First Awakenings - Pacific Grove, California

First Awakenings
125 Oceanview Boulevard
Pacific Grove, CA
(831) 372-1125

Date of Visit: Friday, March 6, 2009
Time: Breakfast - 8:30 AM
Server: N/A
Number of Diners: 2

Food Quality: 7
Service: 6.5
Ambiance: 5

If you snoop around the web a bit, there is a very rare and clear consensus that the best breakfast in the Monterey area may be found at First Awakenings in Pacific Grove. This tiny, uber-wealthy community, called "P.G." by the locals, is where John Steinbeck lived while he wrote many famous works of fiction and non-fiction, including one about nearby Cannery Row. Often confused with Monterey, the town is sandwiched between the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Pebble Beach Golf Links. There are many fine restaurants and expensive Bed & Breakfast Inns located there, and it's a quiet place to hang out for locals looking for something upscale. It's a stunningly beautiful place - the image one brings to mind when thinking of Pebble Beach, so I decided that FA in PG would do for our breakfast this day. I was somewhat taken aback to discover the restaurant is located within the American Tin Cannery shops, a faux-restoration collection of designer label shops and other tourist traps. I decided to at least check it out before moving on to our second choice eatery. At this early hour on a Friday, everything in the mall was closed except this place, and it was packed to the rafters with locals - a very good sign indeed.

With the luck of the Irish we hit it just as several tables were departing, and we were seated immediately. It has about 20 small tables inside and a large patio outside, unused for breakfast even in the temperate PG late winter. The waitress brought coffee immediately and allowed me to use my own bottle of water, as they had only tap water available. We took quite some time perusing the extensive menu, which the waitress explained by pointing out real examples being consumed at neighboring tables. The crepes, skillets, pancakes, and huevos rancheros were well represented, with some pictured here. We opted for something more reserved to preserve room for at least one other meal that day!

What we had with menu descriptions...

Crêpeggs A thin, sweet crêpe combined with fluffy whipped egg. Served with homestyle potatoes and an English muffin.
Turkey Dill - Diced turkey, mushrooms, chopped spinach, onion and Monterey Jack cheese folded in our crêpegg. Topped with diced tomatoes, our award-winning hollandaise sauce and fresh dill 8.99

Our Omelettes We have devoted our lives to this art form. Served with homestyle potatoes and English muffin of course! If you like it hot, add jalapeños - 79¢
Veggie - Fresh seasonal vegetables, savory cheese, sour cream and chives 8.99

Vegetarian Sausage Links - Low-fat, low cholesterol 3.29

We both chose to pass on the home fries and their associated bulk and calories. The egg dishes and crepes were excellent, light, and fluffy as they should be. The veggies and fruits were fresh and delicious. Coffee was decent and plentiful, since a full pitcher of the stuff had been left on the table for our use. The veggie omelet had broccoli, spinach, onion, and chives. The turkey dill crepe was lightly seasoned with fresh dill and was both unusual and remarkable. The veggie sausage was passable, if a bit dry. Next time I might try the turkey version, available for the same price. We lingered over each bite, pausing only to dash out and feed the parking meters (which begin duty a 9AM). I even donated a quarter to feed the meter for a BMW K1100 motorcycle parked near me - my biker good deed for the morning!

First Awakenings - RECOMMENDED for a hearty and/or healthy breakfast - also open for lunch, sister location in downtown Salinas

Highs: Good ingredients, fresh food, casual upscale without pretense
Lows: Feeding parking meters from 9AM daily

Bon Appétit! - W. Ego

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