Top o’ the Mornin’

dinng_BackstageBreakfast has returned to the little restaurant at the tip of the Seabright neighborhood where Bea’s Koffee Kup once thrived. Today, Backstage Lounge, which now prepares dinner only for private parties, serves a unique array of breakfast and brunch specialties daily.

The stunning Crème Brûlée French Toast ($8.50) was an incredible treat. On two fat slices of golden brown bread with the airy texture of challah, custard was poured and drizzled with a swirl of dark molasses. Joining the main course was a pretty piped cone of butter, the texture of whipped cream, and a mix of bright berries, bananas and pineapple. The side of bacon ($3) was extra crisp.

The lightly sweetened dough of four deep-fried torpedo-shaped Corn Fritters ($7.50) was dotted with corn kernels and onions. For the accompanying side of protein I chose sausage. The large, lightly seasoned, hand-formed and grilled country-style patty included pieces of chopped meat. Fried tempeh is also a protein option. The tomato salsa was chunky and spicy.

Two thumbs up for the perfect pair of warm scones of the day ($4), which were crumbly and moist at the same time. With shiny glazed tops they were seasoned with soft pieces of ginger.

Apple, ham and cheddar cheese were loosely rolled in a sheet of pasta and cut into thirds to make the brunch-style Rosettes ($7.50) which rested in a milky sauce.

I greatly enjoyed the filling Huevos Racheros Tradicional ($7.50). Two thin, crisp, handmade corn tortillas, spread with creamy refried beans, lined a white, oval casserole. A pair of eggs, smothered in a pleasantly spicy, chunky tomato and onion Ranchero sauce, was generously topped with soft white queso.

Backstage Lounge, 1209 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz, 469-9900. Serving breakfast and brunch daily 7 a.m. to 2  p.m. Visit chocolatesantacruz.com/lounge.htm


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