Crest Cafe has been featured on the Food Network's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. We've had our own little sneak peak during a few Taste of Hillcrest events. This family run business has been open for years but only recently did we sit down for an actual meal inside the retro diner.
Initially, we met a few familiar faces at a mini blogger dinner coordinated by Passion Roots PR (from our Curry World review). The Crest Cafe owners, Cecelia and Ruben, gave us free reign over the menu, allowing everyone to pick whatever caught their eye.
Soon the food arrived. After a flurry of photos, we dug in. Thankfully it was a relatively small group. The more bloggers, the longer it takes before we can taste the food!
Chicken & Waffles
The crunchy crust is like a cornmeal batter that was fried up perfectly. The chicken underneath was moist with a good proportion of chicken to skin. A maple spread on the chicken added a touch of sweetness, plus additional syrup to taste. I'm not a fan of syrup so I would eat this bad boy on its own.
Normally we prefer a little more edge to the waffles but in this case, the doughier style works in perfect contrast to the already crunchy chicken. I forgot to add butter to my waffle but once combined, it was pretty tasty.
Another blogger ordered this entree. It had a softer batter than the chicken in my dish but likewise stayed super moist inside! The sides were a medley of vegetables to keep it healthy. Yet another blogger had a pasta with chicken fried similar to mine but with herb spices! It was well received. Apparently Crest Cafe knows how to work the chicken!
Orange Anchiote Pulled Pork
We did a double take when this item came out. Dennis's sandwich choice turned out to be the size of a football!
Dennis provided the following feedback: The sandwich is very interesting on the first bite because the orange flavor does come through. But because of the sheer size of the sandwich, the oilier juices begins to get to you after a while. The bread helps to soak it up but you definitely can't finish this all in one seating. It's a messy sandwich so be prepared with a lot of napkins to clean up afterwards!
We all shared these softly fried patties, which were made with zucchini and potato and spices. By itself it was sort of flat but add the diced tomato sauce as intended for a yummy mouthful.
To finish off the night, we sampled FOUR different desserts. Starting at the upper left going clockwise, we have the Brownie, Peach Cobbler, Carrot Cake, and Creme Brulee. The rich brownie was the overall favorite of the group. I tried to cut the peach cobbler into slices with little success until we figured out that dessert was IN a bowl hahah. The creme brulee was a little chunkier in texture underneath the caramelized sugar. The Carrot cake was moist with a sweet frosting.
After a merry gathering with fellow foodies, we headed our separate ways at the end of the night. Thanks to Passion Roots PR for planning and The DD (Drunk Driver) Van Service for transportation on this visit.
A few weeks later, Dennis and I returned to try out a few more items on our own. Here's a few restaurant shots of the inside.
I enjoy a savory breakfast so this poached egg with asparagus on a croissant was my first choice. Hidden beneath is sliced ham! You can't go wrong this combination of ingredients. Due to the softness of the croissant, we'd recommend eating this quickly before the liquids soaked through.
We were really impressed with this particular entree because it included this HUGE side of fruit. Come to momma!
Creme Brulee French Toast
This was our "sweet" part of breakfast. The cream was plentiful and there was a minimal amount of syrup spread on top. I though the inside of the toast tasted a little 'wheaty' and healthy but I still enjoyed it. This is another item you must eat immediately otherwise it will get soggy fast!
Dennis and I also tried two of their drinks. The fresh squeezed lemonade is a tarter version while the strawberry lemonade italian soda was a good balance of sweet and bubbly.
We only tried a few items overall but there are some keepers in that mix. Crest Cafe seems to do a very good job with chicken and the plentiful egg breakfast seems to be a winner too. Keep your eye out for this bright diner while thinking of where to eat in the Hillcrest area.
Disclaimer: we were hosted for the first visit only but the opinions are strictly our own.
425 Robinson Ave
San Diego CA 92103
Lucky! I never got a free ride to eat free food. *sigh Was the fried chicken white meat? Was there an option to get all dark meat?
Creme brulee wasn't that good? Do you have a suggestion for where to get really good creme brulee?
I think it was chicken breast but I don't rememeber anymore. It was juicy and yummy fried though! I didn't think this creme brulee stuck out one way or the other here. Maybe try the creme brulee from Solare?
Oh that pulled pork sandwich looks so good! I'm not sure about the orange flavor though - kinda makes me think of the orange chicken at Panda for some reason. But I'd still try the pulled pork here though. I only associated this place with breakfast so it's nice to know they have dinner items to try out in the future. How was parking that evening?
I mostly remember the pork being too "wet" which I was not a fan of. We had drivers for this event and they lucked out with a parking spot right in front of the restaurant. Otherwise, it's one street away from University so I imagine it could get busy later in the week! Also Dennis mentioned some kind of validated parking neraby but I have to figure out where those notes are!
This was one of the very first places we ate here! It was entirely on accident too - walking around Hillcrest and looking for a late brunch. I need to get back over there and try the bene!
it's fun to find new places on accident! hope you have a good visit if you drop in again!
This café looks like it might serve retro 1950s style burgers, but there are quite a few innovative dishes- waffles and chicken together? Who would've thought!
i wonder what a retro 1950 style burger would look like! we need more chicken and waffle spots in SD!
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