Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Wednesday Breakfast Blogging

Frankly I don't ask for breakfast to impress me as I'm just not up for a culinary show first thing in the morning. Heck, I'm generally barely up at all. I do want breakfast to comfort me, for it to say, "George, yes, you are awake, but things are still calm and restful and I'll please you without making you work too hard." (This is not an actual transcript from a talking breakfast, and no, as fond as I am of spirits of all sorts, I've never been too keen on brunch libations like mimosas or bloody Marys, so I'm not soused amidst the snap crackle and pop, promise.)

This is a long way to go to say there's a new breakfast spot in town and I'm fond of it after one visit. Jake's Cottage Cuisine Cafe is where Skanky Buffet used to be, 2911 De La Vina, so within easy tandem bike distance from our casa. It's nothing fancy, and that's exactly why it's pleasant. Sky blue walls, sea blue tablecloths, some inoffensive if unremarkable art on the walls. Some sidewalk tables if you want to stare up De La Vina and count the near-miss accidents going into the TJ's parking lot. Despite its slightly desperately alliterative name, it could more accurately be called Jake's Joint, back when that word meant worth and not either rundown or unhip. (OK, they do have wireless, so that's pretty hip.)

But you come to a place like this for the food, not the scenery. It's good. The problem with continuing my joint metaphor is a joint meets a greasy spoon in a darkened kitchen where few come out un-polyunsaturated. That's not the case here as it's a Santa Barbara joint, and therefore it offers food that's made from fresh produce (none of those waxy, pale tomatoes here). Just check out the salsa fresca you can get and you'll see it's so fresh you won't let it behind you as it might pinch your butt. Still, Jake's balances the high-quality ingredients mantra with a wise unfussiness--it's a bit of homemade green goddess (I'm pretty sure) that's swirled on the plate of the Mid-Western Omelet, not some foam or something you need to know French to pronounce correctly. And it makes the ripe cherry tomatoes even more yummy.

As for that omelet, my order, it achieved prime omelet consistency, fluffy without being airy, moist without any sop. While it was stuffed, it wasn't bursted (you remember actress Ellen Bursted, don't you?), with well sauteed green peppers, green onions, green chiles, tasty-tad-salty ham, grilled fresh corn (hello, summer, where you been?), Oaxaca cheese (nice touch, unusual but appropriately mild with so many other flavors to mix with) and epazote. Now, epazote doesn't seem particularly Mid-West to me, but it fits the omelet's profile and gives the same lift it gives to beans (if you don't know epazote, get some and drop even a few leaves into your next pot of beans and start writing your thank you comment now).

Amy had The Charleston, for she was a flapper in a previous life. Seriously, I assume it hails from South Carolina way as it comes with grits, but get that look off your face, these are delicious grits, rich and creamy. You also get 2 or 3 eggs your way with that--Amy's way was 2, scrambled--plus Canadian bacon she approved of so much I didn't get any.

The coffee was just fine, avoiding any of the flavors some places try to pass off. (If I want vanilla coffee I'll order affogato). The service was solid, and a guy I have to assume was Jake made the rounds to many tables and it seemed he knew many repeat customers, which should be a good sign.

There's lunch, too, but we really don't eat out that often so I can't report yet. I promise. Haven't even been to the Hungry Cat in over a week!

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Blogger Mike said...

That's a helluva omelet you had there, George.

Very well-done.

4:10 AM  
Anonymous Numfar said...

Since Scandia it's been Mike's and Steve's (two old favorites) and now Jake's. I have to wonder: what's next? Butch's? Or will it be time for a gender flip?

And one small kvetch: "Cuisine" in the name is just way too precious. Not to mention the cognitive dissonance when appended to "Jake's".

8:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Steve's Patio Cafe is still up the street. One of my favorite spots for comforting food and a great mountain view when you are having one of "those" mornings. Jakes is across from Taco Smell where Cuzcutlan used to be. Can't wait to take my Axxess card to try it!

8:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since Skanky buffet it's been a few things but Mike's and Steves' it has NOT been. Steve's is up the street in the 3000 block and is locally owned and operated. I prefer to patronize local businesses rather than the newbies.

Jake's sounds interesting, but a bit too ???? Good luck!

9:26 AM  
Anonymous kusala said...

I will miss Cuzcatlán: the family that ran it was really nice. Is there anywhere else in town to get pupusas or other Central American food? I think I may have seen a "pupusa" sign in a window somewhere on upper Milpas once, but don't recall.

10:19 AM  
Blogger George said...

It's not too ????, whatever that is, promise.

If the worse thing about the place is its name, it's in good shape.

Alas, we never got to Cuzcatlán and I'm not sure about the great SB pupusa search. Maybe some other commenter can enlighten us. That's what makes blogs fun!

10:28 AM  
Anonymous Curious Cat said...

I am one of those who also misses the pupusas. Gosh I tried my best to give and send business to Cuzcatlan. They had a delicious rum flan too.

12:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Are you sure you don't work there?? LOL!

The family that owned Cuzcutlan was really nice! The family that owns Steve's is also really nice and they are locals.

Does anyone know anything about "Jake?" The prices look a tad high, but the curb appeal is nice...

1:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I prefer to patronize local businesses rather than the newbies."

I'll bet you had trouble in school with Venn diagrams.

2:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been... and I wasn't too impressed. It was fine, but it seemed like they were trying too hard. For a straight forward breakfast or lunch in the area, I prefer the aforementioned Steve's Patio Café. (Plus they offer delivery through THE DINING CAR!)

2:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Venn diagrams-schmen diagrams..

You know what I meant.

"I prefer to patronize buisnesses owned by locals..." By locals, I mean those that grew up here.

Is that better for you?

3:29 PM  
Blogger George said...

Folks, no sniping at each other in the comments, please.

Civil tones, even if we disagree. Petty attacks and I might invoke my ability to delete comments.

3:48 PM  
Anonymous Numfar said...

Mistakes were made in my previous statement about the lineage of Jake's. I blame Monica Goodling, who had a good thing but blew it, but not like the bad Monica, who, amid the Fredos and Karls, I somehow miss.

5:25 PM  
Blogger ASparkle said...

Had breakfast there this morning, and was very disappointed in both food and service. Won't be goin' back.

10:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Never been to Jakes but I have been to Steve's and it was great. The service was good, restaurant was clean, nice atmosphere and they even had Mickey Mouse pancakes for the kido! It's a great place to go after a morning walk on the beach!

6:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I went to Jakes three times. What I like about a restaurant is consistency, which this place does not have. Each time there were problems with the service and food (slow, wrong food, cold) and each time there was at least 1 meal in our party that was excellent. I agree with "anonymous" that it seems like they are trying too hard. Just get experienced staff to do the job, forego the artistic look of the plate presentation and serve a good meal in a timely manner.

7:54 AM  

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