Brunch. The whole concept. Where did it come from, and when? Some say it was invented in San Francisco or some other exotic place where people arise from bed after 9 a.m. and sit in cafes smoking cigarettes. And not just on weekends.
An inspiration of the leisure classes, part breakfast, part lunch, a meal you have when no one else is eating. Or so you thought. Yuppies. Remember them? They made brunch a staple of their existence and pretty soon, in big cities all over America during the latter 1970s and throughout the ’80s, you couldn’t get a table or a countertop in a restaurant at 10:30 a.m.
These reflections are occasioned by a recent happy visit to Café Mimosa, which bills itself as offering “New American Brunch.” Opened only since Mother’s Day, Café Mimosa is a bit tucked away around the corner off Camino de los Marquez, at Linda Vista, in the same spot that housed the old Backstreet Bistro. But you’d be hard pressed to recall that now.
As barley-broth-dreary and hippie-esque as the old BB was, Mimosa is light, bright, open, airy and hip in a sort of informal chic. Big leafy potted plants, white-and-mauve striped cushion corner seating, a long center table, gleaming open kitchen, stainless steel counter with stools, another corner seating area, skylights, a west and north bank of big windows, perfect studio light all day, illuminated but not garish. Cool, contemporary Middle Eastern music plays softly and there is Matissean Mediterranean feel to the room, and menu.
The charming owner and chef Alex Hadidi, at his post, was born and raised on the Algerian coast, and honed his craft for 25 years in some of New York’s finest establishments and in private service in Santa Fe since 2012.
And so what new or “New American” brunch fare has Chef Hadidi devised? First of all, extremely reasonably priced and fresh, organic, locally sourced ingredients as much as possible, in both classic items and some pretty exotic offerings. Classic Belgian waffle ($10), check; asparagus and goat cheese egg white frittata ($12), check; butternut squash and coconut soup ($5/$8), wow; blackened chicken alfredo ($15), wow again!
We were in the mood for classic brunches and the lady started off with a blood orange Mimosa with Cava (or Prosecco, $9), and while I’ve never been a fan of doing anything to champagne or sparkling wines other than pour and imbibe, it’s not possible to dis as beautiful and tasty a Mimosa as this. Next arrived artfully plated Classic Eggs Benedict ($12), perfect hollandaise, with potato latkes and crisp vinaigrette spinach salad with blueberries and a big, juicy blackberry. It was deemed to be as good as it looked.
Though the Havana Outpost ($10, with chorizo and black beans) beckoned, it’s always good to see how restaurants approach the humbler dishes. Consequently, and frugally, we went with the Breakfast Bagel Special ($8), two eggs over easy on a bagel with cream cheese, topped with bacon, latkes and that great little salad on the side. Perfect! And all for only $8!
The best review a restaurant gets is a devoted clientele and as tricky as its location might be (and there is tons of parking), we predict that Cafe Mimosa will soon enjoy that.