Jennifer and Todd's Cafe Soleil is one of the better breakfast spots in the Bay Area and their home fries are one of the best versions I've tasted. The service is top notch.
In addition to plain home fries there are three other types:
Daves, with cheddar, grilled onions and country gravy
Crissys, with jack cheese and a choice of sour cream or ranch dressing
Jennifers, with grilled onions, tomatoes, salsa and sour cream. Cheese can be added
The food is well prepared and well thought out with a lot of options.
In addition to the usual breakfast dishes and omelets there are some creative scrambles the most notable was Sams with eggs, chicken apple sausage, roasted red peppers, mushrooms, onions, tomato, Ortega chilies, and fresh spinach. Egg whites or eggbeaters can be substituted.
Breakfasts come with your choice of hash browns, home fries or a delicious fruit bowl, as well as toast or a house made biscuit.
The selection of sausages, mainly Schwartz and some Aidells, include: chicken apple, smoked chicken apple, chicken lemon herb, chicken basil, chicken mango, Cajun, hot links, Italian, linguica, and regular sausage.
Interesting sides include:
Pork chop with country gravy
Hamburger steak with grilled onions and mushrooms
French Toast or pancakes can be ordered with bananas, blueberries or strawberries. You can top them with whipped cream, if you like.
There are five delicious sounding healthy breakfast options some of which include grilled chicken. The best seemed to be Todds scramble with egg whites, fresh spinach, mushrooms, tomato, onion, and lite jack cheese. It comes with fresh fruit and dry toast. A note says that healthy breakfasts are cooked dry (no oil, no butter). Hash browns and home fries can also be cooked dry, if requested.
All the cereals are available including cream of wheat, granola and assorted cold cereals. For $3.95 you can get oatmeal, toast and coffee. Oatmeal and cream of wheat come with raisins, brown sugar, butter and a side of milk, unless otherwise requested.
There is a section for parents on the menu which mentions that in addition to providing coloring books and crayons, they will provide, AT NO CHARGE, raisins, crackers and assorted cold cereals to children under 3. A reduced price childrens menu (under 12) and seniors menu (over 55) is at the back.
The room is thoughtfully decorated. As you enter there are two couches and a coffee table with newspapers. It is a nice comfortable area to sip some coffee. The room has well spaced rustic country tables and a long marble counter with 10 stainless steel seats that borders the open kitchen. One brick wall is softened by plants. Mustard, cranberry and sage green flags hang from the high ceiling. The sun theme is carried throughout the restaurant with a large painting in the lounge area, a sun flag and a large sunburst in the middle of the muted harlequin floor.
Because the room is large, the ceilings high and the tables well spaced, the room is lively and festive rather than noisy and loud. The coziest table is the large round table in the corner near the entrance.
The server was one of the best I have ever had. It is one of the few times when I asked What is good on the menu? that I didnt get the answer Everything. She correctly read my face when she first suggested the eggs and smoked chicken sausage. Too plain, I was thinking. She then said her favorite was the Spanish omelet with Jennifers home fries. She said she liked to add cheese to the home fries. When asked about the corned beef she said it was canned and salty, but some people liked it.
I took her suggestion and had the Spanish omelet made with three eggs and filled with fresh grilled chicken, onion, mushrooms, Ortega chilies and jack cheese. Two side cups of salsa and sour cream came with the omelet.
I am not someone who really likes home fries. There is not enough taste to warrant the calories involved. I will order them the first time I eat at a restaurant, just out of curiosity, but usually dont finish them. I finished every last bite of the generous portion of skin-on potatoes, nicely browned and mixed with grilled onions and tomatoes.
The same goes with biscuits. I loved this big fluffy biscuit and finished every crumb.
The only bad part was the bottled salsa. It had a really odd spice to it that I decided finally I didnt like. I asked the server what the spice was, she said she didnt know and brought out a bottle of the salsa to check the ingredients which just said spices.
I thanked her for answering so many questions and said not many people would be so pleasant and patient. Now it is hard not to say the following without sounding like fawning, but she carried it off when she sincerely said Its my job to answer questions. If people get bad service, they stay at home. I gave her a six dollar tip on a twelve dollar bill.
There is a lunch menu. Sandwiches are served on Richmonds Maggiora Bakery whole grain wheat bread, foccacia, baked wheat rolls or sourdough rolls. There were a few other breads varieties available. I think I remember cinnamon raisin being a breakfast bread option.
Sandwiches are served with your choice of French fries, house made potato salad, fresh seasonal fruit, house made soup or garden salad.
Beside the usual sandwiches, some of the more interesting were:
Rachels Special: Grilled Texas toast, bacon, avocado and jack cheese
Oscars Special: grilled chicken, roasted red peppers, red onions, pesto and sun dried tomatoes on foccacia
Sherris special: Real turkey, cheddar and tomato on grilled sour dough
Avocado or Eggplant on foccacia with red onion, roasted red pepper, spinach and jack cheese.
Jennifer and Todd's Cafe Soleil
3550 San Pablo Dam Rd
El Sobrante, CA 94803
Sunday 7 am 2:30 pm
Monday Saturday 6 am 2:30 pm
Café Soleil is located in the far right corner of Plaza Sobrante near Punjab Palace. There is lots of free parking.
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