Thursday, April 11, 2013

Stacking the Deck for a Great Breakfast

Stacks Pancake House
27680 Marguerite Parkway
Mission Viejo, CA 92692

I figure that in the span of writing this blog, I have eaten in restaurants close to three times a week. A lot of these restaurants kind of just blend into each other. It is really hard for most restaurants to stand out from the others. That probably explains why most restaurants that we have rated only get average, to slightly above average scores. I sometimes even have trouble remembering what I have eaten in some of the restaurants we have reviewed.

That is not the case with Stacks Pancake House. We first went to Stacks in Dana Point almost one year ago. I can clearly remember the ride down there and the weather on that day. More importantly I can remember how much I liked our experience, and one item in particular, the Captain Mac French Toast. More on that later. I was very excited when Stacks had announced that they would be opening a second location, one that would be cutting our breakfast drive time to no more than ten minutes, with none of that time spent on the freeway. So we waited a few weeks to let them settle in, then when we could wait no longer, we headed to their new location in Mission Viejo.

We got to Stacks at about half past nine on a Sunday morning. This restaurant is located in a pretty low traffic shopping center that features Jojo's pizza, a Chinese restaurant, and no other real stores of note. The word must have gotten out about Stacks, because when we arrived the line was nearly out the door. One qualm I have had with Stacks is the ordering process. Ordering is done at the counter, then you have to hunt for a place to sit. This process is not as bad at this location, because the dining area features more tables. We did not have people watching us eat while they were waiting for our table like we had at the Dana Point location. We were given a number, and this how the food came out to us.

Let's start off our dining adventure at Stacks with Katie's choice for breakfast, the Kahlua Pork Benedict ($8.50). This Hawaiian twist on the classic eggs Benedict was a favorite of Katie's. She really liked the pork used here, felt the hollandaise sauce was on point, and the egg was well done. She did think this dish was rich, and she did have trouble finishing it all. This was served with home fried potatoes, which Katie thought were pretty standard, but good.

I also could not resist the call of the pork, so I opted for the Kahlua Pork Omelette ($8.50). This omelette comes stuffed with pork, cheddar and jack cheeses, onions, and was topped with a chipotle ranchero sauce. The egg and pork portion of this omelette were very good. The egg was very buttery and well cooked, while the pork was very tender, with just a hint of the Kahlua flavor. I was really surprised that they jammed so much pork in this omelette. My problem with this omelette was that there needed to be more cheese inside, and the chipotle ranchero sauce was used sparingly over the top of it, and added no flavor to the plate. Like Katie, I liked the crispiness of the home fried potatoes, but they ended up just being average. I would get this again, but ask for more cheese and some Tapatio on the side.

One of my favorite items that we have photographed on this blog has been the Captain Mac Nut French Toast ($6.95). Like a supermodel, this breakfast dish can not take a bad picture. At Stacks they use King's Hawaiian sweet bread as the base for their french toast. Then they add crushed up macadamia nuts and Captain Crunch cereal to the french toast. As if that was not enough, each table is stocked with a syrup dispenser filled with coconut syrup. The result is one of the best breakfast plates we have had. The sweetness of this french toast is not as overpowering as you might think, due to the earthiness from the macadamia nuts and the coconut syrup. The outer portion of the french toast has a slight crust to it, which gives it some good texture. This is a must try item when coming to Stacks.

After having the Captain Mac french toast, I could not be happier that Stacks has chosen to move closer to my house. This one item really makes this restaurant for me. We liked the egg items that they have here, but they pale in comparison to the awesomeness that is the french toast. The menu at Stacks is kind of a hodgepodge of different influences. The heavy influence is Hawaiian, but for lunch they also serve Korean short ribs, teriyaki plates, and crepes, along with burgers and traditional sandwiches. It would be hard for me to come here and not get breakfast though. The service during our visit was pretty good. The girls running the food out and clearing the tables were working pretty hard. I think the prices here are on the good side, and definitely on par with other breakfast joints in the area. I am really happy that Stacks has brought one of our most memorable menu items closer to my house. Thanks Stacks for cutting down on what we would have spent in gas getting to you.

Out of five kangaroos, (because the leading producer of macadamia nuts and the birthplace of the famous nut is not Hawaii, but Australia), five being best to zero being worst, Stacks Pancake House gets 3.5 kangaroos.

For more information about Stacks Pancake House, click here:

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