Babystacks Cafe – Pancakes for Dessert

Babystacks LogoIn our quest to find new and interesting places to eat breakfast, I came across BabyStacks Cafe. I noticed that it seemed to be highly rated online and a lot of people had great things to say about it. Despite being more of an ‘eggs and homefries’ breakfast type (who is more than a little addicted to Omelet House), I figured it was worth a try.

When we first got there, there was a bit of a wait. It was around noontime and we seemed to have hit quite the local lunch crowd. The wait wasn’t long – around 15 minutes. And even during that time there were a lot of people coming in and out for takeout. A good sign.

The interior was fairly bright and modern, with wooden tables and chairs and a feature wall that had their logo. There was also a wall where they had hung a bunch coloring book-type images of their logo, colored and signed by a variety of children. A small bar towards the back had limited seating and a TV. We were told that seating at the bar was also by reservation/line number – as opposed to some places that let you bypass the tables to sit at the bar.

Red Velvet

Red Velvet Pancakes

Once seated we had to wait a few minutes to order. Not a big deal since they were very busy. Being unable to decide, I ordered a short stack of the red velvet pancakes and the carrot cakes with a glass of milk. The boyfriend ordered a coffee and their specialty Kalua Grilled Cheese.

The drinks came out quickly but the food seemed to take a long time. It seems as though the kitchen was a bit overwhelmed with all the orders, which was kind of understandable given the constant line at the door.

Short Stack

Short Stack

When the food came, I was immediately impressed by the size of the ‘short stacks’. They looked delicious and tasted even better. The carrot cakes tasted just like a carrot cake smooshed into a pancake. The red velvet pancakes had an incredible color to them and were better than any red velvet cake I have ever had. I didn’t even end up using much of the cream cheese syrup that everyone talks about in the reviews. The pancakes tasted great without it.

Kalua Grilled Cheese

Kalua Grilled Cheese

I also tried a bite of the Kalua Grilled Cheese. It consists of Kalua Pork with cheddar and muenster cheese on sourdough bread. I thought it tasted really good, even though I wasn’t really craving cheese right then. The fries were also quite tasty.

I have to confess, I didn’t actually finish my pancakes – but only because they were so filling. I don’t know how big the normal stack is but I couldn’t even finish the small stacks (despite some help from the boyfriend). Seriously, I would recommend sharing them with someone unless you are REALLY hungry.

This is a place I would definitely recommend. I plan on trying to make it back, myself. There are some Lemon Ricotta and Bacon pancakes with my name on them….

  • Babystacks has two locations: The one we visited at 4135 South Buffalo Drive Suite 101 (Spring Valley) and the original at 2400 North Buffalo Drive Suite 145 (Summerlin).

Website:www.babystackscafe.com
Babystacks Cafe #2 on Urbanspoon

Rachel’s Kitchen – Al Fresco Dining Downtown

Rachel's Kitchen EntranceRachel’s Kitchen is a small local chain with four locations in the Las Vegas area, the newest of which just opened in Suite 160 of the Odgen Building at 150 North Las Vegas Blvd. Lunch (burgers, sandwiches and salads, with fresh juices and smoothies for the health conscious and a decent selection of beer and wine for the rest of us) will probably be their most popular meal. Breakfast is, however, what I went there to check out.

Rachel's Kitchen Dining AreaWe arrived at 9:30 am on a Saturday and the place was mostly empty. Rachel’s is a bright cheery space with a counter where you place your order and tables where you can relax while your food is prepared and delivered. We were in line behind a couple of guys from Las Vegas Fire and Rescue who were picking up a large order to bring back to the station, probably a good sign.

We ordered a hot mocha to share, I had the French Toast ($7.50) and my girlfriend ordered the Breakfast Burrito ($7.25). We were given a number to place at our table so our order could be delivered. We chose to take advantage of the mild weather and dine on the patio.

Rachel's Kitchen French ToastThe mocha arrived in a to-go cup. It was hot and was good, but really more of a hot chocolate. If you’re like me, and you want more coffee than chocolate flavor in your mocha, you better ask them to go easy on the chocolate. To be fair, I have this issue with most places that serve “mocha” drinks.

