Thursday, August 14, 2014

Holiday Weekend On the Island

Wilma's Patio
203 Marine Ave.
Newport Beach, CA 92662

It was the end of the Fourth of July holiday weekend, and we had made plans to meet up with my parents, sister, and her family for breakfast. Without even thinking, I mentioned meeting them on Balboa Island. I should have thought that parking was going to be horrible on a holiday weekend, but parking is almost always awful on Balboa Island. We had made plans  to meet at 10 AM, so I made Katie get up a few minutes early, and we headed out to battle the Balboa Island holiday traffic.

Actually, we found a spot rather quickly. Katie's not the worlds best driver, but the one thing she has going for her is that she can parallel park with the best of them. This was on full display on this particular morning. She got us in a very tight spot, and helped make us only five minutes late to meet my family. A major accomplishment for us, since my family is almost always early to everything, and this was the case on this morning as well. They had already put our name in at Wilma's Patio, so we had just a little bit of a wait.

When I did a search of sit down breakfast restaurants on Balboa Island, three restaurants popped up. One was the Village Inn, which I had been to before, another was a place I had never heard of, Picante Martin's, and the third was Wilma's, which I had seen many times, and have wanted to try for a good many years.

Wilma's Patio has been in business on Balboa Island since 1982, and is run by the Staudinger family. This is truly a family restaurant, as a lot of the workers here are part of that family, with many returning to help out during the busy tourist season. The namesake of the restaurant is beloved Balboa Island icon, Wilma Staudinger, who unfortunately passed away earlier this month. Wilma left day to day operations of the restaurant in 2007, but her legacy will live on through her family and restaurant.

After about a ten minute wait, we were seated on the enclosed, open air patio. It was a hot and humid day, and that weather followed us out to the patio. The menu at Wilma's is pretty straight forward for what you would expect to see on a breakfast menu. Lot of egg options, Mexican breakfasts, and of course pancakes and waffles are well represented here. Our order was taken promptly, and we waited for our food. This is how it all came out for us.

I was pretty hungry, and luckily, my meal came out of the kitchen first. I went with the Jalisco Scramble with Shredded Beef ($12.75). I had wanted carnitas, but they were out. This scramble was made with two eggs, tomato, onion, cilantro, and Serrano peppers. This was a pretty good version of machaca, and very filling. It was not really on the spicy side until I added some of the provided Tabanero, which is Tabasco's version of hot sauce. It was pretty good, but I'm still a Tapitio guy. This was served with some pretty average hash browns, which I would have liked better if they were crispier. You also have the option of getting toast or cornbread with your breakfast here. I liked this cornbread. It had a slightly sweet taste, and did not crumble, like a lot of the other cornbread I have had lately. I also enjoyed that it came with honey, without even asking for it.

Katie was feeling like having a Mexican breakfast as well, so she ordered these Egg Enchiladas ($12.50). I can't recall seeing egg enchiladas on any other breakfast menu before. These are simply scrambled eggs wrapped in a tortilla, then topped with enchilada sauce, and cheddar and jack cheeses with sour cream and guacamole on the side. Katie felt this was a solid and filling breakfast, but felt it was missing something, like maybe some chorizo or another breakfast meat. She would probably forgo this on future visits here.

It's always a crap shoot on if Lillie, my youngest niece, will eat all of her food. She had the Pancakes ($7) with a side of Bacon ($2). On this morning she ate all of her breakfast meats, but left most of the pancakes. I wouldn't say this is because she didn't like them, but she is pretty finicky when it comes to eating. I tried the pancakes, and they tasted fine to me. She was probably saving room for the candy she was hoping to buy after breakfast.

Both my mom and Kaylie, (my middle niece), had the Light Breakfast ($5.25 or $7.25 with the choice of fresh fruit). This is just the right size for people with smaller appetites. This breakfast comes with one egg, choice of bread, and a choice of bacon, ham, or sausage. Pretty standard stuff here, but they both enjoyed their breakfast on this morning.

My niece Gracie might be entering junior high this fall, but on this morning she ordered this French Toast Combination ($6) off of the kids menu. This plate came with two slices of french toast, one egg, and two strips of bacon. Gracie liked that the french toast was dusted with cinnamon and powdered sugar, and the egg was nice and buttery. She said she would love to come back to Wilma's Patio again for breakfast.

My dad almost always has an omelette when he goes out for breakfast, and being so near the ocean must have inspired him to have this Seafood Omelette ($18.95). These omelettes at Wilma's are made with three eggs, and this one included real crab, shrimp, Swiss cheese, onion, and tomatoes. Along with the provided toast and hash browns, this kept my dad stuffed until dinner. He really liked that the seafood was fresh, and he would not hesitate to get this again.

At Wilma's they have six kinds of Benedict's to choose from, and my brother-in-law Jarrod went with the Crabby Benedict ($18.95). Predictably this one featured the same real crab that was on my dad's omelette, along with all the other components of a typical Benedict; two English muffins, poached eggs, and a good amount of hollandaise sauce. Jarrod felt this was a rich dish, he loved the seafood on this, and the egg was poached just right for his taste.

The last meal on this morning was my sister's. She ordered the #1 Breakfast ($10.95) which includes two scrambled eggs, (she added cheese to these), choice of breakfast meats, hash browns, and toast. Just like the light breakfast, but with an extra egg, and $3 more. This breakfast was just the right size for her, and she still had plenty of pancakes to pick off of Lillie's plate.

Wilma's Patio is a pretty solid breakfast place, and way better than the breakfast that we had at the other Balboa Island spot we have been to for breakfast, the Village Inn. Yes the prices are kind of on the high side, but this is a touristy area, with high rents, so that is to be expected. The food is not going to blow you away with its originality, but eating here is a good way to start your day. Service was very good for how busy they were. The restaurant was run well, as they tried to get people in and out, without feeling too rushed. All in all this was good trip to Balboa Island on a holiday weekend. Good food, it was great seeing my family, and we even found a great parking spot.

Out of five boy scouts, (because the main thoroughfare to Balboa Island is Jamboree Road, and this road was named this because the Boy Scouts held their 1953 National Scout Jamboree where Fashion Island and Newport Dunes is presently), five being best to zero being worst, Wilma's Patio gets 3 boy scouts.

For more information about Wilma's Patio, go tot their website here:

Wilma's Patio on Urbanspoon

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