Haute Cakes Caffe
1807 Westcliff Dr.
Newport Beach, CA 92660
It has gotten hard to get together with my friend Chris and his wife Adrienne. Back in the old days we used to just hangout in whatever bar they happened to be working at, but those days are long gone now. We all got older, they have a kid, and another one on the way. So we have to make a special effort to get together. For some reason with this pregnancy, Adrienne has not had morning sickness, but she gets sick at night. It was my suggestion that we meet up for breakfast. I picked a place that was close to their house and a place that gets good reviews on-line. We headed to Haute Cakes Caffe.
Haute Cakes Caffe is located right past where 17th street turns into the more fashionable part of town, Westcliff Drive. I remember eating in this sleepy strip mall one other time before, at Pizza Bakery probably about fifteen years ago. Haute Cakes Caffe has been in business since 1990, and they are definitely the big draw around here. We got here at 9:15 on a recent Sunday. The line was nearly out the door, but it moved along at a decent pace. After ordering at the register, you are given a number, then the food is brought out to you. There is limited seating inside, but even more seating out in front of the restaurant. That's where we grabbed a seat, and waited for our food.
Who says you can't have cookies at breakfast? This is actually me striking back at my parents for not letting me have Cookie Crisp cereal when I was a kid. At least that is my defense. Don't judge. While we were waiting in line, we just happened to be next to the bakery case, so of course I had to try their Chocolate Chip Cookie ($2). This was one of the best cookies I have had in awhile. It had plenty of chocolate chips, a good crunch to it, and was not overly sweet. This cookie disappeared quickly. Chris and Adrienne must have been seduced by the bakery display case as well because they got a slice of Banana Chocolate Chip Bread ($1.50). At first glance this bread looked to be on the dry side, but that was deceiving. It was moist, and like the cookie it had plenty of chocolate chips. The banana flavor was very mellow in this bread. Not a bad start to our meal.
Both Chris and Katie got the same thing for breakfast, which really helps me by cutting down on the length of this review. It is really a win for all of us, because then you do not have to read my awful writing any longer than necessary. They both ordered the Italian Scramble ($9.95). This scramble came with scrambled eggs, Parmesan cheese, Roma tomatoes, red and yellow peppers, onions and Italian sausage. With all of these great items involved in this scramble, I would have expected them to like this more than they did. The ingredients used here were very fresh, but both of them thought that nothing really stood out on this plate. Katie would get something different on her next visit here.
I will give the plates at Haute Cakes Caffe some major credit for creating very colorful breakfasts. Just looking at this All American Scramble ($9.95) it is definitely bright enough to wipe the sleep out of your eyes for sure. This scramble came with cheddar cheese, two eggs, tomatoes, avocado and bacon. To be honest, even with all of this color this dish was nothing but average. Not awful, but the bacon was not prevalent enough here, and this really needed a pop of flavor. A little more cheese would not have hurt either. This came with roasted red potatoes, toast, and fruit. The fruit was definitely fresh, and the sourdough toast was pretty solid. The potatoes were okay, but some of the bigger hunks needed to be cooked a little more, and all the potatoes needed more seasoning.
When these Blueberry Cornmeal Haute Cakes ($6) were brought out, I thought there had been a mistake. There did not appear to be any blueberries, but I flipped them over and found them. These cornmeal cakes came very highly suggested by people on-line. I was not too much of a fan. To be fair, I am not one that gets excited by cornbread, and these kind of tasted like cornbread in pancake form. They were a little on the dry side, with very little flavor. I would have probably liked these with a little more syrup, but I did not want to brave the crowd that was blocking the doorway of the restaurant.
Adrienne is not a very adventurous eater, and at Haute Cakes Caffe she held true to form. She went with the Haute Combination ($9.75). This combination was made up of two scrambled eggs, three strips of bacon, two buttermilk haute cakes, and fresh fruit. She gave her eggs over to Chris right away in trade for some of his potatoes. She's not much of an egg person. She liked the lightness of the pancakes, but thought that they lacked substance. The bacon was cooked well, and she felt the fruit was fresh. Hard to please Adrienne was not very impressed with her breakfast.
I guess you can say that none of us were really all that impressed with Haute Cakes Caffe. Nothing was really awful, but nothing really struck us as all that great. The highlight of the meal for me were the baked goods that we had before our breakfasts arrived. Breakfast is the one meal that I think is the most difficult for restaurants to make themselves standout. Most breakfast menus are very traditional, and it is hard for them to stray from the favorites that everyone likes. I kind of liked the vibe here at Haute Cakes. It was kind of hipster/Newport, without being overly annoying. The service was also pretty solid here. The food came out in a timely manner, and the staff was pretty diligent about clearing plates from tables. It was good to see Chris and Adrienne, but if we come back to Haute Cakes, we will just stick with their baked goods.
Out of five seat cushions, (because four out of the top 12 employers in the city of Newport Beach are resorts, and the second most popular items stolen in hotel rooms are seat cushions. Crazy, right?), five being best to zero being worst, Haute Cakes Caffe gets 2.5 seat cushions.
For more information about Haute Cakes Caffe, click here: http://www.hautecakescaffe.co/