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Cinnamon Sugar & Spice serves crowd-pleasing pile-ups and dessert-like breakfasts

Exterior shot of the Cinnamon Sugar & Spice Cafe. (Jim Thompson/Albuquerque Journal)

Exterior shot of the Cinnamon Sugar & Spice Cafe. (Jim Thompson/Albuquerque Journal)

After many years of living the Albuquerque foodie life, I still haven’t decided if we are a respectable brunch city or one that has yet to blossom into a denzien of weekend deliciousness.

Helping matters along, however, is a recent addition to the Northeast Heights called Cinnamon Sugar & Spice Cafe, bringing both fancy French toast and traditional “pile-up” platters to diners. Brought to us by the folks behind downtown’s Plaza Eatery, the kitchen experience runs deep from eggs to morning brew.

A bacon and egg breakfast burrito is smothered with red and green chile at Cinnamon Sugar & Spice Cafe. (Jim Thompson/Albuquerque Journal)

A bacon and egg breakfast burrito is smothered with red and green chile at Cinnamon Sugar & Spice Cafe. (Jim Thompson/Albuquerque Journal)

The cafe’s space could be cavernous if not for a plethora of tables and a retail area stocked with kitchen tools and goodies; during busy hours the place gets downright crowded.

Service is counter-style, with a huge hanging menu to consult while you decide the flavor of the day. If only the prices were chalked on that blackboard – I prefer to not play a guessing game at the register, especially before having coffee.

When it comes to caffeine, this place has everyone covered, from lattes to drip coffee. I’ve found the brews just OK, fine to accompany breakfast or brunch but not worth a “coffee-shop stop”.

Mornings and brunches are the best food time to visit, dominated by a few favorites starting with Cin-fully Delicious French Toast ($8). Honestly, who doesn’t love fat slices of bread doused in sweet egg batter and dusted with fancy cinnamon?

Add to that offering some toasted pecans and maple syrup and it’s basically dessert for breakfast. Add bacon or sausage for another $2. Light eaters may actually want to avoid the housemade Honey Granola Parfait ($7), sweet, rich and decadent and, like all good granolas, not exactly health food.

Now, let’s focus on fans of savory breakfast (go ahead and count me among those ranks).

Cinnamon Cafe offers up a nest of hash browns in its Paseo Pile-up ($8), dotted with bacon and sausage and topped with eggs, chile and cheese. Neither too huge nor too expensive, it’s a plate that strikes balance in nearly all attributes between adventurous and tame, gourmet and greasy spoon. This is a crowd-pleaser to be sure.

That also means the chile is bit on the mild side, but when dining with a group or a family entourage, sometimes that’s what we chile-heads are happy to endure.

No matter which side of the savory/sweet fence your meals fall, the pastry case beckons all. Notable standouts include lemon bars and some deep brown sticky pecan rolls that deserve a place in your afternoon coffee break. Take one (or more) to go and see how much sweeter the rest of the afternoon seems.

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