A Place In The Sun
At Katy's, breakfast is a meal to be taken seriously.
Thursday, May 18, 2000
Breakfast at Katy''s Place is just about as cozy as its name makes it sound. A Carmel tradition, Katy''s has been the spot to make a coffee connection with your pals and hear the current local buzz for about 15 years now. There''s something comforting to be found in this genre of all-American eateries, where heavy ironstone mugs are repeatedly filled with bottomless brew by friendly waitresses who don''t hesitate to give you the latest 4-1-1. And where, if you''re nosy enough, you may learn that Katy''s manages just fine without a manager on-duty; the staff in both front and back is so long-term that singling out a manager would rock the boat and spoil a good thing.
This is the optimum time of year for a visit to Katy''s, before the summer fog season arrives to obscure the welcoming outdoor front patio--a perfect vista for observing Carmel as it wakes up. And visit we did, skipping around on the huge menu to acquire a diverse array of breakfast items that seemed to impress even our adjacent neighbors.
Why not have squid for breakfast, we ventured? One of my companions became the benefactor of a calamari steak that took up half the platter it came on, and even as we learned that it had been previously frozen, it was nonetheless tasty and tender, coated in well-seasoned bread crumbs and surprisingly good with poached eggs ($8.95). Here it should be noted that there is an artistry to the task of perfectly poaching eggs. It was a confidence-builder when our waitress inquired as to our preference for their doneness, indicating that our chances of getting them how we best enjoy them were increased. Watery, underdone poached eggs are the ultimate deal-breaker, an appetite-diluting breakfast travesty. Happily, these henfruit had been skillfully dried after their bath and boasted proud, medium-firm yolks of a sunny yellow disposition, doing credit both to the chicken that laid them and the cook that made them.
More kudos to Katy''s spuds. The country-style potatoes that accompanied each plate were crispy brown on all sides and seasoned just right, obviously fresh and not knowing the insult of sitting around on the back of the flat-top in anticipation of a breakfast rush. Another test, aced.
Since it was listed as a house specialty, I chose corned beef hash ''n'' eggs ($8.95). With jumbo chunks of corned beef brisket filling up the ceramic boat, there was no doubt that it was homemade. This version included the tasty addition of mushrooms, and was also accompanied by perfectly poached eggs. Across the table, my compadre enjoyed the south-of-the-border omelette, from an offering of nearly a dozen. This selection was stuffed full of spinach, tomatoes, onions and bell peppers, with a yummy glob of guacamole on top, and an agreeably zippy side of warm salsa ($8.95).
Since we didn''t show up just to mess around, we ordered blintzes with fresh berries and, with a bow to our continuing good health, a high fiber waffle for the table. The former was our favorite, filled with not-oversweet ricotta cheese, drizzled with berry syrup and flattered by fresh raspberries, strawberries, blackberries and blueberries ($8.95). The waffle, at $5.95, would have benefited from real maple syrup.
On the list of things to try next time is one of the 10 styles of eggs Benedict. We were sorely tempted by the Nova Scotia, done with smoked salmon and sauteed spinach, but on this occasion, one more plate would have required a banquet table, and our fast had been duly broken.