Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Palo Alto: Brunch at University Cafe

I would probably have to try brunch at Mayfield, Hobee's, Calafia and Joanie's before being able to definitively name a place "Best Brunch in Palo Alto," but even if I did try those four places, I think University Cafe might still come out on top.  I had had University Cafe's brunch twice over the past two or three years, and both of those brunches were delicious.  That's why I insisted on bringing Andrew here, and on our second attempt, this past Sunday around noon, we fortunately snagged a table next to the window/door.

Caffeine to start: one cup of coffee and one mocha smoothie.  The latter involves two shots of espresso, some frozen yogurt, maybe some other components, and a nice swirl of chocolate syrup around the glass, resulting in the best thing you could want to drink at breakfast (either that, or it's dessert masquerading as a breakfast beverage.  Yeah, that's probably more accurate).  It's not excessively sweet, but we still found ourselves using regular coffee as a palate cleanser.

Our first dish was the veggie omelette - zucchini, mushrooms, some other vegetables, Monterey Jack cheese - with home fries and toast.  Relatively standard, but well-executed, and let's be honest: this is exactly the kind of egg dish you should give your body following an evening at Coach Sushi and Baggy's by the Lake (and preceding an evening at Antonio's Nut House).

I can make a pretty darn good French toast, but University Cafe offers three stellar incarnations that perfectly straddle the divide between French toast and bread pudding.  Between the brioche, bananas Foster brioche, and baked croissant options, we chose the latter, which is essentially French toast that has died, gone to heaven, and come back down to Earth in angelic form.  Righteous.  Also, this dish absolutely must be shared.

Surrounding the food was lots of warm sunshine streaming through the all-glass front of the restaurant, looking out at the gentle bustle of weekend midday on University Avenue.  A lovely, peaceful interlude during a very awesome weekend!