Yes, We've Been, Finally | Snooze, An A.M. Eatery

March 13, 2013

Since opening its doors in late 2011, we at SanDiegoVille have been asked innumerable times for our opinion of one of San Diego's trendiest eateries.  We were forced to explain that we heard rumors of two hour long brunch lines, so instinctively avoided this hotspot - that is until Zagat voted Snooze, An A.M. Eatery one of the top 10 restaurants in San Diego. We finally realized that we must overcome our aversion to waits and see what all the fuss was about.  The fuss was justified.  Breakfast is coined the most important meal of the day, and it has been reinvented and reinvigorated by the coming of Snooze to San Diego's Fabulous Hillcrest.

The original Snooze of Denver is alleged to have a similar cult-like following, so after opening several locations around Colorado, the brand decided to take it back to their roots in sunny San Diego.  Snooze Hillcrest is a half-Coloradan, half-San Diegan conglomeration that has the feel of an ultra-modern pancake house.  High, vaulted ceilings with bright skylights and an industrial openness contrast neutral woods, doused with ultra modern, bright oranges and greens, and lounge-y booths, creating an upbeat yet chilled out vibe.  '80s music bellows unoffensively from the speakers creating a vibrant but mellow atmosphere, despite the throngs of patrons bustling in and out.  Huge garage doors open to the spacious open air patio for outdoor indulging,  exuding the same hip feel of the surrounding community. And indulge you will.

My favorite aspect of this brunch spot is the freedom of ordering.  If you don't see it on the menu, ask for it.  If you want one benedict with lump crab and the other with chillaquiles, request it. Want to take that stack of pancakes and make it interesting? Order three different elaborately constructed pancakes and experience the best of all worlds.  Don't feel like rolling out the door and waddling to the car? Get a half or quarter order of your favorite dish.  Gluten free? Vegan? Fine, the chefs always have something prepared for the strict diet.  I hate doing what I'm told. I love doing what I want. I just want to be free! And Snooze knows that and accommodates!

Start with one of the many fun cocktails - all reasonably priced at $5 - $8, or get the palate going with a Guatemalan coffee drink or one of the many fancy teas.  We began with a super spiced  Chai tea latte (hello ginger!) and a fresh-squeezed orange juice with a sour punch.  We counteracted the sour with the sweet and salty O.M.G. French toast ($9.50 for full order), and O.M.G. it was delicious.  Made with fresh brioche stuffed with mascaprone and topped with vanilla creme, salted caramel, agave-soaked strawberries and toasted coconut, this dish was seductive and sexy.  The salty caramel marries the soft eggy interior with its crisp exterior and popped with strawberry flavor bursts, making this a dish worthy of dessert.  Do it, even if it's just a quarter order.

Next we made the benedict split and went with two Snooze Bennys - the Bella! Bella! Benny and the famed Chilaquiles Benedict.  The Bella Benny comes stacked with thin slices of prosciutto, Taleggio cheese, and perfectly poached eggs on toasted ciabatta, topped with cream cheese hollandaise, balsamic glaze and arugula.  Though I wish the ciabatta was easier to slice and dice, the sweet balsamic glaze carried this dish home.  The Chilaquiles Benedict, however, stole the show.  Perfectly seasoned carne asada steak topped a stack of corn tortillas layered with cheddar cheese and topped with Niman Ranch eggs, smoked cheddar hollandaise, pico de gallo and cotija cheese...and I may never split my bennies again. The beef in this dish is packed with flavor true to traditional spices, and can be added to anything for $3! Pancakes topped with this beef may be in my future.  All Bennys are served with house hash browns, which are some of the best we've ever had.

Left to Right:  Pineapple Upside Down, Coffee and Donuts
 and Sweet Potato
And oh, the pancakes.  We wanted to get a true sampling so we did a pancake flight, consisting of a pineapple upside down pancake with caramelized pineapple chunks, homemade creme anglaise and cinnamon butter; a sweet potato buttermilk pancake topped with homemade caramel, pecans, and an amazing ginger butter; and a coffee and donuts pancake glazed with maple icing and topped with crushed pecans, accompanied by a dousing of espresso cream.  Each was amazing in its own right, but my personal favorite was the sweet potato pancake, mostly due to the novelty of replacing syrup with caramel, and that spicy ginger butter! Sugar overload!

If you haven't already, go see what the hype is all about.  Grab some friends, grab a mimosa, and prepare to wait before indulging in your weekend fun.  If you don't subscribe to regular working hours, check out Snooze during the week to avoid the massive crowds.  Be sure to mix and match for a dynamic sweet and savory sharing experience.  Despite the comfortable, chillaxed scene, Snooze is aiming for a quick turnover, so resist the urge to commence the usual brunch lounge fest.  And thank goodness for sunny days (and champagne) to enjoy while waiting.

For more information on Snooze, an A.M. Eatery, visit the website and follow on Facebook and Twitter.

3940 Fifth Ave., Hillcrest
(619) 500-3344

Mon-Fri 6:30am - 2:30pm
Sat-Sun 7:00am - 2:30pm

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