Monday, April 2, 2007

Cici and Me

If there was one type of eatery I wish was more plentiful in the valley, it would be restaurants that specialize in breakfast. IHOP has been done to death, and while their smiley faced pancakes are cute, their food doesn’t surpass standard breakfast fare.

Looking for something different I stumbled into Cici’s CafĂ©, a somewhat new restaurant in Tarzana (right near an IHOP). Their breakfast menu certainly was extensive, offering a wide variety of pancakes and waffles with interesting sounding names, and at times bizarre ingredients. Take for example the “Pig in the Mud,” a pancake with chocolate and ham. They also offered a nice selection of omelets, as well as the usual breakfast items like oatmeal and fruit. Most breakfast items were in the range of $8-$10.

It took me a long time to decide on what to order. Normally when I go out for breakfast I look for egg white omelets filled with vegetables, oatmeal, and as a side I always get fruit if its an option. When asked about toast I always get wheat, but hardly ever eat it. It normally just sits pushed a safe distance away from me so I'm not tempted to eat two large and normally buttery slices. My decision finally settled on the "Ceec Omelet" as suggested by the waitress; an egg white optional omelet with turkey sausage, sun dried tomatoes, spinach, portobello mushrooms and boursin cheese. I hardly ever get cheese, but today felt like a special day.

My girlfriend opted for the "To Infinity and Beyond" waffles; waffles, banana’s flambĂ©, and vanilla bean ice cream. The beyond part probably has something to do with a sugar high. I couldn't start the day with ice cream, but to each their own. If you do want to start the day with a waffle or pancakes check to see if the restaurant offers a whole wheat option, if not stick to the plain variety. Treat syrup like I treat dressings; on the side, and instead of poured on dipped into with your fork before picking up food. Or do one better and inquire if the place offers sugar-free syrup, or get a side of fruit to top off the waffle. This is a way to sweeten the deal without adding tons of calories.

The omelet was dense but fluffy, exactly what I wanted. The cheese which I was unfamiliar with wasn’t melted like I thought it would be, but plopped on top as well as partially spread on the inside of the omelet. I wasn’t a big fan of its cream cheese consistency, or its zesty herb taste, but luckily there wasn’t a huge amount of it to deal with. Sans cheese I found the omelet only alright. I was hoping it would have been crammed full of the mentioned ingredients, but primarily it was just chunks of turkey and some tomatoes (not sun dried) and mushrooms. It tasted fine, I just wanted more. The side scalloped potatoes that it came with were exactly that, scalloped potatoes. Nothing special to flavor it, they were just ordinary. Come to think of it that cheese probably would have been good with them.

Now my girlfriend’s meal was another story. Hers both looked and tasted great. A large and warm waffle with just the right amount of banana and ice cream, I should have gone for the waffles. They gave her syrup, but as she indicated there was no need. She also noted that because the waffle was warm she had to eat it fast; otherwise she’d be swimming in melted ice cream. Calorie wise it was probably off the charts, but as a once in the while treat it would be a nice reward.

The bill came to about $21 sans drinks, which seemed alright considering portion sizes. But would I go back? To try the pancakes and waffles yes, but I’ll steer clear of the omelets. It’s definitely a place worth considering when in the area.
Cici's Cafe
18912 Ventura Blvd
Tarzana, CA 91356
(818) 881-6704

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