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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A tasty brunch at Calafia Cafe

Last weekend I had brunch at Calafia Cafe in Palo Alto, CA. I've written about Calafia once before when my foodie friend Carl and I had a food adventure. I'd ended my day with a Burrata and Potato Pizza and my first Mocha. Ever!

Eggs Chiapas

One of the things that got me so excited the first time I heard about Calafia is that the restaurant has a split menu. There's a Meat Eater's menu and a Vegetarian menu that isn't just two or three token meatless options. Nope. They offer an entire menu of vegetarian and vegan choices as well as gluten free options.

I also like that Chef (and owner) Charlie Ayers makes a dedicated effort to use as many sustainable, localy produced products as possible including cheese from Harley Farms, the goat farm/dairy I visited earlier this year.


So, just where is Calafia Cafe and the Market-A-Go-Go located? At the Town & Country Village at the intersection of El Camino Real and Embarcadero Road. Just watch for the big yellow sign.


The restaurant is on the east side of the shopping center, facing Embarcadero. If you enter from El Camino turn right to skirt along the buildings. You'll see the CVS Pharmacy and Trader Joe's ahead of you. Calafia is right between them. If you enter from Embarcadero, it will be immediately to your right as you enter the parking lot. View on Google Maps


As soon as you come through the front door you'll see the hostess stand. Surprisingly we didn't have to wait for a table because it was just hubby and I and there was a single table for two available.


We were seated against the far wall right where the two separate dining rooms converge. To the left is the larger dining room with combinations of small tables and chairs. To the right is a European style community table and a long counter that faces the front windows.


I was torn between the Breakfast Pizza and the Eggs Chiapas. I ended up ordering the Eggs Chiapas, a crispy organic white corn tortilla, two eggs (I chose over medium), two strips of bacon on a bed of black beans with queso fresco and rojo sauce. ($13.00)

Here's the thing. The dish comes with bacon and I, being a veggiesaurus, don't eat bacon. But hubby is a meatasaurus so he said he would eat the bacon. Silly me to assume the bacon would come on the side of the plate like at a coffee shop. The dish was plated beautifully, with the bacon integrated into a petite tower covered with the rojo sauce. Which meant hubby would not eat it because hubby doesn't like fancy food or sauces.

So, I took the bacon home, rinsed it off and for the first time ever Kitai had a gourmet, bacon doggie breakfast. Lucky boy :P


I wondered though, where were the black beans? Some shifting around and I found them hidden beneath the crisp tortilla shell.

It was delicious and the portion was what I would call as close to a normal sized portion of food than I've seen in a restaurant in ages. It was enough to fill me up but not so much that I had any leftover. I always have leftovers. IMO this is what a healthy (not super sized) portion of food should look like.

I would definitely order the Eggs Chiapas again. But I also want to try that breakfast pizza. Decisions, decisions.


This was hubby's coffee. I wanted to share it with you. He ordered a regular cup of coffee and this is what he got, a French coffee press that he let steep at the table for a minute before pushing down the plunger and having his first ever French pressed coffee. It was quite the special occasion, er, ordeal for hubby. He's a simple guy who only likes simple food so this was a bit too fancy for him. For any other coffee drinker I suspect this would have been a pleasant surprise. LOL

Beverages, Yogurts, Hodo Soy Tofu, Sandwiches and Salads

After breakfast we checked out the Market-A-Go-Go on the other side of the restaurant.

In a hurry? There are plenty of prepared foods available all day and evening long. Salad prices ranged between $2.00 for a small Carrot Almond Salad to $12.00 for a large Super Salad containing dinosaur kale, red quinoa pilaf, Greek feta cheese, sun dried cranberries, California walnuts and lemon vinaigrette. Sandwiches begin at $7.50 and also range up to $12.00. Market hours are currently 9:00 AM - 8:30 PM, 7 days a week.


It has its own small dining area. . .


A salad bar and hot food. . .


And hot meals including Rotisserie Chickens and Macaroni and Cheese ($3.95). I got an order of the Macaroni and Cheese to have for lunch that day and the next.

The consistency and amount of cheese was spot on. It was creamy and coated all of the elbow macaroni noodles without being too much. It needed a little salt but since I was home I went upscale and sprinkled just a bit of truffle salt on top. Wow. It was so good!


When I approached the counter to pay for the Mac & Cheese I noticed the pastry case and purchased a single Apple Muffin.


OMM (Oh My Muffin) it was the best Apple Muffin ($2.50) I've ever had. It was moist and so flavorful I couldn't figure out how they packed so much apple goodness into a classic sized muffin. I will always stop by to see if they have them in stock from now on whenever I'm in the neighborhood.


As we headed back to our car I grabbed one more shot of the small, two person tables lining the covered patio/walkway in front of the restaurant.

Whether you need a table for two or you want to dine with a large group (I once brought in 18 friends with a dinner reservation) they will do their best to take care of you giving great customer service while serving up delicious food.

Calafia is a Palo Alto favorite with no shortage of dedicated customers. Chef Charlie Ayers has created something very special at Calafia. You should stop by and try it for yourself.

Calafia Cafe
Town & Country Village Suite 130
855 El Camino Real (at Embarcadero Road)
Palo Alto California
(650) 322-9200

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