SAN CARLOS BREAKFAST AND DIM SUM RECS
I'll weigh in on breakfasts. Note that my bias runs to eggs/omelets, not pancakes/waffles. Unless otherwise noted, these are all old-school, no frills places: In San Carlos, Vic's on San Carlos Avenue. If you're a fan of a traditional English breakfast, there's the English Rose on Laurel -- a little fussy (think chintz tea cozies, lots of pics of the royals, etc.), but nice people and good food. Great fresh-out-of-the-oven scones and fabulous lemon curd.
In Redwood City, lots of people love Stack's, but it's not worth fighting the crowds as far as I'm concerned. My favorite place is a little hole-in-the-wall on Broadway called Talk of Broadway. Not earth shattering, but good, solid omelets, hash browns, etc. (or my personal favorite, the tofu/veggie scramble/stir fry). Just down the street is the Courthouse Cafe. For a more refined atmosphere, Alana's Cafe in the historic Dielmann House (Main @ Middlefield, around the corner from the RWC Library) is an option, although I haven't eaten there since its prior incarnation. I think there's a hefty wait on weekends.
IMO, one of the best mid-Peninsula breakfast places is Nini's in San Mateo, a block or two north of Peninsula Avenue and just west of 101.
My favorite mom-and-pop breakfast spot in San Carlos is called The Pantry and it's on El Camino Ave. Come to think of it, it's right near the San Mateo-San Carlos border so it may technically be in San Mateo. They have traditional breakfast foods (pancakes, eggs, bacon, etc.) but also serve traditional Filipino breakfast foods (my fave is the longanisa with rice and scrambled eggs). Cheap eats and great, friendly service!
I second mspea's recommendation of Vic's. They have a wonderful corned beef hash and on weekends they serve biscuits! I also agree that unless you go pretty early or rather late, Stacks in RWC is not worth the wait.
Another favorite breakfast place is Broiler Express on Laurel. Its a diner serving a mish-mash of cuisines and daily specials, including breakfast all day. Their $3.99 breakfast special - 2 eggs, 2 pancakes, 2 pieces of bacon or sausage (before 11 am) is a great value.
If you go at the non-peak hours to Stacks,
the blue germ pancakes are really quite good!
(blueberry pancakes w/just enough wheat germ in them...and I'm not even a wheat germ gal...that it makes them slightly crunchy, but not so rich like if there were nuts in them) Even at peak, if there are only 2 of you...generally the longest wait is 15 min. We use that time to stroll through the nearby Wellesley Circle Park. (very close-by)
Hubby loves the Lumberjack pancakes they have which are sometimes referred to as "everything but the kitchen sink" ;-) Bananas, walnuts, raisins, blueberries AND wheat germ! :-)
And there are also coconut/macademia nut pancakes but I believe those get pretty darn rich!
In RWC, recently tried Talk of Broadway after noting solid numbers there while walking by (w/out being overcrowded). Simple but pretty well-done & VERY speedy! Like their traditional home fries...they also offer hash browns for people preferring those.
Recently had an assertive feta/olive omelet. And, also tried their banana/walnut pancakes but asked for whole grain batter (instead of buttermilk).
Seem willing to substitute and alter things quite readily. Nice to sit outdoors under shade trees. Indoors is VERY plain. (but outdoors pretty nice)
Lastly, Alana's in RWC at what used to be the Old Redwood City Spice Company is in a *very* lovely house & garden setting. A great spot to bring moms to breakfast or have a gathering outdoors. (have seen little ones in the garden) It's right next door to Art Gallery, which is behind RWC Library.
They also have a place on Burlingame Ave.
Are esp. known for their scones & oatmeal pancakes w/lingonberries! Enjoy. :-)