Thursday, August 27, 2009

Thrifty Thursdays: The California Breakfast


A classic diner plate of eggs at your local cafe costs anywhere from $4-$8, which may not be a lot of money, but if you make your eggs at home, you're going to be saving a massive percentage off the restaurant price. Even if we're not making filet mignon at home on Thrifty Thursdays here at Beach City Cooking just yet--and in that case we'd be talking about much larger actual dollar savings, of course--I think the spirit of this column really lies in that great feeling you get when you make something at home, and not only is it delicious and not only do you have the deep satisfaction of knowing exactly which ingredients were used in the dish, but you're also feeling great because you know that purchasing this food at a restaurant or a grocery store would cost more and be less satisfying to you.

As far as I can tell, there's no such thing as "the California breakfast," but there are such thing as the California omelet, and the California burrito. We're concerned more so with the former today, because the California burrito is a bizarre Cal-Mex combo of carne asada, french fries, and lots of cheese. I'm not the biggest fan of burritos, so let's stick to California breakfast items today.


The California omelet, typically, consists of sliced avocado, a mildly sharp Cheddar or a little Monterey Jack, and, of course, eggs. You might find other veggies in there, or a different cheese, but that's the basic combination I've seen around. While I love omelets, sometimes I'm in the mood for a different preparation of eggs. Plus, I love avocado, but I've seen a couple ways in which avocado is incorporated into the California burrito. First, there's the Jersey-Style omelet (which, according to Kenny Shopsin in his book, is a super-flat, griddled omelet where the ingredients are placed in the interior and the omelet is folded in and over) version of the California omelet, which I've seen at the Night and Day cafe on Coronado island. That was a pretty delicious omelet. Then you have a more traditionally-made, half moon-shaped omelet, but with the California version of that, I've typically seen the avocado slices laid out on top of the omelet, as opposed to being in it--which, for me, kind of takes away from the omelet-eating experience.


So, California omelets can be great, but sometimes I just like a more traditional plate of eggs. Two eggs, toast, and sliced avocado, to me, would constitute what I'd call the California version of the traditional American diner breakfast. With, say, fried eggs in particular, you can get a nice bite of everything at once--toast, avocado, yolk, and white. There's thriftiness to making this (or a California omelet) at home, too, because avocado is usually $1-$2 extra for just a few slices at the local breakfast places, and a whole, fresh avocado costs less than that. Plus, even if you just get eggs and toast at a diner, that's going to be upwards of $4 (plus tip), while it only costs far less than a dollar for two eggs and a slice or two of toast. Sounds like a satisfying deal to me!


Thanks for stopping by Beach City Cooking, and I'll see you all later today for the first edition of that long-promised new feature. Have a great rest of your Friday, and stay cool!

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