peppering), with bits of red & green peppers, and some well-browned pieces.
Service was really nice and prompt with the coffee refills (note: you have a choice of french roast or some unique roast advertised on their menu that I can't remember). We sat inside; I can't vouch for service on the patio since it looks so far away.
Scotts Valley Diner was really just blah. But not bad. Nothing too interesting on the menu, except for the Red White & Blue pancakes on the specials board (cherries, blueberries & whipped cream). But I can't have cream and wasn't sure the cherries weren't canned. So I went with something basic, the cholesterol laden 2 eggs, 2 bacon & 2 slices ham (about $7). It was under the lowcarb section (they also have a lowfat section). I asked for eggs poached still runny, and got half runny half solid. Atleast the bacon was a little crunchy.
Hubby's Loaded Omelette was not visually overloaded, but had a good amount of stuff inside (though cheese was only sprinkled on top). Hashbrowns are well browned & crispy on both sides.
Service was well-meaning but sparse. I saw 2 servers and a busser always walking around & always doing things, but they just never seemed to walk by us much. Coffee was weak. Atmosphere is a standard diner with semi open kitchen. Oh and I think they used to be a Dennys since their credit card slip still says Dennys.
We'll probably be returning to Heavenly Cafe. I'm sorry I didn't pay attention to their lunch & dinner menu, so guess we'll have to be back. We'll also try to visit Auntie Mame's at some point.
I'm a Mame's fan. (guess that makes me a Mameiac?) Mame's is consistantly good. Great service too. I look forward to your opinion of Mame's. My only gripe about Mame's is that the coffee is not all that great. But the eggs, home fries, biscuits and gravy, omelets, hamburgers, chicken sandwiches are all very good. And if you ask for your bacon crisp, it is perfectly crisp and not limp when it arrives. And again, friendly and wonderful staff. They remember you and know what you want to order most of the time.
Thanks for the report, Alice! I love that you are on the Santa Cruz beat now! I'm glad that Heavenly Cafe proved worthwhile. Was the sauce for the benedict a true hollandaise and was it executed well overall?
I notice that sign for SV Diner everytime we return home on the 17 and have wondered about it. I can stop wondering...
Look forward to your report on Auntie Mame's, as well as other places along your path of discovery.
I'm not picky about my hollandaise, and not good enough to know whether it came out of a package or made from scratch. So I can't tell if it's a true hollandaise. It was not gloppy and didn't taste overly of egg yolk, but there was a nice balance of egg, butter and acid (not sure from lemon or vinegar).
Rocky, thanks for the notes on Mame's. I'll be sure to ask for crispy bacon when we go!
Continuing our round up of all the breakfast places in SV, we went to Mollie's Country Cafe yesterday, and to Auntie Mame's the prior weekend.
Auntie Mame's food was okay to pretty good, but the service was more business-like (orders taken silently, coffee refilled silently, food served & bill plopped down with the food). When we finished we couldn't see the register from where we sat so we tried to ask our server if we pay her or at the register, and she gave us a mumbled answer in passing. We eventually found the register on the way to the restroom.
I had eggs benedict to compare to Heavenly Cafe, and now thanks to Carb Lover I paid attention to the Hollandaise, and it seemed like out of a mix. It was bright orange-ish yellow instead of lemon yellow, and on the gloppy side. The yolks were the requested runny so that was good. I did get to request tomatoes instead of home fries, and tasted a bit of hubby's home fries but I've forgotten now what they were like. My FIL's hash in his hash & eggs were deemed tasty and not out of the can. I can't remember what hubby had.
The atmosphere is nicer inside than it looks from the street. It was a little busy but never filled up while we were there (around 9 - 10:30). Prices were around $2 less than Heavenly Cafe, and the coffee like Rocky said not that great (but not bad; the SV Diner's coffee was bad, like old sour coffee).
