Here, however, we've struggled. This is the land of the chain restaurant. Adding to the feeling that the restaurants lack character is the fact that 90% of the restaurants are located in strip malls. You just don't feel like you're in some chef's dream restaurant when you're eating next to a dry cleaners and grocery store.
To be fair, since having kids, eating out isn't exactly a regular occurrence in our family. Taking a 1 year old and a 3 year old out to dinner can be something akin to torture for pretty much everyone involved, and our kids are pretty well behaved. However, we do enjoy going out to breakfast on occasion. So we've been on the hunt for a good breakfast place. So far we have been to three.
The first place is a pancake place located about half a mile from our house. It is cleverly named Batter Up. The restaurant process is a little strange - you are taken to your table, but then you order and pay at a counter, pick up your own silverware and beverages, and then wait for your food to come. The prices are little high, especially considering how much of the work you do yourself, but the pancakes are fantastic. They hang off the place, and they have some fantastic flavor combinations. I haven't tried the ones that have bacon and eggs cooked into the batter yet (!) but the macadamia nut, coconut, banana pancake is amazing! Their other breakfast fare is also delicious.
Last weekend, we decided to branch out and see if we could find someplace a little cheaper. We tried a place called Huckleberry, a southern themed eatery serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. The menu seemed promising, and the prices were better, but the food was only so-so. Their homemade huckleberry muffin tasted like boxed cake mix with too much sugar.
This morning, we knew we weren't going back to Huckleberry, so we headed for Batter Up. But the wait looked long, and we didn't feel like waiting. So we pulled out the old google machine and found another breakfast place across town - the Fresno Breakfast House. It was also kind of southern themed, but with more of a New Orleans twist. It was kind of cute, except for the room we ate in. It was like jungle theme gone wrong! There were fake plants and stuffed animals everywhere! The kids loved it, but I was kind of creeped out. That would have been forgivable except that the food was both expensive and decidedly not delicious. Everyone was overly salty, but not very flavorful.
We realized that if we had just waited at Batter Up, we would have eaten at about the same time. So, lesson learned. Sometimes, it's worth the wait.
I don't know if we'll be willing to try any more breakfast places for a while, seeing as how our last two attempts were sad little failures. So for now, at least we have Batter Up. Maybe next we can find a cute little lunch place.