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Restaurant Review (San Diego): Cafe 222

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On the last morning of the NASPA conference in sunny San Diego I decided to head over to Cafe 222 for some breakfast. I figured, it was only a few blocks away and I could go for what has been hailed by the Food Network as the best stuffed french toast around. The restaurant is pretty unassuming in its corner spot, I actually had a little trouble figuring out where the front door was located. Their website is much more fancy then the place itself but that’s OK, I’m not one to judge. The staff was very polite and even offered coffee while you waited for your table, but since I was alone I was quickly sat at the counter.

Without hesitation I ordered the peanut butter and banana stuffed french toast and an over medium egg on the side. The only reason I ordered the egg was to have an equal comparator across diner breakfasts. If they can cook an egg to order you know they have this breakfast thing figured out. Since eggs are either cooked well or not, I will say that it was cooked perfectly and move on the the main attraction.

My stuffed french toast came out quickly and boy were they not kidding by the title. This bread was stuffed to the limit and I was not complaining. First off let’s talk about the bread, they must let it soak forever because it was delicious. Just enough egg and some cinnamon to boot. They cooked it just long enough so it was nice and crispy on the outside but still soft and fluffy on the inside. The filling was also delicious, peanut butter and bananas are some of my favorite things so if you put them together in between bread you’ve got a dish for me. My one comment is that the ratio was a bit off, it needed another half of a banana to balance out the massive amount of peanut butter on the plate.

I covered the french toast with a nice helping of maple syrup, smoothed around the huge scoop of butter, and dove right in. Since the dish was hot the peanut butter was softened and a little less sticky. This made it mix really well with the mushy (In a good way) bananas. The problem with peanut butter is that when it cools down the stickiness comes back so you had to eat this fast. Not a problem. Each bite was a fantastic combination of textures and flavors, even the powdered sugar was a great addition that added a touch of class to the dish. I think I managed to get 3/4 of the way through it before the peanut butter seized up but with the richness of it all I really did not need to finish. Yes, I actually left part of the meal on the plate, it was just too much to handle. All around this was one of the best french toast dishes I’ve had let alone stuffed french toast. It also looks pretty nice on film as you can see from the picture to your left.

Cafe 222 is a fun breakfast stop for a morning in San Diego and they serve some serious food. They don’t have a ton of seating so make sure you get in early or the wait could be lengthy. The banana and peanut butter stuffed french toast was top notch as was the over medium egg. Next time I am in San Diego I will surely go back. My big problem will be can I resist the french toast and go for something else. If I can then the corned beef hash is next on the docket.

Overall Rating: 7/10

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About Steven Lerer