Reviews of Breakfast and Brunch Restaurants

Tony’s Cafe Crystal Lake Illinois

Good Morning Breakfast Gators!

This is my second trip to Tony’s.

I had just got done eating and was packing up to leave after trip one and the owner John came over and struck up a conversation with me. He told me that he bought the restaurant from Tony and was going to revamp the menu in the next couple of weeks. Crap. Oh well I figured that there was little use to write my review until I make a return trip. John told me that he would email me when the change was made.

Several months later the email arrived so trip 2 is on!

When I pulled up at 6:20 the sign was lit, then right before they opened it went off for some reason.

It’s a stand alone location just off of Randall Road.

Tony's Cafe Crystal Lake Exterior

Tony’s Cafe Crystal Lake
Exterior

Just inside the door is a small waiting area with a Library. Cute  10 

Tony's Cafe Waiting Area Library

Tony’s Cafe
Waiting Area Library

It’s a large restaurant. You could fit Trinket AND Fat Hen inside. (Reviews Here)

Tony's Cafe Crystal Lake

Tony’s Cafe Crystal Lake Interior

Tony's Cafe Crystal Lake Interior

Tony’s Cafe Crystal Lake
Interior

Carpet. You know how I feel about Carpet…  

Music.  Contemporary Coffeehouse… 

OK Down to bidniss.  Coffee.   7   No Splenda. I was surprised.

First up

Stuffed Potato Pancake

Tony's Cafe Crystal Lake Stuffed Potato Pancake

Tony’s Cafe Crystal Lake
Stuffed Potato Pancake

Unfortunately Tony’s doesn’t have an online menu so I don’t have something to cut and paste like I normally do.

Egg could have been cooked longer. As usual most places do not know how to cook a sunny egg. Sunny eggs should have 2 colors. White and Yellow. They should not be clear.   5   Gravy is good. slightly spicy not floury not overly salty could use a bit more sausage.  7/8  Bacon  8   On top of the Potato Pancake is your run of the mill thin burger style sausage patty.  7  Speaking of Potato Pancake, They are Deep fried Discs of Deliciousness  8   This is a good dish. It’s something that I’ve not had before. an overall  8

Next up a Pasta Frittata.

This had a fancy name but I forgot what it is.

Tony's Cafe Crystal Lake Pasta Frittata

Tony’s Cafe Crystal Lake
Pasta Frittata

They don’t serve many of these. I ordered it because I almost always order stuff that I don’t see on everybody else’s menu. As most of you know I usually don’t review stuff that I don’t care for. I feel the need to mention this though. Courage to serve it.  9    Really Bland  5  

Tony's Cafe Crystal Lake Frittata Interior

Tony’s Cafe Crystal Lake
Frittata Interior

 

And Finally Crepes with Fruit and an Ice Cream Side Car

Tony's Cafe Crystal Lake Fruit Crepes

Tony’s Cafe Crystal Lake
Fruit Crepes

Tony's Cafe Crystal Lake Fruit Crepes

Tony’s Cafe Crystal Lake
Fruit Crepes

Tony's Crystal Lake Fruit Crepes

Tony’s Crystal Lake
Fruit Crepes

Crepe is Good Crispy Eggy  8  The Strawberries were like the kind in Strawberry Pie Filling. You know, the ones covered in red Strawberry flavored Goo  6  Real whipped cream, Pecans, and the Vanilla Ice Cream Side Car. An overall  8

That wraps up Tony’s. A good second visit.

 

OK Breakfast Gators I’m of to my next Adventure!

 

BreakfastGator_Color_Logo_1R

Franks Diner Kenosha Wisconsin

Franks Diner WEBSITE

Good Morning Gators!

What can I say about Franks? This was an unusual visit. This place is a real Dive. It was featured on Food Networks DDD. I didn’t know that until I saw Guy’s Mug on the wall. Oh and it was also a record drive. Hour and a half.

Franks Diner Guy's Mugg

Franks Diner
Guy’s Mugg

We arrived about 1/2 an hour after opening and Franks was a flurry of activity. There are abandoned buildings all around. The lot and street around the place was full. I guessed that all this excitement was about Franks. As it turned out, it WAS. Franks. Looks like it was a train car that was converted to a Diner.

Franks Diner Exterior

Franks Diner Exterior

Franks Diner Exterior

Franks Diner
Exterior

Franks Diner Exterior Sign

Franks Diner
Exterior Sign

I opened the door. There was a creepy entrance hallway complete with a plastic pumpkin.

