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California Brunch

Hoffman's in Downtown Santa Cruz for Brunch


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Restaurants & Bars California Brunch

Hoffman's in Downtown Santa Cruz for Brunch

Carb Lover | | Aug 27, 2006 04:27 PM

Y and I had the pleasure of meeting up w/ Alice Patis and her husband for Sat. morning brunch at Hoffman's. Located in downtown on Pacific, it's the kind of place that I walk by all the time and take for granted. The menu is pretty straightahead American cafe w/ Californian or European touches. What's nice is that they have a full bakery, so their baked goods are made in house. It's a pretty big operation since they also have a coffee bar w/ specialty coffees and make wedding cakes. Not to mention they open everyday from 8-9pm and have jazz on most nights.


Here's their current weekend brunch menu (kudos to them for keeping everything updated!):

Alice and her husband both ordered variations on the 3 egg omelets. Seafood combo for her and "Green Giant" combo for him. Egg dishes come w/ choice of hashbrowns or cafe potatoes, and cafe potatoes it was for both. Y got a variant on the standard Eggs Benedict by ordering the one w/ house-cured gravlax. All come on Hoffman's own sourdough bread, which may turn some off, although they might be able to accommodate substitutions. He got the hashbrowns on the side. I'm always on the hunt for a good waffle since I don't make them at home, so I ordered their waffle w/ the added option of tropical fruit (which I thought would come on the side, but more on that later). Three of us ordered regular coffee (they carry our favorite SC Coffee Roasting Co.) and one got the mocha w/ ganache.

A really nice touch is that they start you off w/ a complimentary basket of for each person. One was currant and the other was a spiced walnut. Here are photos of our spread along w/ prices:

Overall, I thought brunch was very pleasant. The food alone didn't bowl me over, but the ingredients were generally good, prices fair, and food was lighter and healthier (ie, not loaded w/ fat or salt) than most places. Good if you're watching what you eat or don't want to nap afterwards. I liked the fluffy, tender texture of the omelets, but was lukewarm on the fillings. Y's benedict came w/ three small poached eggs w/ rich, orange yolks but not left as runny as I like. Gravlax tasted good w/ a bit of dill, and the sauce was competent but not as dreamy as Canteen's in SF. The scones were probably my favorite part of the meal...

I was disappointed w/ my waffle since it wasn't as crispy or light as advertised, and the fruit came on top and not on the side, which made it even more soggy. While the fruit was fresh and fairly flavorful, I didn't care for the shredded coconut which made it really taste like dessert. Next time, I'll go for something more savory or maybe try the cheese blintzes.

I'm glad we made an OpenTable reservation since it was completely full at 11am w/ a short wait. They did bungle it up by giving our booth to another party, but they were apologetic and gave us some options. We waited for about 5-10 min. before getting a nice, comfy booth. The company was great as usual, and I felt vindicated when I saw Alice be directive about what her husband should order (I do the same thing!).

I feel like this place has potential, so what might be the gems among everything they offer? How about pastries? Also, any place to get a really good Belgian-style waffle in SC County?