Early bird catches breakfast

Ingrid Chan, Asst. photo editor

Early Bird Cafe lives up to its name; you’ve got to be an early riser to catch their open hours.

Operating from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekdays and 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on weekends, Early Bird Cafe is only open for about seven hours a day, yet is hugely popular among locals in Fullerton. After dropping by for a taste of their food, I can finally say I understand the hype.

Although I arrived early in the morning, the cafe was already half-filled, and many other diners walked in and out as I continued with my meal. Despite its busy environment, the store wasn’t crowded as the shop is spacious and has more than enough tables. With high open ceilings, low hanging lights and complementing brick, wood, glass and white-washed walls, the store is noticeably going for minimalist, industrial style.

Their menu mainly consists of breakfast and brunch dishes. My sister and I asked for recommendations before settling for a Traditional Eggs Benedict for $12, “The Dutch” Waffle for $6.50 and their signature OC Famous EB Single Origin Coffee for $3.25. We didn’t have to wait long before our orders arrived; it only took around seven minutes.

The Traditional Eggs Benedict comes with a choice of either hashbrowns or seasoned potatoes and half a fried tomato covered with breadcrumbs. Our choice of hashbrowns consisted of  grated potatoes, onions and a good heaping of melted cheese oozing out from its center. Lightly grilled on both sides, they had a delightfully firm bite and were neither too salty nor too plain.

The highlight was definitely the eggs benedict. The eggs were slathered in the perfect amount of hollandaise sauce and garnished with a sprinkling of green onions. They were perfectly poached with the yolk immediately running out onto the ham after being cut into. Underneath the egg was a thick roasted strip of ham, which was rich and had a slightly smoky flavor. Beneath the ham were a few slices of crispy bacon.

The ham and bacon were on the salty side, but it was balanced out by the unseasoned egg. However, I found that the muffin was the best part as it was perfectly toasted with a crunchy exterior and a buttery soft inside. The gooey yolk filled the inside, neutralizing the typical dryness of English muffins and creating the perfect texture of crispy yet moist.

“The Dutch” Waffle was thinner than I expected, but surprisingly still had a chewy texture. It was topped with blueberries, cream cheese and a dusting of powdered sugar. Rather than the thick, heavy cream cheese you’d normally expect to come with bagels, the cream cheese on the waffle was exceptionally fluffy.

Although it was a very large portion, the thinness of the waffle and the lightness of the cream made the dish well-balanced and easy to finish.

Meanwhile, the OC Famous EB Single Origin coffee has secured a spot as one of my favorite blends out of all the cafes I’ve been to. The drink was served in a cute mug with a little pitcher of cream on the side. On its own, the coffee was not overwhelmingly bitter, as the bitterness was outshined by a distinct earthy flavor. After adding the cream, I was satisfied with the milky, yet lightly bitter taste that came without any sugar.

The staff also constantly refills the coffee you ordered without extra charges. If asked, they’ll even give you the equivalent of a grande-Starbucks cup of coffee to-go after you finish your meal.

Though their prices are more expensive than what you’d find in other cafes, the venue’s portions are significantly larger, and the quality of the food makes the price more than worth it.

Based on their tasty food, generosity and quality service, Early Bird Cafe is definitely worth checking out.