Franks Diner Creepy entryway

Franks Diner
Creepy entryway

At the top of the stairs is a sliding door. I slid open the door and there it was. OMG. I briefly thought that I should just turn around and go but the fact that the place was packed gave me impression that it must be OK or they wouldn’t be slammed. I noticed that the place was a sausage fest. I think I saw one woman besides the 2 that were employees. Why? I don’t know. Maybe the ambiance? Maybe the menu? I’m not sure.

I also noticed a row of bobbleheads near the ceiling.

Franks Diner Bobbleheads

Franks Diner Bobbleheads

 

Franks Diner front counter

Franks Diner front counter

 

There was a single table available in the very back. you had to go through a door near the center, hang a right, squeeze past a half dozen booths, go through another door in the back. There was about 6 Dudes at a the “other” table back there. I took the photo of this room after they left.

Franks Diner Back Room

Franks Diner
Back Room

There were Dinosaurs Back there.

Franks Diner Dinosaurs

Franks Diner
Dinosaurs

The place was filled with memorabilia similar to the stuff you would see in a Portillos. 6  Classic Rock playing in the background  10

I made a decision to try to make this a record short visit. They had no time for my silliness.

The menu was in the condiment rack and were well worn, Frank was not spending money on anything that wasn’t vital to the operation including the menus.

Franks Diner WELL worn menus

Franks Diner
WELL worn menus

Franks Diner Menu

Franks Diner
Menu

Coffee was ordered. Sugar ONLY  6

The Garbage Plate was the featured Item so this is first up.

Check the link for full description but this mess was 3 eggs house made corned beef and american cheese.

Franks Diner Garbage Plate

Franks Diner
Garbage Plate

As you know I am not a fan of restaurant scrambled eggs. They are never good. They are always cooked too fast so the protein strands seize up and are too rubbery. This Garbage was a decent.  7

There was a food delivery made during the meal. It was through the rear door. The delivery guy came in twice, left the door open twice and wheeled his hand truck right through the room twice.

Next up Chili Omelette.

A round disc overcooked eggs topped with house made chili. In spite of the fact that the egg was overcooked the chili made up for it. It was really dark and had a strong Chili Powder flavor.  7

Franks Diner Chili Omelette

Franks Diner
Chili Omelette

 

Franks Diner Chili Omelette

Franks Diner
Chili Omelette

This came with Toasted House Made Bread that had a butter lump and Hash Browns  7  Butter Lump 4

Franks Diner Hash Browns and Toast with a lump of Butter

Franks Diner
Hash Browns and Toast with a lump of Butter

Franks Diner Toast and Lump of Butter

Franks Diner
Toast and Lump of Butter

Last but definitely not least.House Made Pancakes with syrup cups.

Franks Diner Pancakes and Syrup Cups

Franks Diner
Pancakes and Syrup Cups

The Pancakes were the highlight. Yeasty Buttery and delicious.  8 It’s a shame that they are downgraded by the crappy Syrup. Rant- Why would you take the effort to make your pancakes from scratch then serve them with High Fructose Corn Syrup Cups. -End Rant

So the wrap up is that this was quite the dining experience. Although I probably wouldn’t take the trip back  it was worth it. If you are near Kenosha You need to go.

OK that’s it. I’m off to my next adventure!BreakfastGator_Color_Logo_1R

Portland Oregon Brunch Capital of the Nation

Portland Sign

Portland Sign

Good Morning Gators!

This is the post from my breakfast trip to Portland Oregon and side trip to Seattle Washington with my best friend Lisa. The trip entailed several delicious breakfasts and some sight seeing. It was a GREAT trip. The reviews are not going to be long winded, rambling, and rant filled like you have have come to know and love. This is going to be more of a compilation blog so enjoy it while you can. I am back now so I will be back to my normal whiney self in future reviews.

ENJOY!

 

Our first stop was not really breakfast. we went to arguably the donut hotspot of the world VOODOO Donuts

Voodoo Donut Exterior

Voodoo Donut Exterior

Voodoo Donut Exterior

Voodoo Donut Exterior

Voodoo Donut Interior

Voodoo Donut
Interior

Voodoo Donut Even the restrooms are Voodoo'd up

Voodoo Donut
Even the restrooms are Voodoo’d up

Voodoo Donut Customer eating Donuts outside at Midnight

Voodoo Donut
Customer eating Donuts outside at Midnight

Voodoo wins for sheer Decor but Lisa and I agree that Blue Star had far superior Donuts…

Blue Star Way better Donuts than Voodoo

Blue Star
Way better Donuts than Voodoo

 

First up Trinket

I don’t know if they intended the name of the place describe the size of the place but it does. It was a tiny little place. It’s a good thing that I got there early. You should too If you want a seat.

