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Pappo: not just for dinner anymore!

Ruth Lafler | Mar 26, 2006 07:10 PM

Although it has lots of breakfast joints, Alameda has long been in need of a nice, upscale brunch venue. So I was excited when my sister told me that Pappo was starting brunch service this Sunday.

Donna (their pastry chef) has taken over as the brunch chef, and the food really showed the baker's touch.

The meal starts with a complimentary plate of little baked goods: we got three mini sugar buns and a small croissant, but I also saw some fruit breads on another table.

There are about half a dozen entrees on the menu -- basically California cuisine versions of traditional brunch items. Although I was tempted by the Meyer lemon buttermilk pancakes, I ordered the spinach, carmelized onion and gorgonzola quiche. It was excellent: the egg base of the quiche was light and almost creamy, the flavors were well-balanced, and the crust was crisp and buttery. It came with two generous-sized breakfast sausages made right in Alameda at Baron's Meats (Hobbes bacon was an alternative).

My brother-in-law went for what will surely be the signature dish: duck leg hash. I just had a tiny bite, but it was good -- flavorful without being overpowering. My sister decided that someone should order the breakfast standards (eggs, potatoes, bacon/sausage and toast (or in this case, choice of biscuit or Enlish muffin)). The biscuit was wonderfully light but moist, another reminder of the baker in the kitchen. The "Pappo potatoes" were an interesting twist: they looked like medium-cut french fries cooked home-fries style with bits of onion, etc. All three plates came with a small pile of arugula lightly dressed with fresh orange juice.

Entrees ranged from $10-15 -- a little on the expensive side, but not unreasonable for the quality of the ingredients and the preparation.

Even though this was their first day of brunch service, the place was hopping, and in family-oriented Alameda, my niece was far from the only baby in attendance. With the sun streaming through the skylights and the big front windows open, it was a perfect setting for brunch. Sundays only -- I don't know how early they start, but brunch service runs until 1:30.

2320 Central Ave. (at Park Street)

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