#184: (Mario’s) Early Toast Mimosa House

This morning I met up with my family for breakfast at Early Toast Mimosa House.  This new breakfast/lunch joint is the 4th one and 2nd in Roseville (our other one is on Pleasant Grove in the Nugget shopping center and the last two are in Folsom and El Dorado Hills).  Due to a miscommunication, my brother ended up at the other one and just decided to eat there.  I arrived first in the Stone Point shopping center (where you’ll also find Blue Nami, New Thai Kitchen, Trademark Pizza, Paul Martin’s, Pita Pit, Costa Vida and Cupcake A La Mode) just before 8:30am.  It was weird how quiet and empty the parking lot was since this center seems to almost always be packed.

I headed in and took a look around.  At first it seemed like i was the only customer.  I was greeted after a few seconds when the employee up front finished up on the phone and offered to get me seated, even though I said I was waiting on more.  I wasn’t sure who was coming so she took me to one of their larger booths towards the back that could probably sit 6-8.  That was when I noticed that there was one table of people already there and eating, because I was sat at the table right next to them.  Aside from a bar area near the front entrance, the dining room looks to be entirely made up of booths.

Soon the others had joined me and we settled in looking over the menu.  Our drink orders were taken by the same person that sat me, mostly coffee and water with one hot tea.  They offer a selection of loose leaf teas.  My dad didn’t have a preference and went with the Boston 1779 that was first mentioned (a fine English breakfast tea that is full bodied, malty & robust in the cup) [$2.50 w/ free refills].  This was all brought out and our server introduced herself and went over several suggestions, then left us while we decided.  The menu is pretty large, both for breakfast and lunch.  Lots of omelets, pancakes, waffles and crepes dominate the breakfast side with many favorites like steak & eggs and eggs benedict.  For some reason this morning, despite a lot of the menu sounding really good, I was drawn to the Chicken-Fried Steak (cubed steak topped with country style gravy, three eggs any style, biscuit or choice of toast.  Served with house potatoes or hash browns) [$13.95].  I’ve never had it myself, but I’ve tasted it once or twice when friends ordered it and it’s always seemed good (especially at Four Sisters).

Our food took about 15 minutes to prepare, during which time business was starting to pick up a little bit.  By the time we left at 9:20 they might have been a quarter filled, but more spread out.  In two trips within a couple minutes we all had our plates in front of us.  The portions were pretty big.  The smallest one was my grandma’s Early Toast Basic Combination with bacon, two eggs, hash browns and toast [$8.95]. I don’t recall how she ordered it but she usually likes her bacon crispy and it certainly looked crispy.  My mom’s French Toast (three thick slices of Texas Toast dipped in a vanilla, cream and cinnamon egg batter.  Rolled in a cinnamon sugar coating and topped with powdered sugar) [$8.75] was huge and came with some sort of peach jam.  My dad had the Early Toast Perfecto Omelet (bacon, baby spinach, mushrooms, onions, jack cheese and cream cheese) [$10.25].

My eggs were done right as over medium, solid but with runny yolks inside.  The hash browns were exactly as I like them, super crispy (and I didn’t even ask for them like that).  It was actually two very thin layers, so there was even more crispiness to be enjoyed below.  The chicken fried steak was big.  It took up the entire plate it was on and with the gravy was probably over an inch thick.  The gravy was incredibly thick, almost like very soft mashed potatoes, and held it’s form on it’s own when I started cutting up the steak.  The steak was very hot, especially towards the center.  It was very easy to cut through and was nice and tender throughout.  The fried coating was excellent and crunchy.  Everything about this was awesome.  The gravy was intensely rich, the batter and the steak were both full of flavor.  I had a ton of food and ended up not even touching the wheat toast that came with it.

Most of us had some leftovers which were consolidated into one plate to take and easily made another meal or two.  Overall everyone seemed very pleased with the food.  The service was off and on, literally, in a way.  When our server was helping us, towards the beginning, she was excellent.  Very friendly and talkative.  After our food arrived however, we didn’t see her until the very end when she took the card for our bill.  We probably could have used a refill on the pot of coffee that was at our table at some point, and no one stopped by to check on everything and see how we were doing.  I’m going to give Early Toast a 4 of 5.  With more consistent service I think this could be in the running for top breakfast in Roseville.

#183: Rustic Grains Bakery/Cafe

 

Today I was joined by my sister-in-law to go get reubens from Roundhouse Deli on Church street for lunch.  Surprise!  They were closed.  I am having really bad luck with this sort of situation lately.  They had a sign in the window that read “This deli is closed until further notice.”  Great.  With so few places on my list these days it’s hard to change plans on the fly.  Luckily, however, there was something that was just across the train tracks on Vernon, Rustic Grains Bakery & Cafe (or is it Boundi?  More on that later).  We headed over.

