Santa Cruz: Walnut Avenue Cafe
Breakfast is the one meal for me that I really prefer good, solid, basic food. Don’t get me wrong – I can enjoy creative and interesting presentations or ingredients but more often than not, when perusing a breakfast menu my eyes turn to the bacon and eggs sort of dishes. Or at least some variety of meat and eggs.
On my recent trip to Santa Cruz I spent most morning having breakfast in the cottage I’d rented. There really is nothing better than sipping tea munching on a scone while watching the wave crash on the beach. Well, some mornings I was only listening to waves crash on the beach since I’m an early riser and at this time of year I tend to beat the sun up by several hours. But still being that close to the ocean and the beach is something to be savored.
One morning I did decide to venture out, however, and I made my way to Walnut Avenue Cafe, which just happens to be right across the street from Soif! They open at 8:00 am and I arrived shortly before 9:00 am. It was already packed but I was shown to one of the few remaining little booths for two. As I was being seated I also noticed a nice counter with seating in the back of the room.
The place was full of all sorts of folks: families; students reading textbooks; groups of friends. The furnishings seemed a little worn, but in a comfortable sort of way – you felt like you could relax and didn’t have to worry about ruining the furniture or sitting up too straight. A few minutes after I arrived, people were queued for seats and several opted to sit outside (it was starting to warm in the morning sun by that point) instead of waiting for an inside table. Those that waited did so with a cup of coffee in hand, served to them by the friendly wait staff.
There were many things I would have liked to try on the menu, so many of them sounded and looked (as I watched them being served around me) really good. The one thing I found disappointing, and this is true of most breakfast places it seems, is that instead of hash browns they served home fries. As I mentioned a couple posts ago I love hash browns! And even though the oven-baked version in that post is really good, they still aren’t the hash browns you can really only get from a short-order grill. So, instead of basic bacon and eggs or a scramble or omelet, I decided to order Heuvos Rancheros with Carnitas where the lack of hash browns isn’t an issue.
While waiting for my huevos I sipped a glass of freshly-squeezed orange juice, a cup of tea and a glass of water. All had their place on this morning. I didn’t wait long, though, my huevos were delivered very promptly! They were very tasty and, this might sound odd, but the black beans they used were so good they may have been my favorite part of the dish. Then again maybe it was the perfectly cooked eggs. Or the succulent carnitas. Hard to say really. It was a great dish.
My biggest regret is that I didn’t have a chance to make it back one more time before I left town. As mentioned there were lots of things on the menu I would have liked to have tried. Next time I think it might be one of their "Benedict" versions.
Walnut Avenue Cafe
106 Walnut Ave
Santa Cruz, CA