Monday, September 30, 2013

Crowing About Our Trip to Early Bird

Early Bird 
1000 E. Bastanchury Rd.
Fullerton, CA 92835

I have always said that breakfast is the most difficult meal to make. Not that making an omelette is difficult, or pouring the frozen pancake batter into a skillet is burdensome. No, that part is easy, except for maybe Katie. Anyways, the tough part about breakfast is making it your own. Standing out from the crowd. Most breakfast menus contain the same old items. Pancakes, French toast, and some uninspired egg dishes.

Don't get me wrong, I love breakfast food, but I like when restaurants make breakfast their own by spicing things up. I can count on one hand the most memorable breakfasts we have had during the run of this blog. Matt's Big Breakfast in Phoenix, Doughnut Plant in New York, Mike's City Diner in Boston, and our only OC representative on our great breakfast list, Break of Dawn in Laguna Hills. All these places take breakfast items, and took them up a notch using great ingredients and making their dishes unique. After all I had heard about Early Bird, I had a sneaky suspicion that they could make it onto our great breakfast list. Let's see if this premonition would come true.

First a little background on Early Bird. This restaurant has been around for just over a year now. Joesph Mahon, the man behind the great burgers at Burger Parlor was the original boss of the kitchen, but earlier this year he left to focus on Burger Parlor. Enter new Executive Head Chef Frank DeLoach. With chef Frank at the helm, the kitchen has not missed a beat according to people that have eaten here before and after Mahon's departure. Early Bird is also expanding soon. They are going to be opening another location in Yorba Linda, a city that is definitely starved for a great breakfast place.

We met my parents at Early Bird at 10am on a recent Sunday morning, and were met with a 40 minute wait. I, of course did not mind waiting, because this place had been on my list of places to try forever. My parents must have sensed my excitement about this restaurant, as they were real troopers about the over half an hour wait, as they passed the time talking to both Katie and I. Early Bird is located in the same shopping center as Stater Bros. Once seated inside, I really thought the space was pretty comfortable. A lot of breakfast joints try to cram as many people in as possible, but the distance between tables here was nicely spaced. The decor here is pretty minimal, while conveying a nice clean image. The waitstaff texts orders into the kitchen on Blackberries, and then the food is brought out. I believe this was the first time I had seen this in a restaurant, and it seemed to be a good system. The food made it out to our table in a pretty timely manner, let's see how everything turned out for us.

We will start with my Dad's selection for breakfast, the Frank Floyd Benedict ($9.75). This Benedict was made up of poached eggs, roasted portabella, spinach, smoked salmon, and a Bearnaise sauce. My Dad seemed very pleased with this meal. He finished quickly, and felt that this was one of the best Benedicts he has had. The Bearnaise sauce was not too heavy, but still maintained a good flavor profile, the spinach was not over cooked, and the eggs were poached perfectly. Along with the Benedict, this was also served with a choice of potatoes, which my Dad got the Skillet Potatoes. These were fried well, not too greasy, and seasoned nicely. I always think it is odd when my Dad gets Rye Toast at breakfast, but it works surprisingly well. I'm not sure where they get their bread from, but this was a good marble rye.

Maybe not as artistic looking as the chilaquilles from Anepalcos, but in Katie's opinion, this version is pretty close when it comes to taste. This Carnitas Chilaquilles ($12.95) came with two eggs any style, carnitas, avocado emulsion, fried tortillas in a chili sauce, and queso fresco. She really liked this. She thought it was going to be a heavier dish than it was, but it surprised her with the lightness of it. The tortillas were fried perfectly, and the of course the eggs were prepared just as she had requested. I kind of thought that the carnitas got a little lost here, but Katie only parted with one bite of this, so maybe she was keeping them all to herself. We still like the chilaquilles at Anepalcos just a little bit better, but these are not to be missed here.

I had a pretty hard time making a decision on what to have at Early Bird, but when I saw the Duck Confit Hash ($13.50) it made my decision for me. I love duck, but do not get to have it too often, and I can not recall a time I had it with a breakfast dish. At Early Bird the duck is joined on the plate by two sunny side up eggs, arugula, potatoes, onions, scallions, and golden raisins. Let's start with the duck. It was not crazy greasy as some duck tends to be. It had a nice smoky flavor that went well with the eggs. The veggies were great, and I was skeptical about the raisins in this, but they helped balance out the plate by adding just enough sweetness. The serving size of this was just enough, (but of course I could have eaten a lot more). A very solid breakfast plate.

My Mom is pretty predictable when it comes to ordering in breakfast restaurants. She almost always gravitates towards breakfast sandwiches. It is kind of her thing I guess. After consuming her Grand Moff Breakfast Sandwich ($8.95), she exclaimed, "this is the best breakfast sandwich I have ever had". This is some pretty strong praise from a woman that knows a thing or two about breakfast sandwiches. This breakfast sandwich came with both sausage and bacon, a sunny side up egg, tomato jam, and smoked Gouda for the cheese. This is like an Egg McMuffin on steroids. Of course both bacon and sausage can never be a bad thing on anything, the smoked Gouda really was a nice choice here, and the tomato jam provided just a touch of sweetness to cut the smokiness from the breakfast meats. Glad this sandwich could make my Mom so happy.

Even though I had ordered the duck confit, I still had enough room for the special they were offering on this particular Sunday. I love waffle sandwiches, and the Elvis Waffle Sandwich ($7.95) did not disappoint. This waffle was filled with banana, bacon, and Nutella. I really liked this sandwich. The outside of the waffle was crisp, and held everything together well. The bacon was crisp as well, and was a nice contrast to the sweetness of the Nutella and banana. I think some peanut butter would have gone good with this also, just a hint for the guys at Early Bird when they want to offer this special again. It pained me to give bites of this away to my fellow table mates, but I did the honorable thing and gave them some.

I was pretty excited by all of the food we had at Early Bird. This definitely is a breakfast spot worth hitting up. They are doing some great things here for breakfast, and it has really piqued my interest to try their dinner soon. It is true that they are a little on the high side for breakfast, but you are paying for higher quality than you would get at Denny's and other regular breakfast spots. They are using locally grown ingredients from family farms here, and the result is a better tasting breakfast. It is safe to say that after eating at Early Bird, they have now made it onto our list of the most memorable breakfast places we have been to during the run of our blog.

Out of five worms, (come on, this was an easy one because everyone knows what the early bid catches), five being best to zero being worst, Early Bird gets 4 worms.

For more information about Early Bird, check out their website here:

Early Bird on Urbanspoon

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