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Sep 5, 2005 03:56 AM

Blueberry Pancakes @ First Awakenings, Salinas

  • m

We dropped Mom off at the dentist, then Dad and I marked time by going out for breakfast downtown. We tried First Awakenings. The cool thing is that my father remembered this site as an old bar in the neighborhood he grew up in, The Brass Rail, and we could admire the wood paneling, brass fixtures, and period glass that had been preserved.

The menu said that pancakes were made from scratch, not from mix, so that helped me decide. You can order one, two, or a full order of three. They were very fluffy and pretty light, but still filling, and I wish I'd ordered just one. The blueberries were real. The cup of blueberry sauce was overkill. Though not maple, the other pancake syrup was a better choice. I'd get pancakes here agin. I also had fresh red grapefruit juice.

Dad has an english muffin and coffee (a whole carafe). Preserves were foil packs of Smuckers, but he said it was fine.

Our server was cheerful and accommodating. This was a good start to the day.


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  1. Like pancakes? have you been to the Wagon Wheel (think that's the name-- a cowboyish place)in Valley Pines center in lower Carmel Valley? Their banana/pecan p'cakes are very good. Love the ambiance at that place. I've had good lunches there too. tuna melt, m-m-m-m-m!

    1 Reply
    1. re: toodie jane
      Melanie Wong

      Gosh, I haven't been to the Wagon Wheel Coffee Shop since grad school, which was a loooong time ago. (g) I remember waiting outside on the weekend, and it was worth it. Glad to hear it's still going strong.

      Wagon Wheel Coffee Shop
      (831) 624-8878
      7156 Carmel Valley Rd
      Carmel, CA 93923


    2. Great Post, Thanks. I love Blueberry Pancakes. I miss a place that was up in Davis (with a second location near Pismo?) that had a plate that looked alot like your pic. They are gone but now I have First Awakenings to stop at on my next trip North from L.A. Hope to go soon.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Like-Go-Eat?

        The original First Awakenings is in Pacific Grove in the American Tin Cannery outlet mall on Oceanview, not too far from the Monterey Bay Aquarium. They still make the same big blueberry pancakes, and although I haven't been there in years, I remember they were good. Another choice for you, if you're in that area.

        1. re: Lauren J.

          Thanks, I will be taking my granddaughter for the butterflies in October. I always stopped at Victorian Corner Restaurant for breakfast when I was in the area. Now I have two places to go. I found First Awakenings on the web and see they also make a fritatta. I will try that as well.

          First Awakenings (Blue Berry Pancakes from scratch, Sonoran fritatta)
          125 Ocean View Blvd Ste 105
          Pacific Grove, CA 93950-3061
          (831) 372-1125

          Victorian Corner Restaurant (Breakfast, a 5 min drive from the Monterey aquarium)
          541 Lighthouse Avenue
          Pacific Grove, CA 93950
          (831) 372-4641

          1. re: Like-Go-Eat?

            I saw a segment on First Awakenings on Rachael Ray's $40 A Day, done back before she was blonde. :) I think they said their special dish was something called an egg crepe or something like that? They made a crepe and put eggs and omelette fillings in it. Looked bizarre. I want to try the restaurant out now that I've read this post. Looks like the toddler gets a trip to the aquarium. :)

      2. I was in Salinas yesterday on a business trip and had a chance to have breakfast at First Awakenings. I had the "Bananagerm pancakes" and they were excellent!

        1 Reply
        1. re: harken banks

          My old thread come back to life! Just wanted to mention that the Saturday farmers market in Old Town is across the street from First Awakenings to make it an even more rewarding destination.

        2. First Awakenings in Pacific Grove used to be First Watch. There is also a branch in San Mateo. They're only open for breakfast and lunch. The dish referred to below (crepe w/omelette fillings) was my favorite, crepe eggs. Haven't been there in a while, I guess it's time for a revisit.

          1. Recently I was back at First Awakenings for breakfast with my mom. Nothing's changed --- same friendly service, made-from-scratch cooking, good value --- so I thought I'd just add to my old post.

            Looks kinda like chicken fried steak, no? This is a calamari steak and eggs with some very good home fries and English muffin, $8.59, for Mom. The breading was tasty, but applied too thickly for the squid. Still, this was a lot of good food for not that much money. She was a bit aghast that the bottomless carafe of coffee was charged at $2.19 on our bill, so she drank three cups.

            For me, the Belgian waffle, $5.99. This was a bit blonde and underdone. Next time I'll ask for it browner and crisper. But this waffled did have very good flavor and was made with fresh batter, not frozen. It's accompanied with whipped butter, powder sugar, and warm syrup.

            First Awakenings
            171 Main St, Salinas, CA 93901

            First Awakenings
            125 Ocean View Blvd, Pacific Grove, CA 93950

            2 Replies
            1. re: Melanie Wong

              That Calimari is the next best thing to a real Pork tenderloin sandwich in Iowa.
              I enjoyed it on my last visit and suggested that they use panko for the breading.

              1. re: Bruce in SLO

                Monterey Bay calamari is our local thing. The mountain of home fries underneath were really good with bits of red onion, crusty and waxy texture, and well-seasoned. I usually prefer hash browns, but these were alright. This plate was enough for two meals for my mother.