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Cock-a-Doodle Cafe, Oakland CA

There was nothing in the fridge or cabinets this morning for a decent brunch since we slept and, because we just moved in, we hadn’t done grocery shopping yet.  Zach found Cock-a-Doodle Cafe online looking for “best breakfast oakland,” and we can see why diners would feel that way.  Latin/American fusion for breakfast, brunch, and lunch, with an impressive selection of fanciful coffees and cocktails, this establishment merits a few visits.

house strawberry lemonade

house strawberry lemonade

Despite having seeds, Zach wanted to try the lemonade – made in house, organic, and very refreshing.  It was strong in strawberry flavor with lemon as a medium background, not too sweet but not too sour.  There was some pulp, and the garnishes were cute.

fried poach egg benedict

fried poach egg benedict

His entree isn’t on the online menu, but off the in house menu he ordered this version of Eggs Benedict.  Poached eggs with smoked pork loin, tomato, avocado, and lemon caper sauce were deliciously layered on English muffin.  The egg whites were tender while the yolk was still rich and creamy, all over breaded with a crispy cornmeal crust.  The smoky pork loin was also tender, and lean.  Sweet tomato and creamy avocado were both fresh, and the rich Hollandaise was tangy thanks to the capers.  With a choice of house griddle potatoes or organic greens, and being in a breakfast mood more so than lunch, Zach chose the potatoes; they were crispy and very savory with onion, garlic, and the right amount of salt.

mexican hot chocolate

mexican hot chocolate

August’s Mexican hot chocolate took a bit longer to make than Zach’s strawberry lemonade, so this big bowl barely had room on the table, competing with the other items taking up space.  It was very mild and an easy way for someone new to Mexican hot chocolate to ease into the “spices,” because  for this it was cinnamon that stood out the most.  It was very easy to sip, but you almost don’t want to disturb it because it’s so pretty.

old oakland omelette

old oakland omelette

The egg in August’s omelette was fluffy with no skin, nor was it overcooked (causing the egg to brown).  It looks simple, but inside it hides thick-cut pancetta, chipotle aioli, green onions, tomato, and cheddar.  The cheese is creamy, balancing out the flavorful but not-too-spicy aioli.  The green onions were on the inside, not on the outside like she had anticipated, so they were slightly cooked and therefore not too strong.  She enjoyed the same potatoes that Zach did, but she wished there was more omelette for a few more bites of delight.

half-order of graham cracker-crusted french toast

half-order of graham cracker-crusted french toast

Zach found out a little too late that the french toast has poppy seeds, but we both thought it was fantastic.  It had a little more texture than your typical french toast with a thin, crisp, and crunchy graham cracker layer.  Light, airy, and somewhat pillowy in the center, the thick-cut bread was slightly sweet so we used very little syrup.  For the price and size, being a half-order, this is a great deal and a unique find.

Raul, our server, was attentive and understanding.  We found this place on a whim, but with perfect timing, we didn’t realize we were going to be right next to the Old Oakland Farmers Market where Zach found inspiration for dinner.  Even further, August overheard the lady at the table next to us mention to Raul that her family used to own the very building we were eating in.  What an introduction to living in Oakland!

Sweet Maple, San Francisco CA

Home of the famous millionaire’s bacon, Sweet Maple is a breakfast and lunch joint you can’t pass up.  Everyone knows that, though, so make reservations when possible, show up early, or be prepared to wait for a table – and it’s worth it.  Nearly everything is fresh, local, and house-made, such as the millionaire’s bacon that requires four hours to cook!

snowed spinach scramble

snowed spinach scramble with herb roasted potato medley and ciabatta au levain toast

August’s stepmother selected the scramble of spinach and white cheddar.  August tried a bite, and can attest to the great texture of the egg and the slightest bit of give in the spinach.  Everyone had their own portion of the potato medley, and we all loved it.  The bold variety of cuts cuts was crispy yet tender in the center, perfectly salted, and accented by a great selection of herbs.

athenian omelette

athenian omelette (+ potatoes + toast)

August went towards the leafy greens as well, with a mushroom, arugula, and mild goat cheese omelette.  This was a delicious and perfectly cooked remix of her typical order; mushrooms are obligatory, but when restaurants don’t have goat cheese she’ll get Swiss, and spinach is the common green.  She likes stronger cheeses, but the mild goat cheese in this was a good level, or else any stronger would have overpowered the vegetables.  Toast isn’t that important to her, but she liked the style of ciabatta and the fact that it was very lightly toasted.