My french toast with fresh fruit was very nicely presented, and it tasted as good as it looked. It was made with a sweet bread and had strong flavors of cinnamon and vanilla. It was served with cut fresh fruit and syrup on the side. All the fruit was good, but the highlight was the pinapple, which tasted very fresh and juicy.

Rachel's Kitchen Breakfast BurritoI couldn’t resist tasting my girlfriend’s breakfast buritto. Inside were scrambled eggs, fresh salsa, fresh guacamole and cheese. Very nice! All wrapped in paper and cut in half, this would make a great breakfast on the go. It came with a side of home fries.

We found the staff to be very friendly, and overall the food was quite good. It’s great to have another restaurant downtown with outdoor seating. During our meal we were approached by a man looking for some change, otherwise it was quiet and peaceful watching the world go by from our table on Las Vegas Blvd. So place your order and take a seat out front, as long as you don’t mind being approached by a beggar or two. It might remind you that you’re in a real city, and not just an adult Disneyland.

Rachel's Kitchen Delivery Bicycle

  • Rachel’s Kitchen serves breakfast and lunch fare from 7am-7pm Mon-Thu, 7am-8pm Fri/Sat.
  • Local delivery is available (via bicycle!) from 10am-2pm. $20 minimum, $2.50 fee.
  • Rachel’s has three other locations: 3330 Hualapai Drive, 9691 Trailwood Drive and 2265 Village Walk Drive (in the District, Henderson)

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Breakfast Downtown – Du-Par’s Restaurant

DuPars-menuThis excellent breakfast place is located inside the Golden Gate casino, directly across from The Plaza. There are quite a few restaurants offering breakfast downtown but if you want a good, hearty breakfast this is your best bet.

The restaurant is fairly tiny but has a cozy, diner-type feel. The waitstaff is friendly enough and, while it is often crowded, we have not yet had to wait for a seat.

Eggs, muffins or pancakes are all good choices. I like the omelets, while my boyfriend prefers the (rather large) pancakes. I was impressed that they even attempted to grill a muffin for me. I guess that cutting a muffin in half and grilling it with butter is a Northeast thing, but they made a reasonable attempt at it.

DuPars-pancakesWe also ended up having dinner here once because of it’s convenient location across from the Plaza (where we were staying). I ended up having meatloaf and some pie, both of which were quite good. However, while there are tons of choices for dinner in Vegas there seem to be few decent (and easy to get to) breakfast places. For that reason, I think I will continue to make this a breakfast stop.

As for prices, I found them to be similar to what I pay at home in the Boston area, which I think is a bit expensive for Vegas. But I happen to be okay with paying a bit more for quality and I think Du-Pars is worth it.

Website: www.du-pars.com
Du-Par’s Restaurant & Bakery on Urbanspoon

Eat Downtown: Eat Came First

Eat_Downtown-entranceEat Downtown is a hip, vibrant breakfast and lunch spot at 707 Carson Avenue, just a couple blocks over from the El Cortez. Standing on the corner of Carson and Seventh, in front of the place, one only wonders where the hip, vibrant community is to go with it. Well, the Downtown Project promises there soon will be one, and it’s already got a culinary head start.

Once inside, you see bright whites, reds, and silvers, dark woods and masonry. There is a floor to ceiling mural on one wall by Krystal Ramirez that simply repeats “I will see you in the flowers” over and over again in cursive handwritten script. The kitchen is open, with a breakfast bar in front, lined with aluminum barstools. White tables carry real cloth napkins and are surrounded by simple red chairs that are more comfortable than they look. It feels clean and energetic. The music plays a little louder than most breakfast spots, and when I was last there, seemed to be leaning towards 90′s Seattle rock. I think it’s the first time I’ve heard Pearl Jam in a breakfast joint.

Eat_Downtown-Open-KitchenThe dishes at Eat are a little pricier than other downtown breakfast and lunch offerings, but for that little bit of extra cash you get fresh premium ingredients, and beautiful presentation. You can peak into their open kitchen and see your food being prepared with care. If the crowds I have seen when dining here are any indication, downtown is going to need a lot more restaurants like Eat if Tony Hsieh’s Downtown Project dream comes true.

