The breakfast club

In case you missed it, here’s my review of From Scratch that appeared in Thursday’s Go! section of the Monterey Herald. I’ll be reposting my reviews and stories from my weekly column for the Herald here on my blog along with extra photos that didn’t appear in print.

I am by no means a morning person, so I’m not usually one to go out to breakfast. During the week, I’m usually in a rush to get to work, so “breakfast” amounts to little more than a cup of coffee and a pastry. On the weekends, well, my desire for sleep overwhelms any chances of rising early.

But every now and then, usually at the prodding of friends or family, I’ll rouse myself for a proper breakfast.

I often stick close to my apartment at breakfast spots that don’t require much effort.

The race to explore the Peninsula's breakfast hotspots is on!

Well, one of my friends was appalled to hear I’d never been to many of her favorite breakfast hangouts, so she’s taken it as a personal challenge to get me to try some of them. And so began our breakfast club.

We started this challenge with a trip to From Scratch over in The Barnyard Shopping Village in Carmel.

The breakfast menu, served until 2:30 p.m., includes classic egg offerings such as Benedicts, omelets and scrambles, alongside sweeter fare —French toast, pancakes and the like. It’s a little leaner than the menus at other breakfast hotspots, but quality trumps quantity.

I wasn’t quite sure whether I wanted a sweet or savory breakfast: pancakes or eggs? Our server let me get the best of both. I wound up getting a half-order of the crab Benedict ($10.95 for the half-order) and a single banana granola pancake ($4.95 for one pancake).

A rich take on eggs Benedict with crab, mushrooms and onions.

The crab Benedict was a rich indulgence for breakfast. There was plenty of crab served over sautéed mushrooms and onions atop a thick Wolferman’s English muffin. The crab and the gently poached egg were rich, yet light, bringing out the earthy flavors of the mushrooms and onions beneath.

I ordered my Hollandaise on the side, since I don’t care for Benedicts drenched in the stuff. The Hollandaise wasn’t as smooth as I’ve had elsewhere — it was a little lumpy — but it was flavorful.

The accompanying home-style potatoes were so-so. I prefer crispy hash browns to home-style potatoes, personally, so I’m not an objective reviewer. Some pieces were cut a little thick and were still a little hard in the center; I prefer my potatoes well done, so they’re tender all the way through. But despite any inconsistencies in texture, the flavor was nice, with light accents of herbs.

The pancake was packed with banana and granola, yet was still light and fluffy.

The banana granola pancake was great, like a dessert at breakfast. The thick pancake was light and fluffy, even when packed with banana slices and dense granola. The bananas were flavorful, bringing out the slight sweetness of the granola. And the banana-to-granola ratio was just right — not too squishy, not too crunchy.

Veggie (left) and meat (right) sausages ready for a taste test.

I’ve been on a veggie sausage kick lately, so we ordered a side of the veggie sausage ($3.95 for four veggie patties) for the table, but alas, it wasn’t anything special. It was Morning Star Farms’ veggie sausage, which I find a little salty. We did a side-by-side taste test with proper meat sausage ($4.95 for four links), which was much tastier.

I had a great breakfast at From Scratch, the first one I’ve enjoyed in a long while, actually.

I was so inspired that I actually stirred early(ish) the next day to sample another breakfast at the Point Pinos Grill in Pacific Grove.

I could get used to proper breakfasts — except for that whole getting up early part.

From Scratch, 3626 The Barnyard Shopping Village, Carmel, 625-2448, www.yelp.com/biz/from-scratch-restaurant-carmel

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