Sunday, January 20, 2013

But is it Eggstra-ordinary?

As a rule, I shy away from restaurants that find it necessary to be cute or “clever” with their menus. Like “egg-stras” for sides. Like “egg-ceptionals” for skillets. Like “egg-cetera” for egg and meat combos. So why are we dining in a place like this? Because The Good Egg was the 2012 Readers’ Choice for best breakfast in Tucson.
Because the second place and local breakfast spot left us underwhelmed.

“If breakfast is the most important meal of the day, imagine how important it will be on the last day (according to the Mayan calendar). There's no reason to face Armageddon on an empty tummy, so start the day at any of The Good Egg's four Tucson locations.
As the name implies, there are dozens of different ways to enjoy fresh egg breakfasts—omelets, scrambles, sandwiches, skillets, etc. You can add biscuits and gravy, corned beef hash, crepes and more. There are also a variety of pancake options, French toast, healthy entrées and Southwestern specialty items. So before the end, start out the day right amid the cheery wait staff and cozy, bright environs of The Good Egg near you” (

We arrived shortly before 10:30 a.m. on a Sunday to find at least twelve people waiting outside and huddled near two heat lamps. And inside there were at least another dozen diners crammed into a very small waiting area. As a nice touch the restaurant had set up a help yourself coffee station outside for those in desperate need of either caffeine or warmth.

We stayed inside, and I finally managed to get a seat on a bench with a family group of four. I learned from the two most elderly of this party that they had been eating at this branch (there about a dozen total in Phoenix and Tucson) every Sunday since they opened and it was always this busy following church.

They could have written this review from “Let me guess. You want a breakfast or brunch meal. You’re not in the mood for the commercial stuff, but would prefer something that tastes like it was made at home by that visiting aunt you’d wish would come by more often. We understand and you’re in luck. One of the best restaurants in Tucson to get a great breakfast, lunch, or brunch is The Good Egg....”

We were finally shown to a table and began to study the very long menu. And while deliberating, shared the restaurant’s giant cinnamon roll. When our server presented the roll she asked if we would like a couple of small plates.

We said yes, but while waiting, we began to cut off small slices and by the time she returned with the plates the roll had disappeared. It was that good. Too often restaurants achieve the size through an excess of yeast. Not here. And neither the roll nor the icing was too sweet.

The extensive menu had something for everyone—crepes, skillets, French toast, pancakes, biscuits and gravy, and more.
There was something called the Works—a six-egg omelet, filled with sausage, bacon, ham, broccoli, spinach, onions, mushrooms, zucchini, and bell peppers and topped with Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheeses, diced tomato, Kalamata olives, sour cream, and scallions. As the menu said, the “only thing missing is the kitchen sink! – 1160 cal w/out the sink.” Yes, all menu items include the calorie count. Which is both a good and a bad thing.
With so many choices it was hard to decide. Just when I settled on the Apple Crunch Crepes (three crepes with cinnamon roasted Fuji apples, brown sugar, and cottage cheese and topped with granola, walnuts, craisins, caramel yogurt, powdered sugar, whipped cream, cinnamon and nutmeg), I veered in a different direction and ordered the corned beef hash and eggs with one “egg-stra” and an English muffin. For my side I chose the home fries figuring that these could easily be taken home and recycled later.

I forgot to ask that my hash be crisp, so can’t complain that it wasn’t as crisp as I would have liked. But I did find that the meat-to-potato ratio was skewed more toward the potato than I would have liked. But as a result this hash was far less salty than most, so I wasn’t guzzling water for the rest of the day. And the eggs—well, they were eggs but were cooked to a perfect over easy.

On the other hand Chuck’s breakfast—a short stack of blueberry pancakes—hit it out of the ball park (to use a cliché). Each of the two cakes was plate-size, light and fluffy, and crammed with large blueberries.
Literally, each mouthful contained numerous berries. And—using another cliché—to gild the lily the cakes came with a pitcher of warm blueberry syrup than contained more whole berries.

The home fries were somewhat of a disappointment. Even Chuck would have liked them crisper and we agreed that a small amount of chopped onion and green pepper would have been a nice addition.

Chuck only managed to finish about sixty percent of his pancakes so the remainder—along with my potatoes—came home and fed both of us breakfast the following morning.

So was The Good Egg “eggstra-ordinary?” No. But with a little tweeking breakfast there could be “egg-cellent.” And the cinnamon roll and blueberry pancakes earn The Good 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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