Monday, September 24, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 29
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Santa Maria Sun / Eats

Brunch munch: Kay's Orcutt Country Kitchen is the go-to brunch spot

BY REBECCA ROSE


I HAVE A HUNCH YOU’LL LOVE BRUNCH
It wouldn’t be be brunch without eggs Benedict. Kay’s Orcutt Country Kitchen in Old Town Orcutt uses a dill hollandaise sauce that sets it apart from other versions.
PHOTO BY REBECCA ROSE

They used to say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I'd like to update that adage. I think brunch is the most important and best meal of the day. And in the Santa Maria Valley, one of my favorite brunch spots is Kay's Orcutt Country Kitchen.

Breakfast club
Kay’s Orcutt Country Kitchen in Old Town Orcutt is located at 135 E. Clark Ave. More info: (805) 934-4429.

Kay's has a wonderful and long history in Old Town Orcutt. As the landscape of the community begins to change, with newer and more upscale spots encroaching on the traditional hangouts, Kay's does a good job of staying focused on what they do best: traditional food with an elevated kick, using only high-quality ingredients and fresh products.

It's almost impossible to get seated for Sunday brunch anywhere in town, which is why my fiance and I have started going on Saturdays. A lazy brunch on a Saturday is the perfect way to spoil all your weekend plans to clean the house and do laundry, which is why I never miss a chance to hop over to Kay's on the weekends.

What I like so much about Kay's brunch and breakfast menu is the diversity and the emphasis on freshness. Take, for example, their omelettes and scrambles. There are so many different options, whether you're looking to load up on carbs or are in the mood for something lighter with a lot of veggies. I really love the BAGS omelette, with bacon, artichoke hearts, garlic, and spinach. I opted to go a little more heart-smart and 86'd the bacon and asked for an egg white substitution, which they accommodated with no issue.

Kay's doesn't shy away from being a bit tongue-in-cheek on their menu, either. The Too Much to Drink Last Night omelette is a fun poke at why a lot of us drag ourselves out to carb-heavy brunches on mid-morning weekends. Stuffed with diced chicken-fried steak and bacon, smothered in sausage and bacon gravy, this one will definitely help you get the lead out.


HEALTHY EVEN IF YOU’RE NOT WEALTHY
Eating smart and healthy at Kay’s Orcutt Country Kitchen is easy thanks to a variety of affordable menu options and substitutions. Any omelette or egg dish can be made with egg whites, and sides can be substituted for fresh fruit.
PHOTO BY REBECCA ROSE

While Kay's delivers on belly whoppers like the Too Much to Drink, the venue also offers lighter options with a lot of vegetables. The Mediterranean scramble is another of my favorites, loaded with spinach, sun-dried tomato, black olives, and artichoke hearts. The turkey sausage scramble is another option with a lot of fresh veggies, including tomatoes, mushrooms, red onions, and green peppers. I like it because the turkey sausage gives the heartiness of regular sausage, but isn't as greasy or calorie-laden.

There are some truly decadent options as well, including the brioche French toast, chicken and Belgian waffles, and a Monte Cristo sandwich. The cinnamon raisin French bread offers an even sweeter and more delicate twist on the classic dish, dipped in Kay's "secret" egg batter (hmmm, what could that secret be?). But if you really want to try something over the top, check out the harvest-stuffed French toast. This is brioche bread filled with a berry-infused cream cheese, topped with a selection of fresh fruit and a sweet berry sauce glaze.

The classics are done superbly at Kay's. One of my favorite dishes of all time is eggs Benedict (I almost went insane trying to teach myself how to poach the perfect egg). Kay's version offers a crispier Canadian ham than you might be used to, but it works, as does the dill hollandaise sauce, which I personally think they should bottle and sell. If you're feeling fancy, go for the crab cake Benedict, which features two poached eggs atop two well-seasoned crab cakes.

Another important feature at Kay's is their specials menu, often advertised on the location's Instagram page @orcuttcountrykitchen (it's one of my favorite local restaurant social media accounts). Kay's likes to tease new or special dishes and they always manage to come up with something unique, like the crab omelette for Father's Day, made with crabmeat, asparagus, tomato, and green onions. 


MIMOSA ESPOSA
A mimosa good enough to marry is what you’ll find on the menu at Kay’s Country Kitchen. The impressive drink menu allows you to create your own version of the brunch favorite with orange, apple, grape, or grapefruit juice.
PHOTO BY REBECCA ROSE

I've saved the best for last, which is, of course, the drink menu. Because what's brunch without a mimosa? Kay's drink menu is almost good enough to stand alone as a bar option (and what's to stop you from sitting at the counter and enjoying a few drinks on a warm Saturday?). The mimosas are served with four different juice options including orange, apple, grape, and grapefruit. If you're looking to be adventurous, try one with grapefruit. The pop of bitter acidity from the grapefruit pairs nicely with the sweet, bubbly Champagne. For those looking for something a little heartier, Kay's offers the Red Hot Corona, their spin on a bloody mary. Cold Corona Beer is served in a mason jar along with hot sauce and a dash of lemon and salt and pepper. It's a spicy kick that goes well with some of their lighter menu options, as well.

I could go on and on about all the dishes here I really like, and that's the thing about a great brunch or breakfast menu. You never can quite pick one thing–you have to try it all.

Arts and Lifestyle Writer Rebecca Rose is all about BAGS. Contact her at rrose@santamariasun.com.

 

• If you're looking for something fun and new to try on hump day, check out Wine Wednesdays at Cecchetti Wine Bar. What exactly is a "Wine Wednesday?" I'm pretty sure it's a Wednesday where you drink wine. Which is awesome, obviously. Stop by for glass or a bottle and sample some Italian bites. Visit Cecchetti next to Cecco Ristorante, 475 First St., Solvang.


Presqu’ile Winery
PHOTO BY WENDY THIES SELL

Presqu'ile Winery hosts Profound and Rare: An Evening of Library Wine on July 7 at 6:30 p.m. Led by Matt and Madison Murphy, the event features a walk-around tasting focusing on Chardonnay and pinot noir from the estate's 2009, 2010, and 2011 vintages (pictured). Danior Kitchen will prepare a selection of small bites to pair with, and showcase, the delicate grace of the library selections. Tickets are $45 per person and must be purchased in advance from Presqu'ile Ticketing. More info: (805) 937-8110, email to info@presquilewine.com, or visit www.presquilewine.com. The winery is located at 5391 Presquile Drive, Santa Maria.

• Attention, karaoke fans: Blast 825 Taproom in Old Town Orcutt features karaoke every Thursday night from 9:30 p.m. until closing. Go get your Grammy dreams off and running at 241 S. Broadway, Orcutt.


BOB’S WELL BREAD
PHOTO COURTESY OF BOB’S WELL BREAD

Bob's Well Bread has a new Summer Farmers Market Salad. The salad is a panzanella with heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, burrata, and torn Pain au Levain (pictured). It's beautiful, fresh, and will fill you up without being too heavy. Try it for yourself at 550 Bell St., Los Alamos.

• Speaking of brunch/breakfast, Mad and Vin at the Landsby in Solvang has a great early morning menu. Try the steak and eggs, a traditional option featuring a six-ounce prime flat iron, two farm fresh eggs, crispy hash browns, and arugula, along with your choice of toast. Breakfast is served Monday through Thursday from 7:30 to 10:30 a.m., and Friday through Sunday from 7:30 to 11 a.m. at 1576 Mission Drive, Solvang.




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