As an omelet or embryo, scrambled or over easy, inside a breakfast burrito or part of the batter, it doesn't matter—eggs are . . . go ahead, start the terrible puns: eggs-cellent. Eggs-traordinary. An egg-nigma. Egg . . . ah, just see the Batmanepisode in which Vincent Price played Eggman and spewed the same tired lingo. And then eat at the following egg-poriums.
Café Calypso's inventive menu and fresh ingredients draw some real salt-and-pepper legitimacy from being served on the bottom floor of the old Hotel San Clemente. Their breakfast bagel melt is a killer, with steamed scrambled eggs, roma tomatoes and provolone cheese baked onto the bagel. Café Calypso makes some mighty coffee drinks, too. 114Ave.delaMar,SanClemente,(949)366-9386.$
Good job, Costa Mesans: when Vons Supermarket threatened to shutter the Omelette Parlor in late 2003, y'all rallied to save this blue-collar haven (you should've done the same for Kona Lanes, though). Now the rest of us can continue to rub our bellies in bewildered satisfaction after eating one of the Omelette Parlor's fabulously stuffed omelets named after some long-dead Costa Mesa City Council member—give me the one with cucumbers. 179E.17thSt.,Ste.A,CostaMesa,(949)645-0740.$
Someone once said, “Simplicity is the spice of life.” Snicker all you want, but they must have been referring to the Bolero crêpe at La Crêperie Café. This sorta-Provençal café offers perfection drenched in butter and sugar with a twist of lemon. C'estbon!5110E.SecondSt.,LongBeach,(562)434-8499.$$
“Family-style” before the phrase meant “Norms,” Dalton's has gabby servers with odd hairstyles, a mostly older clientele, hearty extra-large egg breakfasts served all day, and a menu dominated by meat and fried stuff. 9575ValleyViewSt.,Cypress,(714)229-8101.$
Egg Heaven would be Rockford's kind of place: plenty of wood paneling, a liquor store across the street and a big picture of Elvis next to the kitchen. They have anything you can make out of an egg—including more styles of omelets than there are stars in the Andromeda Galaxy—except the chicken. Now that we think about it, they have chicken sandwiches and salads, too. It truly isheaven here. 4358E.FourthSt.,LongBeach,(562)433-9277.$
Habana Café is the second restaurant of owner Martín Espinosa, who has operated a Cuban bakery in Downey for more than a decade. Espinosa bases recipes on his mami's cookbook, so in addition to Cuban standards such as the tart shredded-beef stew ropa vieja and a complimentary side of moros y cristianos (Moors and Christians, the deliciously un-P.C. name Cubans give to black beans mixed with white rice), Habana Café also cooks up specialties rarely found outside Miami: crab croquettes, a spicy oxtail stew with the bizarre name rabo encindido (“flaming tail”) and veggie omelets that Cubans call tortillas. 18552BeachBlvd.,HuntingtonBeach,(714)968-1672.$$
There are bagels and muffins and, a friend swears, “killer” breakfast burritos in the morning at Newport Beach's ritzy Hoag cafeteria. In the refrigerated case, you can get a grilled-chicken caesar salad or roast beef horseradish panini. Want sushi? They've got vegetarian rolls for $3.75 and spicy tuna cut rolls for $4.15. Newport Beach class at cafeteria prices. 1HoagDr.,NewportBeach,(949)645-8600.$
It's a permanent tailgate at Hollingshead's, and not just because of the Green Bay Packers garb for sale hanging from the ceiling or the pickled eggs and pickles kept in chilled brine. Hollingshead's is one of Orange County's premier booze barns, stocking drafts, ales, Heifeweisen and other brands from across the world (with a special focus on Deutschland and the former Soviet Bloc). The limited menu is stubbornly heartland: deviled eggs, boldly pungent macaroni salads and the sweetest baked beans this side of the Lambeau Field parking lot. 368S.MainSt.,Orange,(714)978-9467.$
Their omelet is ham, cheese, onions and green peppers—hold the nonsense—stuffed into a three-egg pillowcase; presented alongside a nest of crispy, lush, hashed-brown potatoes and two slices of sourdough toast; and gobbled down between a couple of cups of coffee. It's nothing fancy, which means it fits right in at this converted Taco Bell with decals of the Fat Boy—a too-close-for-comfort cousin of the late Big Boy—plastered across the table at every booth. 7811ValleyViewAve.,LaPalma,(714)228-0464.$
Here are just some of Kapit Bahay's game pieces: about four or five different fish deep-fried until the bones become jelly; pork and chicken adobo marinated long into the day in a murky broth of soy sauce, ginger, vinegar and garlic; sweet-sour viscous soups bumpy with rice, cucumbers or baby squids; beef minced with vegetables and covered in raw onion hoops or stabbed by a skewer; purple eggs called balut that contain a two-week-old duck embryo you're supposed to slurp whole. Even better desserts! 615S.Euclid,Anaheim,(714)635-4400.$
The Mini-Gourmet is a Placentia strip-mall diner where adults wear T-shirts proclaiming allegiance for the football squad at nearby El Dorado High while sipping coffee alongside no-frill omelets. The Ortega omelet is all about the mild chile, ripe tomatoes and liquefied cheese awaiting its scraping up with toast. 1210E.YorbaLindaBlvd.,Placentia,(714)524-1611.$
Opened in 1977 by Mary Merrill and her five children, this most certainly qualifies as a family-run establishment. Located in Dana Wharf on the waterfront, Proud Mary's serves breakfast and lunch. Their menu—at least their breakfast one—features lots of eggs scrambled into such dishes as breakfast burritos and omelets. 34689St.oftheGoldenLantern,DanaPoint,(949)493-5853.$
Top Baguette trumps its independent competitors primarily because of its care with ingredients. Their bánh mì heo nuong, ruddy and strongly flavored with hoisin sauce, tastes almost like a moist pork jerky. A meatball bánh mì is tender and cooked in a savory gravy subtly flavored with nuoc mam, the fish sauce Vietnamese pour onto their food like other Asians use soy sauce. For breakfast, Top Baguette even offers a bánh mì of two eggs over easy with pickled carrots, daikon, jalapeño and sprigs of cilantro. 9062BolsaAve.,Westminster,(714)379-7726.¢
View our complete dining guide at www.ocweekly.com/food.