At about 11:10 we were walking down the sidewalk of Vernon and turning to go through the front door.  They had a couple of tables and chairs set up just outside.  I mention the tables because once inside I wasn’t entirely sure if they were open.  I mean, they were, the sign was on and they had some stuff on display, but it also looked like the place was in the middle of being re-built.  There was a younger guy behind the counter helping a customer, and a man, who we soon discovered was the owner/operator, was sitting at one of the several tables that were pushed together towards the back.  All three were talking and just a few steps into the bakery we were greeted by both.  The owner beckoned us to come in further and try some samples that he had out on the counter.  At this point he got up and started talking to us about how he only makes things with good, basic ingredients.

He spoke with a heavy European accent (I’m terrible at identifying accents, but I would take a wild stab at Greek….maybe) and was quite the character.  He was both serious and jolly at the same time.  Soon we were handed slices of bread to try as he described how it took 36 hours to ferment and that it was only made with simple, quality ingredients and squished a piece of it with his hand on the counter to show us how it bounced back into shape, more of his proof that it was real bread.  Honestly, it was pretty damn good bread.  The woman that was being helped as we walked in was heading out the door and stopped to come get a sample of the bread and tell us that she loves the place and despite it opening and closing repeatedly, she keeps coming back.  Later we learned that he had closed the bakery recently for a couple months for personal reasons and they were starting fresh again with a new menu, which they were still working on.  With that we asked if they had sandwiches for lunch, and we all headed down closer to the front of the store to talk about that.  The offerings were very limited today, basically just a vegetarian or beef meatball type sandwich.

The vegetarian consisted of a falafel with hummus, eggplant and Sriracha sauce.  The younger employee asked the owner if they had chicken today, who then said just beef, and proceeded to slice up one of the meatballs for us to try out.  As he handed me the little plate he said that you know meat is good when its good cold.  And it was good.  We decided to get one of each type of sandwich and split them.  He continued on talking about how all his meatballs were hand made with quality ingredients and then went on to say something along the lines of “I make things my way, and if you like it that’s good, because it’s healthier for you.”  That’s an interesting stance to take and I suspect some people would be rubbed the wrong way by it, but I had to laugh at the time and thought, sure, that sounds good enough to me.  They got to work on those and we picked out Coke from the very limited selection of drinks (a couple sodas, mango Jarritos, coffee and tea), then sat outside in the nice weather while we waited.

Maybe 5-7 minutes later the two baskets with each sandwich were brought out.  They were served on buns of what looked like the same type of sourdough we had tried out earlier.  Each one seemed to have the same set of toppings consisting of hummus and eggplant (or some sort of eggplant salad perhaps?  There was definitely more than just eggplant there).  Actually I didn’t realize that eggplant was not purple-colored throughout until I looked it up just now.  While we were eating it we weren’t sure that it actually had it in there, but sure enough, that’s what it was.  Both sandwiches were great.  The bread was fantastic and fresh and the hummus was delicious.  Even the falafel, which when you think about what it is made from sounds kinda boring, was pretty tasty.  I’ll be recommending this sandwich to my vegetarian brother.  The Sriracha was not overpowering as there wan’t a ton of it.  It worked alongside everything else nicely and was a nice addition adding just a touch of zippy spice and chili flavor with the mild hummus.

As we got close to finishing up, my sister-in-law asked me if I wanted to split one of the pastries that she had noticed earlier.  While she was inside getting these I wondered in to listen in a bit and take a photo inside.  Basically these are cronuts (croissant/donuts), or, since that’s a trademarked name by the guy that makes them in NYC, these are Boundis, named by one of the owners grandchildren.  He handed me a business card (below) that featured them.  This is where I wonder if this place is still called Rustic Grains, because the card had a web address to boundi.com, which if you visit seems to be a full site for the bakery with no mention of Rustic Grains.  The original/old Rustic Grains website still exists though, so I have no idea what the deal is.  I’m kind of suspecting that we visited right in the middle of a transitional and rebranding period, but I didn’t ask at the time so who knows.

Both of the Boundis were incredible, especially the chocolate covered one.  It literally is a cross between a croissant and a donut, tasting like good, fresh versions of each in every bite.  I had been skeptical of the cronut craze that went on a while back in NY, but if this is anything like those, then I think I get it now.  I recommend checking them out.

This was a strange, strange visit.  Mostly due to the state the bakery was in.  Disorganized, under construction, limited in choice.  It did seem clean though, and the most important part to me was that the food was solid and the owner was very passionate about his food, quite vocally so.  He was super nice and thankful for our visit and gave me a cup of coffee to go with the Boundi on the house.  I haven’t mentioned any prices in this post because I honestly have no idea how much each thing was.  I can say that it was about $20 total for all of it, which seems very reasonable.  Due to the state of the cafe in it’s apparent re-opening I would give it 3.5 of 5, but given a little time and more fleshed out menu I could see this being a very nice little option right in the heart of downtown Roseville.  At the very least it definitely seems to be a good place to get a loaf of bread or pastry for the moment.

Website(s): (not sure which one is right, maybe both!)

