Scotts Valley California
Santa Cruz Attractions

Scotts Valley Dining Guide

Heavenly Cafe
Photograph by Stephen Laufer

White Mug Down: The lunch is real, but we faked the cups--you have to knock over your own.

Not Far From Heaven

In fact, it may be a place near Scotts Valley, where huge breakfasts and burgers have developed a devoted clientele

By Christina Waters

Jack and I were fresh from an hour at the gym--how else do you think restaurant reviewers stave off blimpdom?--and ravenous. In other words, we were ready for our breakfast rendezvous with Noah at the baby blue Heavenly Cafe on Mount Hermon Road.

Noah, one of my favorite bachelor dining informants, had been down this road (the review road, that is) before. He knew that meeting me for breakfast would mean submitting to my fork making frequent visits to his plate. He's fine with that. And so was Sarah, his breakfast date for our morning at Heavenly. Armed with Noah, Sarah and Jack, I knew we could cover plenty of food groups at this very popular pit-stop just outside Scotts Valley.

Local artwork and well-tended plants decorate the vintage interior of both dining rooms. The blue and white checked tablecloth harmonizes with the blue walls. We took a central table in the smaller room--the larger one sports a bar and a small stage at one end where jazz breaks out on weekends.

Our waitress with an upbeat can-do attitude gave us plenty of time to scan the long menu--but wisely brought us coffee in a jiffy. And better than your average nondesigner coffeehouse coffee it was, too. French roast, fresh and strong, cascaded into our big sturdy mugs, and with that first jolt of delicious java breakfast was officially under way.

The former steakhouse that established itself right after World War II as a fixture for hungry and thirsty San Lorenzo Valley residents became the home of Heavenly a little over 10 years ago. That's when the former Heavenly Hamburger moved and expanded its menu.

The lunch side of the menu offers a major array of sandwiches, soups, salads and burgers, but we were definitely in that 8am mood for some eggy protein and comfort carbo-loading. All the morning classics were represented. Oatmeal, muffins, blueberry pancakes, a gazillion omelets, steak and eggs, scrambles--including varieties ranging from tofu to Italian sausage--and every combination of the above favorites you could desire.

Our fellow diners included families, couples, retirees and the multiply pierced--obviously word has spread about this place, which is popular with just about all of my Aunt Virlyne's Felton buddies. We were impressed right off the bat by the stellar coffee, and I hadn't gotten halfway through my first cup when suddenly every square inch of the table was covered with plates. Jack spooned zippy salsa fresca over what looked like a dozen scrambled eggs, and proceeded to enjoy his feta scramble with home fries and toast ($6.50). Loaded with mushrooms, feta, spinach and tomatoes, it delivered the scramble goods, though the potatoes were more bland than crusty. Statuesque Sarah turned in an Olympic dining performance, actually finishing two waffles that had been laced with walnuts and topped with banana slices ($7.50) She even finished her side of scrambled eggs--awesome. Noah polished off four slices of French toast which could have used more powdered sugar as far as I was concerned. But Noah simply added maple syrup and never looked back. The table, let me add, was well equipped with syrup, cream, pats of butter and a tower of assorted jam packets.

My eggs--which I asked for "over medium"--were perfect ($7.50, plus bacon and pancakes). Superfresh Glaum Ranch eggs are the rule here at Heavenly, and these, just a bit runny and quite a bit firm, more than met my finicky requirements. Four huge pieces of lean-but-brittle bacon sat on top of my twin buttermilk pancakes. Like Sarah's waffles, they lacked much in the way of flavor and were too doughy for maximum satisfaction. But I'll be honest--I only really enjoy my own pancakes, which are very tender and thin, Scandinavian-style. While prices might seem on the high side, portions are generous. Divine eggs--celestial coffee--Heavenly Cafe.

Heavenly Cafe, 1210 Mount Hermon Rd., Scotts Valley, 831.335.7311. Hours: 6:30am-2:30pm Mon-Fri; 7am-3pm Sat-Sun. Cuisine: Big, friendly breakfast and lunch classics; breakfast served all day.

From the January 22-28, 2003 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.
Copyright © Metro Publishing Inc. Maintained by Boulevards New Media.

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