• Morgan’s Central Valley Bistro, Sheraton Grand Sacramento—Whole-Wheat Waffle
Morgan’s whole-wheat waffle has a pleasingly earthy flavor and an irresistible crunchiness. Thick and airy, the waffle arrives nice and hot, with a frothy pouf of whipped cream and a shower of fresh-sliced strawberries. Add an exuberant splash (or three) of syrup and embrace the decadence.
1230 J St., Sacramento; (916) 447-1700
• Carol’s Restaurant—Chicken-Fried Steak
Intimately linked with long-haul truckers and the American South, chicken-fried steak probably deserves more respect than it gets in our current health-conscious culture. Acquaint yourself with its humble charms at Carol’s in West Sacramento, an enduringly popular breakfast cafe that knows how to fry it just right. The steak boasts a thick crust hiding a chewy, peppery slab of beef. This hunk of goodness is slathered in Carol’s chunky gravy; make sure to wipe it up with a freshly baked biscuit.
1201 W. Capitol Ave., West Sacramento; (916) 372-4631
• Zócalo—Carnitas con Huevos
The ornate dining room of midtown’s Zócalo restaurant is a marvelous venue for an uncommon brunch. Don’t miss the popular carnitas con huevos, tender and supermoist shredded pork, redolent of garlic and citrus. Paired with the eggs of your choice, this dish is especially delicioso when tucked into a corn tortilla, doused with salsa and gobbled with mucho gusto.
1801 Capitol Ave., Sacramento; (916) 441-0303
• Roxy Restaurant and Bar—Cheddar Biscuits and Gravy
First-rate biscuits and gravy are hard to come by. But you’ll find what you are looking for at pretty Roxy, an upscale restaurant with impressive down-home cooking skills. Roxy’s version includes crumbly, flavorful buttermilk cheddar biscuits swathed in a feisty, saffron-colored ancho chili sausage gravy. Served with soft-scrambled organic eggs, this is a plate of comfort you won’t want to miss.
2381 Fair Oaks Blvd., Sacramento; (916) 489-2000; roxyrestaurantandbar.com
• Tower Cafe—Famous French Toast
Tower’s French toast is famous for a reason: Custardy and rich, this luscious (and enormous) breakfast treat has a nicely browned, crackly crust that just cries out for a heavy-handed soaking of warm maple syrup. Consider this thickly cut, silky-textured toast, topped with whipped butter, to be your sweet reward for a week of good behavior.
1518 Broadway, Sacramento; (916) 441-0222; towercafe.com
• Venita Rhea’s—Sleepy’s Benedict
You’ll find a dizzying array of eggs Benedict selections at Venita Rhea’s, Rocklin’s beloved breakfast hot spot. The most extravagant of all may be the Sleepy’s Benedict: poached eggs atop plump crab cakes, red onions and sliced tomatoes on a Health Nut English muffin. Served with a flavorful red pepper hollandaise, the Sleepy’s Benedict is aptly named—you may find yourself crawling back into bed after devouring it.
4415 Granite Drive, Rocklin; (916) 624-2697; venitarheas.com
• Ink Eats & Drinks—Huevos Rancheros
Yep, Ink is a hip, young-crowd, late-night bar, but it also plates up some of the best breakfasts in town. Tuck into Ink’s excellent huevos rancheros, one of the kitchen’s signature dishes. A thick base of hot black beans is layered with a crispy-chewy corn tortilla, housemade salsa, oodles of cheddar cheese and the eggs of your choice. This is hearty, spicy fare—even better when consumed with a Bloody Mary from Ink’s make-it-yourself brunch minibar.
2730 N St., Sacramento; (916) 456-2800; inkeats.com
• Village Bakery—Almond Croissant
Sink your teeth into Village Bakery’s flaky, spectacularly buttery croissant. Inside: a tender nugget of pure almondy-ness, a special perk after your morning’s hard work. Pair this delectable croissant with a bracing cup of very hot, very strong coffee and sink into a comfortable chair to savor a sublime—and wonderfully Parisian—beginning to your day.
814 Second St., Davis; (530) 750-2255
• Caffe Italia—Corned Beef Hash and Eggs
Powering up for a strenuous day? Help yourself to a gigantic heap of Caffe Italia’s rustic housemade corned beef hash, served with two eggs of your choice. With just the right proportion of corned beef to potatoes, this customer favorite tastes even better when piled precariously on a large piece of buttery toast. Wash it down with a big glass of orange juice and you’ll be whistling until dinner.
1121 Richards Blvd., Davis; (530) 758-7200; caffeitaliadavis.com
• Gönül’s J Street Cafe—Falafel Pita Wrap
If bacon and eggs don’t appeal, take the Mediterranean approach and dive into Gönül’s falafel pita wrap, available for brunch on weekend mornings. Not actually a wrap, the dish features a big, warm pita bread round flattened on a plate, then loaded with a moist pile of yellow rice and a sharply dressed romaine-cabbage salad. Flanking the greens are Gönül’s appealing, handmade, soft, lumpy falafels, covered with a thick cucumber-yogurt dressing. Thirsty? Try a cup of Gönül’s Turkish tea.