Mollie's Country Cafe has a $11 AYCE breakfast buffet with hot trays of standard breakfast eggs & meats, and a separate table with big slices of fresh fruit and a variety of puddings. Not too appealing to us but probably great for kids (I can't remember the kids discount). I was going to order the eggs benedict but was kindly informed that they use a cheese sauce instead of a hollandaise. So I got the veggie scramble with avocado, spinach and mushrooms (around $7.50), and tomatoes instead of home fries. The tomatoes were very anemic (the core of a couple slices were even slightly green), but the scramble was really good, with big chunks of avocado and generally more veggies than egg. I tasted hubby's home fries and they had nice crispiness on some chunks. No bell peppers, just a few bits of green onions. Hubby liked his eggg scramble with ground beef, onion & spinach (can't remember what it's called on the menu) but I thought it was an odd combo of ingredients. Coffee was not sour-tasting but seemed like the weakest coffee I've ever had. Service was friendly, and food brought out fairly quickly. The decor is kind of weird; dark red carpeting throughout, wooden paneled booths, and on the walls are a mish-mash combination of photos of old baseball greats, african-looking wooden carvings, brightly painted kid-themed wooden fruit, and framed oil landscape paintings.
We also had gone back to Heavenly Cafe the prior weekend, and had an enjoyable meal (I got the crab cakes eggs benedict this time, it was good but there seemed to be less sauce this time). Heavenly Cafe is clearly our favorite, the food being a bit better than Autie M's and Mollie's, but the coffee being much much better. Heavenly Cafe is a couple dollars more than any of the others, but they are part of the Rewards Dining so you get 10% off if you sign up your credit card with Rewards Dining.
re: Alice Patis
Nice job! Thanks for the round up and summary. I've heard from a SV local that she likes Heavenly the best and thinks that Mame's has gone downhill over the past few years. Hollandaise from a mix is just not right, but doesn't surprise me at a diner setting. Of course, I still have to try their biscuits and gravy...
If you are still seeking eggs benedict after all this, you might want to try the one at Hoffman's in downtown SC. I've never been, but that's the first place I'd go to if the craving hits. http://www.hoffmansbakery.com/
There are also some beloved breakfast places in SC area should you need to expand your repertoire...Linda's Seabreeze, Silver Spur, Zachary's. Alas, I've never been b/c I prefer a big breakfast for dinner and many places are closed by then!
I just wanted to give a short update saying our 3rd visit to Heavenly Cafe was not as stellar as the first 2. While service was still just as good (even though we sat way in the back room), the food didn't seem to have that final touch of care. The potatoes didn't have any brownness (didn't seem fried) and the coffee wasn't as good (oh but maybe that's because we forgot to specify french roast).
I had the Craig's Scramble (egg whites, turkey, avocado, and I think spinach) and it had a good amount of turkey & veggies but was kind of bland (bacon instead of turkey would be much better), and didn't seem worth the $9.95.
Oops, I hit Post My Reply too soon. Edited to add my update of Auntie Mame's:
Our 2nd visit to Auntie Em's (as we like to call it) was better than the first. Service was still kind of absent, but we didn't mind that. I had something like the veggie scramble ($7.95). Now I can't remember what was all in it but it was chock full of veggies. What I really like is the bottle of hot pepper sauce on the table, named something like Santa Barbara sauce (not the sauce with the mexican name also on the table). It was slightly smoky with great chile flavor without being a really spicy sauce. And if you ask for your home fries (potato chunks) crispy, they'll pack your potatoes down on the griddle & fry until one side is completely golden brown deliciously crispy-crunchy!
Also, we were confused by the lack of tax on our bill. Since my SIL ended up taking the check to the cashier to pay and we forgot to ask if they include tax at the cashier, we're not sure, but the prices might include tax already. Which would make Auntie Em's a really good deal.
re: Alice Patis
'And if you ask for your home fries (potato chunks) crispy, they'll pack your potatoes down on the griddle & fry until one side is completely golden brown deliciously crispy-crunchy!'
That sentence alone has spurred me to REALLY want to go to Mame's now...thanks for your updates.
Alice, I am so glad you gave Mame's a second try. It's definitely on my short list of good breakfast places here in SC County, along with Linda's over on Seabright. (for some reason the Silver Spur just doesn't do it for me)
You know, in all the times (and there have been many) that I have eaten at Mame's, I have never paid at the counter, I always pay at my table. I agree with you about the price, it's definitely a good deal to eat at Mame's. I love their home fries (crispy!) and their biscuits and gravy too. Now if they could just get some better coffee in there...