Friday, October 28, 2016

Featured Food Friday #1

Last week I mentioned during my last A to Z Food Challenge post, that I would be doing something food related on Friday's moving forward. Well here we are! Welcome to the first "Featured Food Friday"! 

For today's food feature, my son and I went to a place called 'Family House of Pancakes' here in San Diego. While the name screams breakfast, they also have a good variety of dishes for lunch and dinner as well. Regardless of their expansive menu, breakfast is their specialty which is why we decided to check it out! We were in the area and since I had heard mixed reviews about this restaurant, I thought we would try it out for ourselves. 

'Family House of Pancakes' - not to be confused with IHOP - is featured in two locations in California, National City and Chula Vista. We tested the National City location, to give this review precise details. 

Upon walking in, you get the immediate sensation that the entire restaurant hasn't been updated in quite a while, but this isn't a damper on the overall vibe. I felt like I was being taken back to the 70's with an authentic feel throughout. While some may see this as a downfall, I feel it's the exact opposite. 

So many times we go to these "fine dining" or "modernized" eateries and become overwhelmed with the hustle and bustle of every day life. We don't take the time to just de-stress. This place made me feel like I could sit back, relax, and just enjoy a meal. 

Immediately I was greeted by quite a few women at the counter, all with a friendly smile. The hostess kindly guided us to a table, but after making a request for booth, she redirected us to a really big booth - probably saved for bigger parties, but since it wasn't an extremely busy time we were ok to use it. Her attitude didn't change when we asked to be switched, which was surprising seeing as how this can be a mood changer for some. It's specifically why I asked to be moved. Well that and my son does better with space and not just a small chair, although he can adjust just fine. 

Being a mom, I make sure to look over the menu of potential restaurants if available online, prior to visiting the place. This makes it much easier to simply order our food once seated, instead of having to wait any longer. My son tends to become "ancy" when food takes a while to get made - I wonder where he gets it from *hint*, it's me. 

Mini confession time, I've never had legitimate steak and eggs for breakfast. I've had different forms of carne asada and eggs or meat and eggs, but never steak and eggs. So the moment I saw it was an option for a decent price, I used the opportunity to finally try a meal I've always wanted to. My son agreed to split the dish with me, so long as I ordered a side of bacon for him as well and a small scrambled egg. This was doable, so we went for it. 

The waitress was very king and we only had to wait 5 minutes - more or less - to order. Within a few moments our drinks arrived and not long after that our food. 

While we were waiting for our food, I glanced around to further inspect the atmosphere. There were two main rooms, one with booths and one with tables. The booths sections were placed in the front and the table section was in a "sun room" styled area towards the back, on the other side of the kitchen. The booths were sections with a vintage style red and the carpet was fairly clean for being a restaurant. The seats weren't beaten up or ripped like I would've expected with such an "older" style, but it made me feel like I was in a place well loved and respected. I also checked out the bathroom with my son and to my surprise it was very clean with zero stomach turning smell. This re-confirmed my suspicions of being in a restaurant worth dining at. 

When the food came, my eyes widened immediately. Not only did it bring an intoxicating aroma, but the portions were more than I bargained for and that's ALWAYS welcomed. The waitress also brought over a side of salsa and some A1 sauce for the steak. My son and I were ready to take on the deliciousness that awaited us. 

Our entire dish consisted of house potatoes, steak, eggs, and toast. I also ordered my padawan's scrambled eggs and bacon, along with our drinks. I had coffee and orange juice, while my son chose orange juice and water. 

My son immediately gravitated towards his bacon and eggs, but also asked for multiple bites of steaks. 

I'm getting ahead of myself, let's discuss portions. The steak size was decent, although I would've loved a nice hunk of meat for perhaps a little more, but I wasn't complaining since the price was within a good range for us. The eggs themselves were very flavorful and two eggs sufficed, while being perfectly over easy. The potatoes came in a tidal wave, which was really surprising. Half the plate was house potatoes. Don't get me wrong they were mouth watering, especially with their salsa - which was amazing - but a little too abundant in my opinion. With the bread as well, I felt like I was experiencing carb overload. 

I have to say, I understand 'Man VS Food' now when he talks about too many carbs. The feeling exhausts you. 

With portions a little skewed in favor of potatoes, my real quest during this visit was the taste. 

The eggs were very well prepared - as mentioned above - and were very good. Nothing extravagant, but nothing to hate either. The potatoes - also mentioned above - were decadent, just too much quantity wise. The orange juice tasted freshly squeezed, with the perfect amount of pulp throughout. The coffee was again nothing spectacular, but a simple cup o' Joe. The toast was like home, with just the right amount of butter. Now for the steak. Oh man, the steak. 

I've had a lot of steak in my life. I'm a carnivorous - I'm sorry vegans - momma bear who devours steak like you wouldn't believe. I'm a stickler about them, I can be harsh reviewer, and I don't take my meat lightly. This steak was NOT my absolute favorite, but it was a very good contender. 

I ordered it medium-well and it came out just as I asked. A smidge of pink, no blood, but tender and juicy. The top was grilled without being hard and the fat content was really well dispersed. I loved it. I dipped it in the salsa, I smeared it with the eggs, I mixed it with the potatoes, and I ate it bare. It didn't matter how I ate it, I melted with every bite. I was a little sad that I didn't have more to scarf down, but I'm not mad at all. To be completely frank with you all, I give the entire plate an 8.5 out of 10. The reasoning being that I really wished I had more steak and less potatoes, but I'm not too disappointed seeing as how the price - a little over $15 - was well worth the overall portion and flavor. 

This experience has made me a lover of 'Family House of Pancakes' and you can believe that I will be back again. Perhaps with family to have them fall in love like I did. I crave an authentic diner that brings me out of the busy world and into a bench where I can eat and truly enjoy myself. This restaurant did exactly that for me and I would - and will - recommend this place over and over again! 

Happy Friday Jedis! May your weekend be as juicy and delicious as the steak I had! See you all Monday for a Halloween play by play, single mom style!!! 

Much love,

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