 

Trinket Exterior

Trinket Exterior

Trinket Only one picture was required to shoot the interior of the place

Trinket
Only one picture was required to shoot the interior of the place

 

There is about 7 tables in the place and non fat friendly chairs with arms.

Trinket My enemy. Chairs with arms.

Trinket
My enemy. Armed and Dangerous

Coffee  8 no Splenda. They are afraid to kill you.

There wasn’t any sweet grilled items on the menu that day. WHAT? a Breakfast Gator first. The few things that they DID have were baked goods. I ordered a pastry called Fyrstecake. It was sweet and nutty (Like me)

Trinket Fyrstecake

Trinket
Fyrstecake

Menu choices were very limited. Not surprised. I bet the kitchen is the size of a studio apartment kitchen.

One of the specialties of the house is Duck Egg Benedict. That is what I ordered.

Trinket Duck Egg Benedict

Trinket
Duck Egg Benedict

Served on a cute delicate plate with a SWITCHBLADE.

Trinket Switchblade

Trinket
Switchblade

Egg Perfect  10  Hollandaise was good. Eggy but a tad too citrusy  8 The house made Hash Browns were tasty but could have been cooked a bit more.  8  The meat part was non standard canadian bacon. It was more like country ham.  8   Overall this dish was an  8 This was a great way to start my breakfast adventure.

Next:   Babica Hen Cafe

Babica Hen Website

Babica Hen Coaster

Babica Hen Coaster

We arrived about 20 minutes before opening and the lot was empty. We sat in the Rented Breakfastmobile and chatted till they opened.

Babica Hen Exterior Stand alone building

Babica Hen Exterior
Stand alone building

Babica Hen Exterior

Babica Hen Exterior

 

We wandered inside…

Lisa was greeted and seated while I snapped a few interior shots.

Babica Hen Interior

Babica Hen Interior

Babica Hen Interior

Babica Hen Interior

Babica Hen Interior

Babica Hen Interior

With Dean Martin,  Frank Sinatra, and Nora Jones playing in the background,  9 we ordered.

Coffee  9  And yes they had Splenda

Lisa ordered a plain Waffle. Yes a PLAIN Waffle. To be fair she wasn’t feeling well. No Picture. It was a plain waffle. Use your imagination.  As it turned out It was one of the breakfast highlights of the trip. It was delicious! to quote Lisa “This is the best waffle that I’ve ever had”! I agree. I have no idea what the magic was but it really was the best waffle that I have ever had as well. 10

I ordered a Shredded Smoked Pork Benedict

Babica Hen Cafe Shredded Smoked Pork Benedict

Babica Hen Cafe
Shredded Smoked Pork Benedict

Babica Hen Cafe Shredded Smoked Pork Benedict

Babica Hen Cafe
Shredded Smoked Pork Benedict

The Egg was a tad overcooked but that’s ok I like them that way. The Hollandaise was good but could have used more. The potatoes were good and crunchy and dropped in the deep fryer. The little cornbread rounds were fritter like. Overall this dish was an  8

Chicken and Waffles

FRIED CHICKEN  crispy chicken breast, sweet potato mousse, coconut, rum caramel

My regular readers know that I’m not a big Chicken and Waffle fan but this was a specialty at the top of the menu. I felt compelled to order it.

Each element of the dish was an 8  except the Waffle  10  The sum total of the parts? I’m not going to rate it. I was not really crazy about it. It was better with syrup on it.

Babica Hen Chicken and Waffle

Babica Hen
Chicken and Waffle

 

Pumpkin Waffle

In your best Pee Wee Herman Voice- Mmmmm.  Pumpkiny! 8

Babica Hen Cafe Pumpkin Waffle

Babica Hen Cafe
Pumpkin Waffle

 

Petite Provence

Petite Provence WEB SITE

Unlike Trinket Petite did not describe Petite Provence. It was a medium/large place with a great bakery.

Petite Provence Portland Exterior

Petite Provence Portland
Exterior

Petite Provence Interior

Petite Provence
Interior

Petite Provence Interior

Petite Provence
Interior

Petite Provence Interior Bakery

Petite Provence
Interior
Bakery and Coffee Bar

 

A few nice design elements. Leather Menu with embossed logo and name carved into the table.

