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Cajun cuisine breaks into Burbank

July 08, 2011|By Rebecca Bryant
  • The Southern Crab Stack comes with a jumbo lump crab cake and is smothred with a shrimp sautee, at Another Broken Egg Cafe in Burbank on Wednesday, June 29, 2011. (Raul Roa/Staff Photographer)
The Southern Crab Stack comes with a jumbo lump crab cake…

They say you have to break a few eggs to make an omelet. But how many do you have to crack to create a successful chain of brunch cafes? The owners of Another Broken Egg Café are trying to find out.

The family of restaurants that started in Louisiana on the shore of Lake Pontchartrain has expanded across the Southeast and into California with a space on Olive Avenue in Burbank.

Images of a cozy Cajun cafe ruled by a drawling waitress telling you to finish your grits disappear as soon as you walk into the first-floor space in the non-descript Cusumano Plaza office building. The large space isn’t homey by any stretch, though the buttery yellow wainscoting, muted orange and light-green paint and upholstery, and artwork featuring flowers and fruit, offer some warmth. The friendly and helpful wait staff offers more.

The food is what gives the cafe its hint of Southern flavor. The breakfast-to-lunch menu ranges from down home to uptown, from grits to grilled Cajun tuna.

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It’s a good sign when a Louisiana-born joint offers beignets—pillows of fried dough dusted in powdered sugar that call up visions of the Cafe du Monde in New Orleans. The café offers biscuit beignets, a hybrid of beignets and hush puppies. The first time we ordered, they came to the table dark and hard after too much time in the fryer. On our next visit, they came out piping hot, cracking open like the egg on the café’s logo, and perfectly crisp on the outside and moist in the middle. It’s worth burning your fingertips to dip them in the accompanying honey-orange marmalade.

Grits on any Southern-flavored menu is another good sign. But blackberry grits? Grits are a delivery device, usually for salt and fat — cheese, butter, bacon, ham. So the fruit seemed questionable. The little ramekin of grits topped with berries did not look promising; in fact it looked a bit like ruined yogurt. But looks can be deceiving. The The sweet pop of the ripe berries and... and the creaminess of the grits made a perfect match.

The Bacquezo, one of 14 omelets offered, is filled with bacon and a bit of cream cheese and topped with scallions, smoky crumbled chorizo and Monterey jack cheese — a great combination. The omelet was about as big as the forearm of the kid who ordered it. Unless you’ve got considerable capacity, this would be an excellent dish to share.

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