3839 J St., Sacramento; (916) 457-1155; jstreetcafe.com
• Katrina’s Cafe—Lemon and Yogurt Pancakes
A far cry from the bready, bland flap-jacks of your youth, Katrina’s lemon and yogurt pancakes are light, delicate and—yes—refined. Offering a scrumptious, fleeting kiss of tangy lemon, these pancakes are craftily rolled up like little blankets and sprinkled with powdered sugar. They will hook you for life.
456 Grass Valley Highway, Auburn; (530) 888-1166
• Thai Basil—Tom-Yum Soup
According to Thai Basil owner Suleka Sun-Lindley, soup is a favorite Thai breakfast dish. Sun-Lindley’s tom-yum hot-and-sour soup is a gloriously aromatic treat, whether you slurp it up for breakfast or dinner. Filled with fragrant lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, cilantro, fresh lime juice and roasted curry, the soup will provide an electrifying experience for your palate. Lean over a steaming bowl and let the fragrance flit seductively into your drowsy, sleep-soaked brain.
2431 J St., Sacramento; (916) 442-7690; thaibasilrestaurant.com
• Fox & Goose Pub and Restaurant—Benedict Arnold
The Fox & Goose’s version of eggs Benedict has a very British twist: It’s drenched in thick Welsh rarebit cheese sauce instead of the traditional hollandaise. With its distinctive beery flavor, the rarebit contributes a robust sharpness that tastes great with the soft-poached eggs. Try adding spinach to your Benedict Arnold (it’s ravishing with the rarebit), and if you’re a cheese lover, ask for extra sauce to ladle over your onion- and bell pepper-flecked “English country” potatoes.
1001 R St., Sacramento; (916) 443-8825; foxandgoose.com
• The Limelight—Florentine Jumble
Want to feel virtuous? Order The Limelight’s Florentine Jumble: three eggs scrambled with a generous amount of spinach, mushrooms and onions. Lots of melted Swiss cheese provides the finishing touch to this hearty, meat-free breakfast dish, which is served with luscious fresh fruit and your favorite toast.
1014 Alhambra Blvd., Sacramento; (916) 446-2236; limelightcardroom.com
• 33rd Street Bistro‚Northwest Scramble
Fish with eggs? You bet. This fantastic dish combines flavorful wood-roasted salmon with scrambled eggs and Swiss and cheddar cheeses. Topped with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of diced tomatoes and green onions, the Northwest Scramble is a sophisticated jumble of pure yumminess.
3301 Folsom Blvd., Sacramento; (916) 455-2233; 33rdstreetbistro.com
Prefer to drink your breakfast? These seven beverages tastily fit the bill.
By Kira O’Donnell
Drink: Bella Bru Special
Where: Bella Bru Cafe, 4680 Natomas Blvd.
Ingredients: Espresso, steamed almond-flavored chocolate milk, whipped cream, slivered almonds
Lowdown: Like a melted candy bar in a mug
Review: Chocolate and nuts: What’s not to love?
Drink: Bowl of Soul
Where: The Naked Lounge, 1500 Q St.
Ingredients: Chamomile tea, warm vanilla soy milk, honey
Lowdown: The tea version of a warm down comforter
Review: Creamy and restorative
Drink: Masala Chai Latte
Where: Peet’s Coffee & Tea, multiple locations
Ingredients: Chai tea, chai syrup, steamed milk
Lowdown: Jolts the taste buds with spicy flavor
Review: Exotic and alluring
Drink: White Mocha
Where: Coffee Works, 3418 Folsom Blvd.
Ingredients: Espresso, melted Ghirardelli white chocolate, steamed milk
Lowdown: Doesn’t quite taste like either coffee or white chocolate
Review: A sippable, satisfying morning slurp
Drink: Cookies ’n’ Cream Javalanche
Where: Java City, 1800 Capitol Ave.
Ingredients: Coffee, nonfat milk, crushed Oreos, whipped cream
Lowdown: A coffee milkshake, pure and simple
Review: A slushy extravagance
Drink: Cinnamon Dolce Latte
Where: Starbucks Coffee, multiple locations
Ingredients: Espresso, cinnamon dolce syrup, steamed milk, whipped cream
Lowdown: Like the cinnamon toast of your childhood
Review: Frisky and delicious
Drink: Cafe Latte
Where: Old Soul Co., 1716 L St. (rear alley)
Ingredients: Espresso, steamed milk
Lowdown: House-roasted three-bean espresso gives it a smoky punch
Review: Simple but terrific