kimchi benedict

kimchi benedict (+ potatoes)

We all oohed and aahed when August’s dad’s kimchi benedict was brought out.  It began with a base of Thomas’ English muffin, then tofu, sauteed kimchi, poached eggs, chipotle hollandaise, and green onion.  He loves the spicier things in life, so this was just the thing for him.

marnier french toast

marnier french toast

Zach was the token sweet tooth at the table today.  He chose the inch-thick pain de mie french toast soaked in Grand Marnier batter, sprinkled with cinnamon and powdered sugar, and served with house-made maple butter and pure maple syrup.  A crispy outside and fluffy tender center was the ideal mouth feel – not soggy, not dry, not overcooked, and not raw.  The mild orange flavor wasn’t overly sweet, and pure maple is always a treat.  Zach added two strips of millionaire’s bacon.  Sweet, smoky, mildly spicy, and fairly lean for being thick cut, the great flavor lives up to its name.  This is a rich bacon, you betcha.  The over-medium eggs he got extra were cooked as per requested, and he got the potatoes extra too since he wanted to try a different kind of breakfast potato he hadn’t before.  He was so inspired, after the Chocolate Salon, he bought the same mix of purple, red, and yellow from the Fort Mason Farmers Market.

Wow.  If breakfast is your favorite meal of the day, this may well become one of your favorite restaurants.

Chorizo and Eggs Benedict

chorizo benedict 007

Breakfast or brunch, this twist on a classic has a Southwestern flair.  Chef Zach swapped out Canadian bacon for pork chorizo, and added a few other things that makes this zing.

Makes 3

10 eggs

3 English muffins, toasted

1 pack of Cacique pork chorizo

1 cup salted butter

2 roma tomatoes

1 avocado

1/6 of one white onion

1/2 of one jalapeño pepper, roasted

2-3 tbs. milk, depending on desired thickness of avocado cream

2 tbs. lemon juice

2 tbs. sour cream

1 tbs. chopped cilantro

1 tbs. lime juice

1 tbs. water, and enough for a pot of water to boil

1 tbs. white wine vinegar

1/2 tsp. Kosher salt, plus some to taste

• For the avocado cream:

Cut avocado in half, remove the seed, and scoop out into a bowl.  Smash with a fork, add sour cream, and mix with a whisk.  Add milk to desired thickness, salt to taste, and keep cool until time for garnishing.

• For the pico de gallo:

Roast jalapeño over a stove top.  As soon as the skin starts to blacken and crack, put in a Ziploc bag; the steaming action helps remove the skin.  Cut tomatoes into manageable pieces, remove and discard the pulp and seeds, dice the tomatoes, and put in a bowl.  Finely chop cilantro and onion, and add to bowl with the tomatoes.  Remove skin from jalapeño, then mince the pepper and add to bowl.  Add 1/2 tsp. salt and lime juice, stir, and keep cool until time for garnishing.

• For the chorizo:

Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.  Divide the meat into six portions and form patties.  Cook in a large saute pan over medium-high heat until thoroughly cooked and both sides are browned.  Set patties aside on a cookie sheet with a paper towel to soak up excess grease, then transfer to oven to keep warm.

• For the Hollandaise:

Put about 3″ water in a medium-sized boiling pot, and get it boiling.  Melt butter in a microwave and set aside.  Separate egg yolks from the egg whites, and put egg yolks in a metal or glass bowl.  Add lemon juice and 1 tbs. water to the egg yolks.  Put this bowl over the lightly boiling pot so that the water and steam are the heat source.  Whisk constantly at this point.  Add melted butter to the mixture a tablespoon at a time, and keep whisking until fully incorporated.  If the sauce gets too thick, add a teaspoon or so of hot water.

• For the eggs:

Fill a tall-sided saute pan with 3″-4″ water and the tbs. of vinegar, and bring to a light boil.  Break eggs one at a time into a tiny bowl, and do your best not to break the yolk.  Holding the bowl close to the surface of the water, slide the egg into the water.  Let sit in the lightly boiling water until egg white is fully set and yolk only slightly begins to thicken; this will take about 3-5 minutes, and do not stir at all during the process.  Remove eggs from a slotted spoon, draining water completely and trim any rough edges.

Serve immediately layered as such:

Toasted English muffin halves–chorizo patties–eggs–Hollandaise–avocado cream–pico de gallo