Petite Provence Embossed Menu

Petite Provence
Embossed Menu

Petite Provence Carved Table

Petite Provence
Carved Table with my shoe

I ordered Coffee  8  No Splenda. Another place that is afraid to kill you. Sweetness is provided by a bottle of Turbinado sugar.

Petite Provence Bottle of sugar

Petite Provence
Bottle of sugar

Another place that hates tubbie people. Apparently people that live in Portland are not Portly. (see what I did there)? Petite Provence Chair 2 Petite Provence Chair

The Place smelled fantastic. Bakery and Coffee Bar. 50’s Music. An odd choice for the style.  7

Breakfast included a freshly baked Croissant and house made Jam. It was Excellent. Flakey Tender Buttery  9

Petite Provence Most Excellent Croissant

Petite Provence
Most Excellent Croissant

 

Meurette Benedict  Two farm-fresh eggs poached in a burgundy reduction, placed on a freshly baked croissant then topped with caramelized onions, mushrooms and sautéed bacon. Served with our Provençal Potatoes & Butternut Squash.

NOTE the orange slice.  C’mon say it with me. 1965 called. They want their garnish back.

Petite Provence Meurette Benedict

Petite Provence
Meurette Benedict

Egg. nearly perfect.  9  Squash and Potatoes. Delicious.  8  Reduction.  8  Served on top of one of those delicious croissants. Overall  8

Portland Ketchup  Organic of course.  8

Petite Provence Portland Ketchup

Petite Provence
Portland Ketchup

 

Baked Eggs a la Française

Poached eggs nestled in a French baking crock with grilled hash browns, sautéed mushrooms and ham, topped with gruyere béchamel and Swiss cheese gratiné, served with toasted baguette slices.

Petite Provence Baked Eggs a la Française

Petite Provence
Baked Eggs a la Française

The Gruyere Bechamel was delish  8  I pushed the cheese back to expose the poached eggs. In spite of the fact that it was baked, the eggs were perfect  9 The mushroom ham bechamel mixture was good and reminded me of green bean casserole.  7  I’m sure  that the chef will love the comparison. The dish as a whole was a   7  The Baguette was crispy and buttery  8

Petite Provence Baked Eggs a la Française

Petite Provence
Baked Eggs a la Française Exposed

Petite Provence Banana French Toast

Petite Provence
Banana French Toast

Very Bananaee  8  It’s rare that restaurant french toast gets an 8 Bruleed Bananas Candied walnuts Creme Anglaise. Delicious.  Could have been soaked a little longer. They just barely avoided “The Link” Good Job

This was a good visit

 

Tasty and Sons

Tasty and Sons WEBSITE

The entrance to the place was inside of a building. Lisa went in and got a table while I took photos.

Tasty and sons Exterior in a Hallway

Tasty and sons
Exterior in a Hallway

Tasty and Sons Interior

Tasty and Sons
Interior

Tasty and Sons Interior and Lisa

Tasty and Sons
Interior and Lisa

We got a seat on “The Wall” As you know I hate it but that’s really the only choice.

We ordered drinks. Coffee for me. Diet Coke for Lisa. This was my least favorite coffee that I had this trip. Weak.  7  Lisa’s diet coke was in a cute 8oz bottle. I’ve never seen one before.

Tasty and Sons Tiny Diet Coke

Tasty and Sons
Tiny Diet Coke

Also something new, salt in a tiny server with an espresso spoon. I have often said that standard table salt should be banned from restaurants and this is the first place that agrees with me   10

Tasty and Sons Tiny salt server and espresso spoon

Tasty and Sons
Tiny salt server and espresso spoon

 

We started off with a Potato Donut. It was lite fluffy and chocolaty.  8

Tasty and Sons Potato Donut

Tasty and Sons
Potato Donut

 

I had Moroccan Chicken Hash.

