Saturday, August 20, 2016

Plums Cafe + Bakery

Location: 369 E. 17th Street
Costa Mesa, CA 92627

     In an inconspicuous corner of a strip mall lies an oasis for gourmet breakfast food. This restaurant is the delectable Plums Café + Catering. Although the title has "plum" in it the fruit is not markedly featured.

     As one comes to the corner of the shopping center they can notice a line wrapping around the entrance. There is a spacious patio and indoor area for seating. The atmosphere is clean and pleasant while maintaining that homey-local feel.

     Upon taking my order from a waiter going on five years working at Plums (Jack), he was surprised to know I was a first-timer. From the amount of business, the restaurant appears a local favorite and that’s always a good sign for delicious and consistent quality food.

     Speaking of food…

     The Raspberry Pancakes (imaged above) were unbelievably delicious. The stack was topped with actual raspberries, vanilla cream, and drizzled with raspberry sauce. The best part, however, was that in the middle of the stack there were another bunch of raspberries and a dollop of vanilla cream. Unlike most places where one orders blueberry pancakes or strawberry pancakes and the restaurant merely give regular pancakes with flavored sauce, this one held up to its promise of actual raspberry pancakes! Every cut into the fluffy stack was guaranteed to have a forkful of soft pancakes, berries, sauce, and cream. The texture of the pancakes was consistent throughout. There was not a hint of powder or grain in this beautiful stack. Every bite would melt in your mouth before you even had time to chew. This is one of those dishes where you would lick the plate when finished. Raspberry pancakes are their most popular pancake dish.

      The Banana Brulee Oatmeal is a rather large bowl of warm oatmeal with a series of caramelized banana slices placed in a delicate circle. One can definitely taste the banana, however not so much that it is overpowering. The texture of the oatmeal and the bananas together (although caramelized) was a little too mushy for me. Sprinkling granules of brown sugar in the bowl helped contrast the softness. Overall it was worth trying.

     A dish featured on the brunch menu and served only on weekends is the Alderwood Smoked Salmon Hash. Poached eggs lie atop a nest of diced red potatoes and onion & pepper hash drizzled with dill hollandaise. Inside this concoction are generous chunks of smoked salmon. This salmon is not like the flat, packaged deal you see in the store. No, this was cut from the entire fish and smoked to give a full, wild flavor carrying true body. I would definitely recommend this however it is extremely filling so I would consider sharing.

     Overall Plums Café + Catering is a delicious find. It is truly a gem and surprisingly, without much advertising, does very well. The establishment started as a catering business over twenty years ago and eventually grew into the Plums it is today. Don’t even try to book their catering during the Christmas season—they are booked every single day. According to Jack, the Segerstrum family uses Plums’ catering service during their parties, recommends them to all of Orange County’s elite, and now Plums is as busy as ever! The Segerstrum family offered the owner to expand and open a shop in South Coast Plaza but they respectfully declined. So, the only way you can experience this gourmet breakfast/brunch is to find their little establishment in Costa Mesa!