Here is a picture of the line of people waiting to eat brunch af San Diego's hottest brunch spot, Cafe 222, as well as my order of pancakes.
Reservations are not possible and the wait for a table is well over an hour. We investigated to see if the hype surrounding this popular Cafe is to be believed.
Cafe 222, opened in 1991 by Terryl Garve has won several gold medallion awards for Best breakfast.
We are finally seated inside, although we would have preferred a sunny sidewalk table. The decor displays some cute quirky touches that bring a smile to my face.
I ask for a bowl of fruit. Sorry, they tell me, we don't have any left. This strikes me as slightly peculiar since I am seated opposite a glass cabinet packed with fresh oranges, melons and bananas.
The cup of Earl Grey tea I ordered arrives. It's served with a bag in a glass mug. Nothing so refined as a teapot can be found here. Once it has cooled down enough for me to taste it, I am perplexed yet again. It doesn't display the slightest hint of bergamot. Thinking that maybe they made a mistake and gave me the wrong tea, I ask for a replacement. This time my server brings me the box to show me. The tea is awful. Hmmm. I wonder how come, if Cafe 222 allegedly serves the best breakfast in San Diego, they can't even source an Earl Grey tea that tastes like Earl Grey should?
Normally an Eggs benedict kind of girl, on this occasion I am foolishly tempted by the sweet sound of the orange pecan pancakes instead. A stack of three arrive at the table. They are just ok. For me, one would have been enough, particularly as the overpowering flavour is cinnamon, a fact not cited on the menu and a spice I don't particularly care for. Although I can see they have use flecks of rind in the batter, I can't actually taste any orange flavour, unless that little quarter slice of fruit on the edge of the plate is supposed to be it. You would think that the best breakfast place in town might include real maple syrup as a matter of fact. But no. You have to pay extra if you want the real stuff.
Fred asks for some sparkling water but they don't have that either so he goes without a drink. His order of scrambled eggs with toast and griddle potatoes is perfectly competent. The potatoes are good and crispy. But after a 90 minute wait he had expected an experience that was perhaps a little more memorable.
Cafe 222's Pumpkin Waffles were featured in Gourmet magazine, a fact that appears to have intensified its popularity. Me? I am just not buying it. It is nothing more than an adequate little breakfast place that doesn't quite live up to its grand reputation.