Tasty and Sons Moroccan Chicken Hash

Tasty and Sons
Moroccan Chicken Hash

It doesn’t happen too often that there is something on a menu that I haven’t had before. This one one of those times. Potatoes good and crunchy  8  Chorizo creme. Very good  8  Chicken was well seasoned and the egg was perfect. A GREAT dish High 8 Low 9

Lisa had a Fried Egg and Cheddar Biscuit.  8

Tasty and Sons Fried Egg and Cheddar Biscuit

Tasty and Sons
Fried Egg and Cheddar Biscuit

Tasty and Sons Fried Egg and Cheddar Biscuit

Tasty and Sons
Fried Egg and Cheddar Biscuit

Finally Griddled Ingrid’s Rum Cake

Tasty and Sons Griddled Ingrid's Rum Cake

Tasty and Sons
Griddled Ingrid’s Rum Cake

Bacon Grilled Banana Rum Cake? Who would have thought?  8

 

 

Fat Hen Seattle

Fat Hen WEBSITE

Another Tiny Place

Fat Hen Exterior

Fat Hen Exterior

Fat Hen Exterior

Fat Hen Exterior

Fat Hen Interior

Fat Hen Interior

 

I jammed myself into this corner table by the window. No Chubbies Allowed The place was about the size of an average size Living Room

Fat Hen Teenie Tables

Fat Hen Tables

 

Coffee of course  8  They didn’t want to kill me so no Splenda. Turbinado Sugar in a Butler with a Teenie Spoon.

Fat Hen Sugar Butler

Fat Hen
Sugar Butler

 

Light Jazz Playing. It fit the atmosphere  8

 

All of the spoons in the place were TINY

Fat Hen Small Spoon

Fat Hen All the Spoons were Tiny

 

 

Chanterelle Benedict  8

Potatoes were fresh but could use a bit more seasoning. Slightly Spicy. Eggs could have used another 30 seconds

Fat Hen Chanterelle Benedict

Fat Hen Chanterelle Benedict

Fat Hen Chantarelle Benedict 1

Fat Hen Chanterelle Benedict

 

alla boscaiola
two eggs in solea tomato, pork sausage, mushroom, mozzarella.  High 7 Low 8  House Made Cherry Jam  9  The eggs could have been cooked a bit more

 

Fat Hen Baked Eggs

Fat Hen Baked Eggs

Fat Hen Baked Egg 1

Fat Hen Baked Eggs

Cute Check Holder

Cute Check Holder

 

A Tasty Experience

 

Last but Not Least

The Crumpet Shop (Seattle)

The Crumpet Shop WEBSITE

Just steps from Pikes Place Market. I expected this place to be a tourist trap place. It does business because of the proximity to the market. WRONG. It was delicious. A tiny place with big personality. Cat Stevens playing in the background  10

The Crumpet Shop Exterior

The Crumpet Shop
Exterior

The Crumpet Shop Interior

The Crumpet Shop
Interior

The Crumpet Shop Interior

The Crumpet Shop
Interior

The Crumpet Shop Crumpet Baker

The Crumpet Shop
Crumpet Baker

I was a bit confused by the ordering process and also didn’t know what to order. A very nice young woman helped me order 3 different models.

After I placed my order I chatted with the owner. He was a very nice guy and even gave me a day old Scone. Nice!  10

So a Crumpet is a cousin of an english muffin. Softer chewier flatter

PET  Pesto Tomato English Cheese

The Crumpet Shop PET Crumpet

The Crumpet Shop
PET Crumpet

PET Crumpet

PET Crumpet

A good Combo. Fresh and Tasty  High 7 low 8

 

Egg Blend.  Egg with Peppers and English Cheese plus Ham

The Crumpet Shop Egg Blend + Ham

The Crumpet Shop
Egg Blend + Ham

The Crumpet Shop Egg Blend + Ham

The Crumpet Shop
Egg Blend + Ham

A  Delicious  8

Vermont.  Maple Butter Cream Cheese Walnuts

The Crumpet Shop Vermont

The Crumpet Shop
Vermont

The Crumpet Shop Vermont

The Crumpet Shop
Vermont

Sweet Mapley Crunchy  8

A great way to kick off the side trip to Seattle If you get to Pikes Place Market You need to go there.

Well that’s it Gators. A fun and Delicious Trip.

 

Thank You Lisa! You are a great Jr. Gator

 

Here are a few Random shots from the trip Just Because…

Pot is Legal for personal use in Portland

Pot is Legal for personal use in Portland

Pikes Place TomatoesPikes Place ProducePikes Place Fresh Fish SignPikes Place FishPikes Place Eggs

Pikes Place GUM Wall

Pikes Place
GUM Wall

Pike Place SignPike Place vegetables 1

Pikes Place Cheese Making

Pikes Place
Cheese Making

Me Working Hard

Me Working Hard

 

 

OK Kids. I’m off to my next AdventureBreakfastGator_Color_Logo_1R