The thing to get here is the breakfast foods, and to get breakfast, you must place your order before 11 am – at least during the week. They seem to be very particular about this. Even if you are seated before eleven, you will not be able to order off the breakfast menu one minute past eleven o’clock. Think of it as motivation to get an early start to your day. On the weekend you can sleep in a little bit, as they serve a separate Brunch menu on Saturday and Sunday from 8am until 2pm.

On my first visit I arrived too late for breakfast and wound up trying their Killer Grilled Cheese with Kick-Ass Tomato Salad ($9) from the lunch menu. The tomato salad was very fresh and flavorful, but the grilled cheese left me a little flat. The ingredients were quality, it’s just that the sandwich was dominated by the bread, rather than the gooey cheese I was anticipating, and the sandwich as a whole was a little dry. It wasn’t bad, but I guess with a name like “Killer Grilled Cheese” I expected to be wowed. Not this time. Thankfully, I decided to return for breakfast.

Eat_Downtown-BeignetsFrom the breakfast menu, the Made to Order Beignets with Seasonal Jam and Vanilla Mascarpone ($8) were perfectly presented, but fell a little short of the world-famous beignets that I’ve had in New Orleans. The jam and mascarpone were fantastic, but the beignets themselves were a bit dry and scone-like rather than fried-doughy like I had anticipated. Don’t get me wrong, we certainly cleared the plate, but I was glad we’d ordered some of their smooth, medium-bodied Coffee ($3) to wash them down.

Eat_Downtown-Truffled-Egg-SandwichThe Truffled Egg Sandwich ($11) is as delicious as it is beautiful. A large, soft, buttery croissant is loaded with eggs, cheese, mushrooms, chives and delicious thick sliced bacon. I needed to eat it with a knife and fork, but that’s a small price to pay for what I’m pretty sure is the best breakfast sandwich I have ever had. This is worth getting up early for. Yeah, it’s that good.

Eat_Downtown-pancakesOn my most recent trip to Eat (a Saturday Brunch), I ordered the Golden Brown Pancakes with Chicken Apple sausage and maple syrup ($9). There’s only one restaurant I know of downtown that has a reputation for amazing pancakes, but I decided to try these anyways. Well, once the word gets out there will be two. I wouldn’t have believed it if someone else told me, but the pancakes at Eat are even better than that other downtown restaurant. Slightly crisp and buttery on the outside and moist and fluffy on the inside, Eat makes the perfect stack of pancakes, every bit the equal of Du-Pars on their best day.

Eat_Downtown-real-maple-syrupWhat elevates the pancakes at Eat even further is the little jar of real maple syrup they give you on the side. There is no “pancake syrup” or “maple flavored” anything that tastes as good as the real thing, and that puts Eat over the top. I’m really surprised that they don’t make a bigger deal of this on the menu. The sausages were also good, but kind of an also-ran next to the pancakes. They’re sweet, mild and were cooked thoroughly without a hint of char.

My girlfriend ordered Two Eggs Any Style with Smoked Bacon, Chive Smashed Potatoes and Toast ($10). Her eggs, ordered over medium, were cooked perfectly, accompanied by two thick bacon slices, a good portion of home fries, toast and a split fresh strawberry for garnish – nice touch! Care is taken in the presentation of every dish. The extra effort makes the experience feel that much richer, and the food look that much more enticing. I expect this sort of chef artistry at a posh dinner restaurant, but at a breakfast joint with $10 entrees it’s quite special.

Eat is currently the only restaurant of it’s kind downtown, and it’s quite a bit more “revitalized” than the neighborhood that surrounds it. Chef Natalie Young delivers where it counts with good food across the board and a couple of standouts to keep people coming back. When people look back on the rejuvenation of downtown and ask which came first, the vibrant urban eateries or the vibrant urban community the answer will be clear: Eat came first.

Tips:

Eat_Downtown-Check

  • If you’ve never had real maple syrup you are in for a treat, but you should know that you don’t need nearly as much of it as you would the fake stuff. The little jar they give you might not look like much, but it’s more than enough.
  • If you plan to split the check, be sure to bring cash. If they are busy, and they pretty much always are, Eat requests that customers use only one credit card per table.
  • A rarity in Las Vegas, the on street parking in this area is metered. Bring a few quarters if you are taking a car.