#182: Mitsuko’s Cafe & Deli

Oops, took a week off by accident!  Back to work.  Today I finally knocked a place off my list which I have failed to do a few times now – Mitsuko’s Cafe & Deli located at Foothills and Albertsons Drive (near Blue Oaks).  This is a breakfast/lunch place that I assume lives mostly off of the HP crowd and the truck drivers from the distribution center behind it.  The hours are 8 or 9-5 Monday thru Friday.  Their menu, website and window both say 9am but my receipt says 8am.  The menu and window both say they are open on Saturday as well, however I tried to stop by for lunch on two different Saturdays and they were closed.  The website says they are closed on Saturday.  Basically, it’s confusing.  Having not visited the website until just now (mostly because I completely did not expect them to even have one), it was very frustrating (kind of like El Charro Taqueria).  Today I had a small lunch and knew I had to get back to posting, so I headed out almost immediately after getting back into Roseville from work, figuring if I caught them on a weekday that I should be golden.

I arrived at this little standalone building which shares the lot with a gas station and a Midas at about 4:10PM.  The parking lot is a couple of rows in a 90 degree angle following the road and the building, leaving lots of room for donuts in the space between it and the Midas.  You know people do donuts here.  It’s practically asking for them.  Inside there was just one customer, eating and watching TV.  The dining room is fairly small, just 6 or so small tables and 4 oddly large booths that could probably seat 10 each.  Outside there is some more seating for when the weather is nice.  As soon as I walked through the door I was greeted by a woman at the counter, who gave my camera a long look and asked if I was taking nice pictures.  I just smiled and said “yup”.  I sometimes wonder what people think when I wonder into their restaurant with my 7D.  Most people seem to ignore it, some regard me with suspicion and even fewer are interested and actively engage me about it.

Anyway, I skimmed over the menu for a bit and asked if she had any suggestions.  I always find it funny when people don’t suggest anything or even really have a response to the question.  That was the case here although she had a smile the whole time so it wasn’t too awkward.  The menu consists of breakfast, cold & hot sandwiches, Asian entrees/meals, quesadillas, hamburgers and soup.  I decided to go the Asian entree route since the few reviews I’ve seen for this place over time always seemed to say good things about them.  I nearly picked the bulgogi and then the chicken teriyaki, but settled on the honey mustard chicken (all Asian entrees served on rice with salad) [$7.99].  She seemed surprised by my choice and asked if I had heard about it.  I hadn’t, and she said it was very popular and looked pleased with my decision.  She asked what kind of dressing I wanted for the salad and listed off ranch, blue cheese, balsamic vinaigrette, honey mustard and “Asian” when I asked.  I went with the Asian, curious to see what kind it was.  I also added a medium fountain drink [$1.59] which, she made sure to tell me, came with free refills.  I kind of said “and….” while looking back at the menu, looking for maybe an appetizer or something small to throw on for some more variety to try out.  She noticed this and asked if it was just me eating, then strongly urged that I would have plenty of food with what I already ordered, mentioning that they have big portions.  I said that sounded good to me, paid and took a seat after filling my soda up.  She called my order in through the kitchen doorway and then disappeared inside until my food was ready.

I waited for about 7 minutes, listening to the pop music playing over the speakers, until she came back out and around the counter, bringing the plate out to my table along with a couple of napkins.  It was a pretty good sized plate.  There was plenty of everything.  The chicken was a pile of about six long strips perched atop a bed of sticky steamed rice.  Behind that pile was a pretty decent amount of salad, which was mostly lettuce with some carrot slivers and purple cabbage.  The Asian dressing and the honey mustard were in little containers on opposite corners.  The dressing turned out to be the type you might get on a Chinese chicken salad.  Pretty sweet with just a little bit of a tanginess to it.  I enjoyed it, and the lettuce was cold and very crisp.  I grabbed a bottle of soy sauce from a tray on the counter which was also home to a variety of hot sauces including Sriracha, Franks Red Hot, Tobasco and Tapatio.  A dash of this here and there over the rice made it very enjoyable.  I love it when rice is super sticky like this was.  On to the chicken.  It had a really interesting, super crispy, super flaky and golden brown batter to it.  It was almost like it was made from corn flakes (and could very well have been).  The chicken inside was very hot, right out of the frier, and was incredibly tender and juicy.  The honey mustard was awesome.  I’m a big fan of honey mustard and it can really vary a lot from place to place.  This one was right up my alley.  It was viscous and stuck to the chicken strips very easily, was extremely rich in flavor with a perfect balance of sweet honey to tangy mustard.  I destroyed this entire plate.

A few minutes into my meal the woman came back around with another little plate.  This one had three thick apple slices on it in a very nice presentation.  I’m guessing this came with my meal, although it is not mentioned anywhere.  I happily crunched away on these after finishing the salad, rice and chicken.  They were a very nice finish to a surprisingly good dinner. I have to admit I had never really expected much from this little cafe, hidden back from the main road.  Even when I worked right around this intersection for over 4 years I never had the inclination to try it out.  Of course, back then it was something else, the Refinery or something like that, but the point stands.  There are probably lots of HP employees today who have never given it a second thought and, in my opinion, are missing out.  Are you one of them?

Website: http://www.mitsukoscafe.com