the huddle / mission hills – san diego, ca
I first read about the Huddle over on Dennis’s blog, A Radiused Corner. It’s been tickling the back of my mind for awhile now. I’ve been searching for a good “go-to” place for breakfast and looking for the elusive “perfect” hash browns after my favorite place for hash browns closed last year.
The Huddle has recently earned a place in my heart with it’s down-home, “sit and stay awhile” feel. This local, family owned restaurant has been around for quite awhile and I’m glad I finally got to make my rounds to drop by for a visit.
On our first visit, Jake and I (with two of the kids in tow) make only a conservative effort at tackling their massive menu.
The first thing I ordered? The “Del Mar Fair Cinnamon Roll”. It called to me. I had to answer the siren song.
[The Del Mar Fair Cinnamon Roll – $2.50]
The huge hunk of a cinnamon roll is the same recipe from the lady who makes the famous cinnamon rolls you get at the fair every summer. The Huddle puts their own spin on the roll by slicing and grilling the massive roll and topping it off with their own homemade cream cheese icing. What you get as a result is a fresh, warm cinnamon roll with a little crisp and crunch from the grilling. The creamy icing melts on top and should be slathered onto very bite for maximum enjoyment.
Four of us happily split this cinnamon roll and devoured it in record time. It’s so big that I do highly recommend you share this with a friend to avoid the onslaught of a sugar coma.
PS – This is my new favorite cinnamon roll in town. For reals!
[Corned Beef Hash and Eggs – $9.50]
I had a serious hankering for some corned beef hash. Jake only made a slight protest and then told me to “order whatever I wanted” since we were sharing. I was going to get something else, but since he’s a good boyfriend, made it sound like it really didn’t bother him if I ordered this. So I did.
We told our waitress we’d be sharing the plate, so she went ahead and split the plates for us. How nice is that! I was very touched by this little detail – and that we didn’t have to ask for it to happen and it was done at no extra charge. That is what I call some fine service!
The corned beef hash itself was quite good – it had a nice, crispy top and was soft on the bottom. Not too salty but with a good overall flavor. If you dig this type of thing, then the version they serve here won’t disappoint you.
The other thing that I found exciting was their lineup of homemade jams.
Our waitress, who’s family has owned the Huddle for years, told us that the jams were her grandmother’s recipe. The jams you see above are: apple butter, strawberry rhubarb, and orange marmalade.
Of the three, the strawberry rhubarb was my favorite. It had a distinctly fresh flavor – sweet but not overly done and mostly just tasted like strawberries. The apple butter was thick and rich with a good hint of a cinnamon in the mix. I didn’t actually try the orange marmalade since it’s not my favorite so I can’t say anything about it – but I suspect it was as good as the others.
I loved that they came in little take away containers so you could bring the leftovers home with you to enjoy later on.
[Short Stack of Pancakes – $4.00 / + egg and bacon – $2.50]
The kiddies shared a pancake breakfast – again, their plates were split for them and they each got their own egg made for them (not shown). I didn’t try the pancakes that first time around, but the kids assured me that they liked it (kid approved).
[Tater tots – $2.75]
Jake likes to order tater tots when he sees them on a menu. He loves the ones at Tobey’s 19th Hole and wanted to do a little comparison. The ones here have a good, crunchy exterior with a soft, creamy middle, just like the one’s from Tobey’s. The final results are a bit inconclusive as both restaurants make a mean tater tot – order at either place and your tater tot craving will be well satisfied.
[Side of Hash Browns – $2.00]
These, my friends, are my newest favorite hash browns in the city. They’re almost exactly like the ones I used to get at Keith’s – that golden, perfect crisp top with a soft, creamy interior. Every bite has that perfect blend of crunch and creamy. Just a little dash of salt and your off for hash brown happiness.
Lots of places don’t have the extra crispy top – or the insides taste underdone and uncooked – but not these! This is one thing I have not perfected making at home – I just haven’t quite figured out how they cook it this way. Hopefully I can find out!
After our first visit, our waitress gave us these “Huddle Bucks” to use on our next visit. How freaking cute is that?!
For our second visit, we took Chris here to try it out. We got the same waitress as our first visit and sat in the very same spot. She even remembered us – though I think she was really remembering Jake, who has a way of making an impression on people.
[Orange Pecan Pancakes – $5.00]
Jake and I did the “sharing” breakfast thing again, but this time we ordered two different things to share. I got the Orange Pecan Pancakes. As soon as they were put before me I got an incredible waft of orange scent. At first glance I thought they were plain pancakes until the orange smell hit me. The smell was more intense than the flavor – the orange flavor came through but didn’t overpower the pancakes. The pecans were mixed into the batter and were a little sparse. I was expecting the pecans to be on top since that’s how I’ve had pecan pancakes in the past. I would have liked a little more pecans in the mix, but the fluffy pancakes were still quite good.
[Chicken Fried Steak & Eggs – $10.00]
Jake ordered the Chicken Fried Steak to again – compare it to Tobey’s. At the Huddle they put the gravy on the top of the steak – something we hadn’t ever seen before. We didn’t tell them we were sharing this time so we split it all ourselves – it was a little hard getting the gravy over onto my plate for my share.
The chicken fried steak here is a fairly thick cut – more akin to a thick hamburger steak. It was almost like eating a chicken fried hamburger rather than the more tender, thinner and traditional chicken fried steak. Their gravy has also got a bit more tang to it – maybe it’s made with buttermilk? Definitely different than any other chicken fried steak we’ve tried before. It wasn’t exactly bad, but was not what we were expecting when we ordered it.
Chris got this omelette – and I’m sad to say I completely forgot what kind of omelette it was. He just thought it was okay – in fact, thought the whole experience was just “okay” until he got a cinnamon roll at the end of our meal.
He had ordered it earlier but our waitress forgot to bring it – so it ended up being “breakfast dessert” for him. I had a couple of bites and was happy to confirm it was just as delicious as the first time we had it. The cinnamon roll turned around the whole experience for Chris and made it into a “must-visit” restaurant.
A good cinnamon roll can be a life changing experience, my friends.
[Orange Julius Shake of the Month]
Last but not least, Jake ordered the shake of the month for July – this Orange Julius shake.
It looks like just any old shake, but it does taste exactly like an Orange Julius. But with whipped cream on top. Impressive.
The Huddle is a great local, family owned restaurant in San Diego. The small, family feel here will make you feel like you’re a guest in someone’s home. It’s a place to relax and enjoy your food, to chat up with the cooks and waiters, and to get a good meal into your belly at the start of the day.
4023 Goldfinch St
San Diego, CA 92103