Jan. 9 2012 06:31 PM

Hillcrest farm-to-table breakfast spot offers many reasons to return

Snooze turns its eggs benedict into an art form.
Photo by Amy T. Granite

Who, shortly after rising, is willing to wait an hour or more before eating their first meal of the day? A fearsome morningzilla, I avoid lines at all costs—so let's just say my hunger threshold was under the influence of something called “pancake flight.”

So, there I was, amid droves of people lined up at Snooze, undoubtedly the most buzzed-about breakfast and brunch spot since November, when the Colorado-based biz brought its innovative, farm-to-table riffs on diner classics out west.

Eventually, my guest and I entered the super-diner. Besides the obvious effects of a full house, it was easy to see why hungry folks weren't just willing to wait for their breakfasts, but were slow to leave, too. The space—with its juxtaposition of retro-diner-inspired décor and lofty urban dining room, skylights spanning its entirety—seemed, through and through, a comfy place to plant your cheeks. Next time, I'll opt for one of the whimsical tea-cup booths that run down the restaurant's center. Mad Hatter brunch party, anyone?  

We plopped down at a table and were greeted by a server whose joviality eased my low-blood-sugar funk. She was so freakin' nice, and shared drink choices with such enthusiasm, that we didn't mind waiting—too long, actually—for our adult beverages to arrive. Coffee was prompt, and also a bit burnt.

Like fussy tots in need of our bottles, once our drinks arrived, our bellyaching subsided. At first swig, the Bugs Bloody ($6), with carrot-infused vodka, went down juicy, clean and naturally sweet. My companion's Brewmosa ($5)—described on the menu as a Belgian beer with orange juice—was just OK. The most expensive drink is $7.

More and more restaurants are adopting the build-your-own-meal menu concept—big points to Snooze on this front. We did just that with an order of eggs “benedict”—under the menu heading “The Art of Hollandaise.” And, indeed, The Upstream ($10.50), with its rich cream-cheese sauce topping a perfect poacher, honey-smoked salmon and jalapeno spoon bread, evoked naughty thoughts of finger-painting with the stuff. Our other choice, The Ham III, featured lovely piggy pieces and a smoked-cheddar hollandaise, but the “signature” English muffin it sat on didn't seem toasted.

I'll return if just for the breakfast “pot pie” ($8.50)—a buttery, flaky, perfect puff pastry cradling down-home-tasting sausage gravy, a mix of vegetables and sunny-side-up egg. Most egg options come with a tall side of hash browns, formed into a cylinder. Our neighbors weren't fond of theirs, and while I like mine crunchy, too, I did enjoy breaking past the crusty exterior to soft, shredded potatoes that still had bite.

The anticipated pancake flight ($9) was a letdown. One of our choices was undercooked, the other over-sauced, but the fantastical sweet-potato pancake with caramel and a compound ginger butter nearly made up for it. There was a slip with our sausage order, too, but our wonderful server made it up to us with a round of drinks—and thank God, because, otherwise, I wouldn't have tried the Orange Snoozius (usually $7). Think nostalgic creamsicle with a buzz.  

My first take on Snooze is that it's anything but a transplant chain restaurant; big ups to the Boulder crew for adopting local goods from businesses like Mission Brewery, Bread & Cie and The Wheel in Encinitas. Sure there were hiccups, but all was forgiven, thanks to stellar service and some damn tasty attributes. Prices are reasonable, there are gluten-free options and it's less crowded from noon 'til closing on weekdays—otherwise, plan on feeding the meter while feeding your face. 

Amy T. Granite is filling in while Jenny Montgomery's on maternity leave. Write to amyg@sdcitybeat.com
and editor@sdcitybeat.com.


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