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Monday, December 30, 2013

Down-Home Country Cookin’ at Its Best


If I’d have pulled up to the San Tan Café with my horse (which I don’t have) I could have hitched up to the post outside. No worries. I just pulled my 140 Horsepower Scion into an ample parking lot. No need to hitch this baby up ... I got keys. Either way works if you want to experience some great down-home country cookin’. It doesn't take a big city slicker like me to feel right at home in this place. The minute I walked in I can smell a good place when I see one. “Morning Sir ... you can take seat wherever you like” says Kelli one of the servers. Great I think. As I look around there is a mixture of memorabilia on the walls, nothing gaudy just “homey”. The boys with the Cowboy hats are sitting around a table smiling and probably discussing their horse business. (The hitching post is designed for them).

Kelli comes over with a piping fresh hot cup of Farmers Bros coffee. I take a look at the menu and think; I’ve got my hands full this morning. I want to order everything. Thank goodness I was meeting James Tanner from San Tan Valley Dailyprss (www.stvdailyprss.com) here for breakfast. While I’m waiting for James I ask Kelli to name some of the most popular dishes people order and she obliges. This way I’ll be ready to order when James arrives.

Meanwhile I got to meet Barry Abrams, the owner and we start talking about our backgrounds and what else ... food, of course. Turns our Barry and wife Pat are from Connecticut and have been in the food-service business for many years working for “the man”. Been in AZ since 1979 working for some major restaurant chains and woke up one day and said “you know what? we can be doing a better job on our own.” So they looked around and found this place was for sale. So in June of 2013 they took over the restaurant. Learn from someone else and apply your experience but also add the things that were lacking or missing. Like great customer service, great quality food, good portions, and reasonable prices. How can you lose?

I’m getting hungry ... let’s order. James arrives and I tell him what we’re doing. Here’s what I’d like to try but if you want something different just let me know. First off let’s try the Crunchy French Toast served with warm syrup; and some Biscuits and homemade sausage gravy; next let’s have some of those buttermilk pancakes; and let’s top it off with the Chicken Fried Steak and Eggs “Signature Dish”. James says “I’m in. That’s good enough for me.”

So Barry starts us off with the Crunchy French Toast and says “Try this first without using the syrup”. OK we said. He wanted to make sure we felt the “crunch”. Where I come from if there’s a crunch when I’m eating French toast, someone made a boo-boo. First bite and I knew what he was talking about. Besides being lightly dusted with powder sugar there was a sweetness we couldn't pinpoint. It was the crunch. Capt’N Crunch to be exact. WOW. No need for syrup. Great texture outside and creaminess inside. I’d order this for dessert as well in a heartbeat.
Next out were the pancakes and biscuits and gravy. Short stack was light and fluffy, cooked just right. A little butter and warm syrup (not out of a bottle). Sounds basic but not everyone can cook pancakes like this.  One of my favorites is biscuits and sausage gravy. I love sausage and gravy on just about everything. Biscuits can be pretty basic but also easy to ruin. These were firm but not hard and the gravy is clearly the star. Light with the right balance of sausage and pepper, not salty like most I’ve had.  Loved it. You can tell James is quiet eating.
Last but certainly not least is the Chicken Fried Steak and Eggs. WHAT! A hearty breakfast served with either hash browns or home-style potatoes and eggs anyway you want them. Comes with toast or pancakes on the side. Lightly breaded and fried beef steak so tender you can cut it with a fork. You can actually taste the beef even with the sausage gravy piled on. One of the best CFS’s I've ever had. Again, well-balanced flavors.

So, if you’re looking for a great place to bring the family for breakfast or lunch that is kid-friendly has great food, and warm, friendly service, Check out The San Tan Café. You won’t be sorry.

San Tan Cafe
18911 E. San Tan Blvd. Queen Creek, Az. 85143
 Phone: 480-840-6425

Monday - Friday 6a 2p
Friday 4p - 7p
Saturday - Sunday 7a -2p

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