Egging me on

In case you missed it, here is my review of Trailside Cafe 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.

My mornings usually entail a mad dash to get to work, so a proper breakfast is often a rarity.

Rather than doing the sensible thing and waking up earlier to grab a proper breakfast, I’ve taken to ordering breakfast for lunch.

Trailside Cafe is a great spot to grab breakfast--or breakfast for lunch.

My latest fix came from Trailside Café, just a short stroll along the recreational trail, but worlds away from the bustle of tourists on Cannery Row.

On the recommendation of a friend, I chose the Santa Barbara Benedict with smoked turkey breast and avocado ($10.95).

The smoked turkey was sliced thin, gently layered on top of the English muffin with a few slices of avocado. The salty, smoky turkey nicely complemented the buttery avocado and the rich, runny egg yolk.

The Santa Barbara Benedict was a great twist on the classic Benedict.

I was pleasantly surprised by both the flavor and the application of the hollandaise on my eggs. So many restaurants have a heavy hand with overly rich hollandaise sauce; the hollandaise at Trailside Café was applied with just the right amount of restraint.

There was a generous drizzle of that iconic sauce, but it wasn’t heavy enough to overwhelm the eggs.

The accompanying potatoes were cut a little large, many still hard inside. I generally prefer my home potatoes cut into smaller chunks, so they can get that perfect crunch outside while soft and tender inside.

My friend also ordered a Benedict — the classic Benedict, with Canadian bacon ($10.95). While hers looked just as beautiful as mine, with one cut with her fork she realized the eggs were overcooked — they were crumbly inside. Once she pointed out the problem to our server, they apologized and prepared a new pair of perfectly poached eggs for her.

We also split an order of Trailside Café’s famous French beignets (three for $4.95, six for $6.95). Every time I’m here — whether it’s for breakfast or lunch — I have to get an order.

The famous Trailside Cafe beignets are a must-order any time I'm here.

They’re topped with a heavy sprinkling of powdered sugar, so be careful taking your first bite so you don’t inhale the sugar or douse yourself in white powder. And definitely eat them while they’re hot. I once made the mistake of waiting to eat mine as a lunchtime dessert and they had lost their light, fluffy charm once they cooled.

On another visit, I tried the tomato and basil omelet ($10.95). The eggs were light and fluffy, folded over the fillings.

The fluffy egg wrapped around flavorful tomatoes and basil, topped with a touch of feta.

Inside were mashed tomatoes and strips of basil. The flavors reminded me of a hearty pizza sauce — a nice savory bite. And the feta on top added the perfect hint of salt.

The potatoes were better this second time, sautéed with strips of onion and bell peppers for extra flair.

The chicken mango sausages were perfectly sweet and savory.

I also ordered a side of the chicken mango sausage (four links for $3.95). The sausage was tender and juicy. The mango added a light sweetness that was a great complement for the chicken.

The prices at Trailside Café might be a little high, but it’s a pleasant escape from the hustle and bustle down the block, and for that I’m willing to pay a couple extra pennies.

Plus, you can’t beat the view out onto the recreational trail and the blue waters of the bay. But before you go, don’t forget Trailside Café is strictly cash-only.

Trailside Café is at 550 Wave St., just off the recreation trail, in Monterey. 649-8600. www.trailsidecafe.com.

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