Website: http://www.eatdowntownlv.com
Eat. on Urbanspoon
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Coffee Pub – Breakfast just off the Strip

Coffee Pub Las Vegas entranceWhile for me, the concept of eating breakfast in Vegas is new (I used to get up at the crack of noon – there is just to much to do in Vegas after hours), there are a lot of great breakfast options to be found. One of these places, located off-strip, is the Coffee Pub.

The Coffee Pub is located at 2800 W Sahara Ave and can be a bit of a trick to find. The sign is fairly obvious from the road but you have to drive into and towards the back of what appears to be an apartment complex. The place itself kind of blends in.

Lobster Omelet at Coffee PubWe were actually confused about how to get into the building when we arrived since there was work being done on the sidewalk. A waitress kindly came out and directed us. We ended up sitting on the patio since the weather was so nice.

The waitstaff remained happy and attentive throughout our meal. We both ordered omelets and shared a “Famous Frozen Mocha Java”. The food was great! The mocha java was a perfect blend of coffee and chocolate, not too sweet. And the lobster omelet was cheesy and creamy with a ton of lobster in it. I was very full when we left.

Famous Frozen Mocha JavaOverall, I thought this was a great little breakfast place. (They also serve lunch, though I have not tried that yet). I will definitely go back and try more of their food.

www.coffeepublv.com
Coffee Pub on Urbanspoon

A Hearty Breakfast: Omelet House

Omelet_House-welcomeOmelet House is another great Las Vegas restaurant tucked away in a strip mall. Located at 2160 West Charleston, Omelet House is a large, homestyle breakfast and lunch restaurant with huge portions, friendly service and delicious food.

Omelets, as you would guess, are their specialty, and they offer over thirty varieties from the basic “Just Cheese” ($7.99) with a choice of cheddar, jack, Swiss or American, to the over the top “Kitchen Sink” ($11.99) which weighs in at about three pounds and really does have everything but the kitchen sink in it. Each omelet is made with no less than six eggs, loaded with fresh fixings and accompanied by their made-to-order crisp, thick-sliced potato chips and a choice of homemade pumpkin or banana nut bread. The homemade breads are served warm, moist and fresh, with butter. Don’t tell my grandmother I said this, but their breads are even better than hers. I have had both and I’d have to give a slight edge to the pumpkin bread, but they are both amazing.

Pumpkin BreadFor $0.95 you can split your plate with your dining companion. This makes for a great value, as half an Omelet House omelet is plenty of food for most appetites, and each plate tends to come with more than a 1/2 portion of their delicious chips. On my last visit my girlfriend and I shared a “Black Forrest” (Swiss cheese, ham and mushroom omelet), which cost only $10.94 for both of us including the split plate fee. I ordered my own square of pumpkin bread ($2.19). With two bottomless coffees ($2.49 each) our entire meal came in under $25 including a generous (and deserved) gratuity. If dining alone they also offer a “small” portion, similar to what you would get when splitting, but at an $0.89 cent discount off the full portion ($9.10 in this case), this isn’t quite as strong of a value. Besides, this place is too good not to share.

Split Plate

Split Plate

Service is friendly and efficient. Not only did they not bat an eyelash when I announced I would like to share my omelet, they brought it out already divided and plated. Very nice! They have handled late arriving guests and early check requests (plane to catch!) with ease, and never fail to make me feel at home. Omelet House consistently fills me up and sends me away smiling.

Tips:

  • Omelet House also serves eggs benedict, pancakes, french toast and other standard breakfast fare as well as burgers and sandwiches for lunch.
  • If you have fond memories of the Omelet House at the Plaza, then rejoice! This is indeed the same place, except with shorter lines and better service. The decor isn’t quite the same, but the menu is!
  • The West Charleston location is the original, and the subject of this review, but if you can’t make it there try one of the other Omelet Houses at 316 North Boulder Highway in Henderson or 6520 Boulder Highway in Southeast Las Vegas.

Website: www.omelethouse.net
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