Friday, February 3, 2012

Sometimes it Pays…

to ignore the opinions of your fellow diners. We were looking for a place for breakfast and found a listing for Another Broken Egg (ABE). But at least half of the on-line commenters complained about the food, the service, or the prices – or some combination of the three. But the menu looked so interesting.

Let’s see for ourselves.

The Lafayette ABE is one of sixteen in California, Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, and Florida. So yes, it is a franchise operation. But one that is Louisiana-born—Mandeville, LA, on the north shore of Lake Ponchartrain.

“The success of the Another Broken Egg can be directly linked to our philosophy that ‘Nothing Short of Right is Right’. Each site is managed by hands-on, on-site Owners who believe that every detail is important to make the customer happy. Our belief is from the time a customer enters the front door to the time they leave the Café, they should feel like being ‘on holiday’ and as comfortable as being in their own home. The attention to detail from a clean entrance, to ample and quality food, to high cleanliness standards from the Front of the House to the kitchen is just as important as great, friendly ‘down home’ service. With that in mind, it is our never-ending goal to earn guests for life” (

The Lafayette outlet is located at River Ranch, an upscale complex of cafes, boutiques, offices, and apartments with a plaza and fountain at its center. The café has three interior dining rooms plus a patio overlooking the courtyard.

The café was full when we arrived around 10:30 a.m. and seems to be popular with the young professional crowd. We had about a twenty-minute wait for a table but were finally seated in one of the indoor dining areas. The café’s décor seemed to be inspired by New Orleans. Against the brightly colored walls (which again will cast a reddish tone on all food photos) were hung artworks by New Orleans artist Rhonda Stephens. We both felt that the carved wood dividers between the dining room and kitchen access were reminiscent of New Orleans’ wrought iron balconies.

The breakfast menu is huge. Among the omelet choices were the shrimp florentine (stuffed with shrimp, tomatoes, and onions and finished with a spinach and mushroom florentine sauce) and the smoked salmon (filled with cream cheese and finished with
smoked salmon, diced red onions, capers, and tomatoes). Egg scramblers included the Southern Scramble (scrambled eggs with ham blended with onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, and melted cheeses) and the Lakeshore Scramble (eggs, baked bacon, onions, mushrooms, and ham and topped with melted Monterey Jack and cheddar cheese). There was bananas foster French toast (which can also be ordered as a waffle or pancakes) and cinnamon roll French toast.

Chuck found himself torn between the Southwest Scramble (scrambled eggs, chorizo, onions, green chilies, and tomatoes topped with melted Jack and cheddar cheeses and served with guacamole and salsa) and the Hey Ricky!!! (a Spanish omelet filled with chorizo, avocado slices, green chilies, and onions topped with cheese and served with homemade salsa and fresh sour cream). So he asked our server for a recommendation. Her response was the Hey Ricky!!! because she thought that the chorizo tasted better in the omelet than the scramble.

To me, this was a very good omelet. It wasn’t too fluffy with an excess of air beaten in. And it wasn’t one of those paper thin over-folded omelets either. And the lean, but yet moist, chorizo wasn’t overly spicy. His potatoes were cubes that had been deep fat fried and, at Chuck’s request, bits of onion were added. Now I was a little surprised by Chuck’s choice, since he is not that fond of avocado. He thought that it would come as a few slices fanned over the top which could be transferred from his plate to mine. I think that the avocado being inside with the other fillings somewhat lessened his appreciation of what was, as I said earlier, a very good omelet.

I am always looking for variations on the eggs Benedict. I thought about ordering the Smoked Salmon Benny with a toasted bagel substituting for the English muffin covered with a layer of whipped cream cheese that is topped with smoked salmon and poached eggs and then garnished with diced red onions, capers, and scallions. But I ordered the Crabcakes Cavallo—jumbo lump cakes atop of English muffin halves with poached eggs and topped with an andouille sausage infused Hollandaise.

First, I must admit to being an East Coast snob when it comes to crab cakes. I have never liked a crab cake made from anything other than the blue crab. And it has been quite a while since I have had the chance to order one. These cakes were delicious with a minimum of filler and just enough peppery spice to offset the crab’s rich flavor. And hollandaise and crab are a perfect marriage with the lemon in the sauce helping to brighten the taste of the dish. I gave Chuck a small—I repeat, small—taste, and he announced that this would be his choice of breakfast should be ever return.

Instead of potatoes, I requested a side of grits. As I have said on many occasions, you eat grits to eat large quantities of butter or cheese—and better with both. And for added flavor, I added some black pepper and a few glugs of hot sauce.

I am glad that I ignored the online reviews. Yes, the prices were somewhat on the high side, but if you are looking for Egg McMuffin prices, you go to McDonalds. But we found the food to be delicious and the service to be attentive and give Another Broken Egg a 4.0 Addie rating.

To review the role of Adler, Kitty Humbug, and the Addie rating system, read the November 14, 2011 blog.

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