Make room for hearty Breakfast at Valerie’s
Friday, March 9, 2012
Why: Breakfast at Valerie’s opened six months ago and has already become a habit for many seeking the ever-popular supersized All-American breakfast. Menu items are numerous, ensuring something to please a range of appetites, and lunch is served as well. Prices and atmosphere focus on family-friendly dining.
Atmosphere: The kitchen is at the far end of the rectangular space, with a few bar stools at a tall counter. Booths flank the sides and tables and chairs set for four fill in the open floor. Windows are topped with valances and net lights have been added to each window pane, creating a lighted diamond grid over each. Walls are painted with warm colors. Floral and landscape photos and a few décor items provide elements of interest. The overall vibe is one of practical operation.
What I tried: Both my dining companion and I settled on the Perfect Breakfast, which is touted as having all the choices, but with slightly smaller portions than the All-American Breakfast. Diners who opt for this breakfast make their selections from meats, potatoes, breads and eggs.
I chose bacon, hash browns with green bell peppers, onions and cheddar cheese, crepes with blueberries and scrambled eggs. My dining companion decided on a sausage patty, home-style potatoes, a waffle with strawberries and whipped cream (for an additional $2.50), and although she did not want the eggs, this adjustment was not allowed.
When our food arrived it was hot off the line. The first impression that our slightly less portioned breakfasts made was big as in large, amounting to two plates per order. I could only imagine the regular-sized portion with a smidgen of trepidation.
My order consisted of one plate loaded with hash browns, two scrambled eggs and three slices of bacon – two large crepes were on the additional plate. I enjoyed all the elements of the breakfast, but my favorite was the crepes. These were generously filled with a sweet cream cheese filling and topped with fresh blueberries and a few dollops of whipped cream. They had a fresh-from-the-farm quality to them.
The bacon was meaty and crispy and the hash browns were fried to a golden exterior. Instead of being mixed into the hash browns, the bell pepper and onion add-ins were cut in pieces approximately one- inch square and placed on a layer of melted cheddar cheese which topped the hash browns. The home-style potatoes consist of cubed potatoes that are deep-fried.
The waffles at Valerie’s are American-style instead of Belgian-style. Though they do not have a lot of rise to them, they are still soft. There was an adequate amount of strawberries to include with every bite and enough whipped cream to give the waffle some dessert character.
The sausage patty served to my dining companion was equivalent to approximately four regular size sausage patties. It was mild in flavor and coarse in texture. My dining companion noted that it was absent those impossible to chew fat globules that are too often a downside to ordering a sausage patty.
Menu highlights beyond what I tried: Biscuits and gravy and skillet dishes are on the menu, as well as omelettes, which are very popular. The Healthy Side menu offers oatmeal, cottage cheese, granola, yogurt and fruit.
There are many lunch items to choose from including burgers, steaks, sandwiches, homemade soups, salads, chili, chicken strips and fish & chips.
Other observations: All menu selections may be ordered at anytime, so if you prefer breakfast at lunch, or lunch at breakfast, it’s no problem.
The wait staff is very attentive and friendly.
Our visit was on a busy Sunday morning and people were waiting to be seated. Once we were seated, our beverages were immediately provided and just a few minutes went by before our order was taken. The food took significantly longer than we expected for it to arrive, but coffee was kept topped off while we waited.
If you visit on a weekend, you will need to pay attention to your place in line because when I dined, there wasn’t a hostess with a sign-in sheet.
Cost: Everything on the breakfast menu is less than $10 except for the 16-ounce T-Bone All American Breakfast, which is $12.95. The Perfect Breakfast is $8.95 unless you have add-ons. Breakfast sides range from $1 to $4.95.
Lunch prices are less than $10 except for the steaks which top out at $13.50. Many selections are in the $6 to $9 range.
Hours: 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.
Where: 516 S.E. Chkalov Drive, Suite 1, Vancouver.
Health Score: Breakfast at Valerie’s received a score of 0 on Feb. 15. Zero is a perfect score; Clark County Public Health closes restaurants that score 100 or higher. For information, call 360-397-8428.