Sunday, December 7, 2008

Antoine's Cafe -- Breakfast? Anyone?

Antoine's Cafe
218 S El Camino Real, San Clemente, CA 92672
(949) 492-1763

Antoine's Cafe is definitely vibrant on the weekends. People were waiting on the benches and chairs outside ranging from bikers to military personnel from nearby San Onofre/Camp Pendleton. There is a slight wait, no more than 15 minutes, but be sure to step inside and put your name down on the waiting list. Inside the cafe, a cozy but bustling dining room offers booths as well as tables and counter seating, while outside, plastic chairs and tables are available for those who enjoy fresh air and/or are accompanied by their furry companions.

, eating breakfast, out, two days in a row -- not something I ordinarily do unless I'm on vacation, but yes, the breakfast fan -- my other half -- didn't get to brunch at Plum's Cafe yesterday so this was his consolation prize this weekend. After the eggs Benedict yesterday, I felt like I shouldn't order the same thing again, but was glad my husband did -- and no, I did not have to twist his arm either. I had my eye on the highly recommended fish tacos. Our little man choose French toast, homemade sausage patties and a fried egg.

Our server started off in an abrupt manner. Initially, we troubled her because the coffee cup was dirty -- there was some green residue on the rim. then, a knife had some sticky stuff on it and a fork had butter stuck to the handle. When I requested clean silverware, she grabbed them off the table and then brought some back without saying a word. I was feeling like maybe I'd made a bad choice about eating here. I'm not one who enjoys a leisurely Sunday morning to turn south before my food even hits the table. Then I started to worry -- "what if the food wasn't up to par?" But those thoughts were quickly quashed when we started eating.

My fish taco plate had 3 tacos with generous chunks of albacore tuna, avocado, a sprinkling of some cooked peppers and onions and a hefty topping of cilantro and salsa. They bring you additional salsa in a small cup should you feel you require more. Every ingredient, from the fish to the avocado was very fresh. I only wished they had a spicier sauce, a salsa roja, perhaps, to complete these tasty tacos. Still, for a non-Mexican place, these were pretty good. If you don't like cilantro or raw red onions, let them know, because they REALLY pile it on here. I, on the other hand, love it -- the more the better.

I guess I shouldn't have tasted the eggs Benedict because right after, I immediately regretted not ordering it. The English muffin was toasted to a crispness I'd never experienced before. It was just amazing because when you get a mouthful of the muffin together with a piece of the ham (sorry, no Canadian bacon here either) and a morsel of the poached egg, the textural sensation is just incredible. Don't get me wrong ... I was thoroughly enjoying my tacos, but the Benedict was just THAT much better. Also, if you like sausage, don't miss out on the homemade sausage patties -- they were fantastic, perfectly seasoned and not greasy.

By the end of our meal, our server warmed up and even stopped by to check on us, but even so, I had ask for a refill on my water. She brought the check out pretty quickly though -- that's a plus ... no? Reasonable prices and I'd have to say, I'll take these eggs Benedict over Plum's Cafe, hands down!

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