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Great "Small" Breakfasts in Restaurants and Cafes in Irvine, California

Updated on September 5, 2016

I love breakfasts in restaurants and cafes!

Nothing better than positive energy to start off the day! Cheerful and friendly, waiters and patrons are eager to share tidbits of the start of everyone's day. Heavenly is the whiff of brewing coffee and whirr of grinders preparing roasted beans for the pumps of the espresso machines. Can be heard is the hissing of grills with sausages, bacon, and ham. Coming to tables are plates of eggs fluffy scrambled and omelets packed with mushrooms, onions, and cheese.

The weather outside can be awful but inside, it is all warmth and yummy goodness. If the weather is nice, the patios are beaming full.

Most restaurants and cafes offer full breakfasts. Eggs - scrambled, omelet, poached, fried - will always be a prominent offering. Pancakes, waffles, French Toasts, and crepes are popular. Potatoes as hash browns, fried and sautéed are offered as sides. Whole grains, breads, muffins, sconces, croissant, are always present.

Honey & Biscuits






The Joy of "Small" Breakfasts in Favorite Restaurants and Cafes

More often than not, it is the "small" breakfasts that time allows. Usually, "small" breakfasts have to be culled from main menu offerings or picked out from a list of foods offered. Excitement accompanies the intense study of printed menus on glossy cardboard, or on blackboard and chalk listings, or overhead behind the counter. So rewarding is the triumphant feeling of finding just the perfect "small" breakfast.

The famous restaurant critic Frank Bruni wrote the following lines in an article for Epicurious, " Favorites simply connect with you in visceral and almost inarticulable ways: ways that aren't about objective achievement or concrete shortcoming." We all have our favorite restaurants and cafes that we love to go to depending on our mood and sensibility, the weather, and the company.

Up and about early in the day to meet before work or walk, my friends and I look for coffee, a filling breakfast, and friendly ambiance.

The restaurants and cafes are located in Irvine, a young city in Orange County in Southern California and a master-planned community, whose citizens are afforded comfortable distances to restaurants. Restaurants are located within five or 10 minutes drive of each other and have good parking.

Mimi's Cafe

Cafe Latte and Muffins
Cafe Latte and Muffins
5 stars for Mimi's Cafe

Mimi's Cafe for Coffee, French Toast or Muffins

Mimi's Cafe serves the best cafe latte. Lively with early morning activity, my latte topped with steamed, creamy milk is served in a generous sized coffee mug. It is just the best thing that will come to you on that breakfast table.

Next comes Pain Perdu which is essentially French Toast. Pain Perdu is listed in the Hot Off The Griddle menu and served with two eggs, and hickory smoked bacon, pork sausage, or turkey sausage. For a "small" breakfast, Pain Perdu can be served ala carte, by itself and it comes as a French Toast layered with cream cheese and orange marmalade.

If muffin is a preference, Mimi's muffins are awesome. You have a choice of Lemon Poppy Seed, Honey Bran, Carrot Raisin Nut, Buttermilk Spice, Chocolate Mouse, and Low Fat Blueberry.

Mimi's Cafe was inspired by a captivating mademoiselle in France and the lasting remembrance of the beauty, foods and flavors of France by an American airman. Although the restaurant is now part of a chain of 100 plus restaurants owned by Bob Evans Farms, Inc. , Mimi's Cafe in Irvine exudes the warmth and coziness of a small bistro with a dynamic spirit at breakfast.

Breakfast can be served in the restaurant, in the patio, and at the bar. They open at 7:00 a.m. The address is 4030 Barranca Parkway, Irvine, CA 92604.

Mimi's Cafe

4030 Barranca Parkway, Irvine, Ca:
4030 Barranca Pkwy, Irvine, CA 92604, USA

get directions

Mimi's Cafe

Corner Bakery Cafe for Steel-Cut Oatmeal with Nuts, Dried Cranberries and more

The first Corner Bakery opened in downtown Chicago to bake bread for Maggiano's Little Italy. The original menu featured fresh baked breads, great coffee and espresso. After several years and new owners, the menu expanded to include hot breakfasts and made-to-order egg dishes as well as lunch and dinner items like pasta and grilled paninis. In 1999 Corner Bakery added "Cafe" to its name giving merit to an extensive menu in addition to baked goods. It is now owned by Roark Capital Group with 149 outlets throughout the the country.

With a hectic atmosphere and very busy because of the working crowd before 9:00 a.m., Corner Bakery offers made-to-order egg scramblers, hot breakfast sandwiches, fresh fruits, and scrumptious bakery sweets.

My "small" breakfast menu choices center on oatmeal prepared three ways::

Steel-Cut Oatmeal topped with your choice of currants, dried cranberries, brown sugar, toasted walnuts and almonds.

Chilled Swiss Oatmeal with low fat yogurt, rolled oats, green apples, bananas, currants, dried cranberries and skim milk served with raisin pecan sweet crisp. The raisin pecan sweet crisp is very good and in fact could be a great "smaller" breakfast with a nice cup of coffee.

Crunchy Honey Banana Oatmeal made of steel-cut oatmeal topped with crunchy granola, toasted almonds, dried cranberries, and fresh sliced bananas, then drizzled with honey and served with raisin pecan sweet crisp.

Corner Bakery Cafe in Irvine opens at 7:00 a.m.

Corner Bakery Cafe

17575 Harvard Ave., Ste A, Irvine, CA:
17575 Harvard Ave, Irvine, CA 92614, USA

get directions

Champagne French Bakery Cafe for Crepes with Strawberries and Sweetened Cream Cheese, Pastries and more

Before or after an early brisk walk in the cool morning air, my walking partner and I usually mosey in to Champagne French Bakery Cafe in sweats and walking shoes. Champagne French Bakery Cafe is located in Woodbridge where walkers, cyclists, joggers and runners crisscross at all times throughout the day. After a brisk walk, a table in the patio is calming and restful. They also have ample indoor seating.

True to its name, the restaurant serves baked pastries, scones, croissants and French dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner in a cafe setting. We come here for the French roll or baguette and coffee. We also like their strawberry and cream crepe which is filled with sweetened cream cheese, fresh strawberries with vanilla syrup, and with whipped cream on top. If we are in a rush, we order crepe to go, spread with Nutella or just plain sugar, and enjoy it on the walk home.

Champagne French Bakery Cafe in Woodbridge is part of a 15-cafe chain that had its beginnings in San Diego in California. The 15 cafes can be found in San Diego, Orange, Los Angeles and Marin Counties.

The Champagne French Bakery Cafe in Woodbridge open at 7:00 a.m.

Champagne French Bakery Cafe

French Champagne Bakery Cafe

4628 Barranca Parkway, Irvine, CA 92604:
4628 Barranca Pkwy, Irvine, CA 92604, USA

get directions

Layer Cake Bakery and Cafe for Coffee, Croissants and Pastries

Layer Bakery and Cafe is just down the same walk path along San Diego Creek as Champagne French Bakery Cafe. Less busy than Champagne French Bakery Cafe in the morning, its patio seating is also more relaxed. Well known for its baked goods like macaroons and cakes, my friend and I come in for really good brewed coffee. We sit on the patio, share life's ups and some downs, and lazily peek at the cars that whiz by on Barranca. At the patio, we say hello to an acquaintance or two that would drive up for their morning coffee and croissant.

An independent, neighborhood bakery owned and run by sisters , Layer Cake makes almost everything, including gluten-free baked goods, from scratch in its location. In addition to its baked goods, breakfast dishes like scrambled eggs, omelets and brioche French Toast are now offered. They also serve lunch and offer salads, sandwiches and soup.

Monday to Friday , Layer Bakery and Cafe open at 7:00 a.m. and Saturdays and Sundays, at 8:00 a.m. It is located at 4250 Barranca Parkway, Irvine, CA 92604.

Layer Cake Bakery Cafe

Patio Seating in front of Layer Cake Bakery Cafe
Patio Seating in front of Layer Cake Bakery Cafe

Layer Cake Bakery and Cafe

4250 Barranca Parkway, Irvine, CA 92604:
4250 Barranca Pkwy, Stonecreek Plaza, Irvine, CA 92604, USA

get directions

Sam Woo Restaurant for Congee

Very different from the restaurants and cafes above is Sam Woo Restaurant that serves Chinese food. The breakfast congee experience is wonderful. A small bowl of hot congee or hot rice porridge with fish, meat or vegetable and Chinese restaurant tea is comfort food especially in cold weather. I found a generous, and I mean ample, amount of chunks of fish in the little bowl of congee that satisfies.

One will have to be content with a late breakfast at Sam Woo which opens at 11:00 a.m.

Sam Woo Restaurant

15333 Culver Drive, Irvine, CA:
15333 Culver Dr, Irvine, CA 92604, USA

get directions

Books on Food

Here are books that stimulate my imagination and appetite. These books help me look at a menu and wonderful thoughts come to mind and makes menu selection exciting.

A Toast To Great Mornings!


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