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Monday, November 29, 2010

Columbia Eats: Cafe Strudel

I'm kinda new to this "brunch" thing. Coming from a family which enjoyed the comforts of home in the morning, we rarely went out and about town on Sundays for a meal. Ever since I've ventured out on my own for graduate school, however, I've been fortunate enough to enjoy the company of my peers on Sundays and take part in the southern tradition.

Sometimes, however, Sunday just isn't enough for brunch. Fortunately for Columbians, Cafe Strudel is one of the rare gems in the world that serves breakfast at all times. Just over the bridge from downtown on the West Columbia side, Cafe Strudel is located inside a homey light blue building. Upstairs, downstairs, and patio seating are available, all of which are decorated with funky artwork and bright, vibrant colors.

Any place I go to I try to do a little research ahead of time to find out what to order, and Cafe Strudel is no exception. The Hangover Hashbrowns would have been an easy choice regardless of the research (its name alone makes me warm inside!), but these have long been hyped by local eaters, and for good reason. Crisp and creamy hand cut potatoes with just the right amount of cheese and onions, those ingredients alone would have made for a perfectly fine hash, but Cafe Strudel kicks it up a notch with tomatoes to give it some more brightness and, best of all, a handful of banana peppers which gives the dish extra crunch along with a perfect tang to keep the hashbrowns engaging from beginning to end. Eggs can be done any way, but sunny-side up easily made the dish even dreamier with the creamy yolk soaking into the hash. From top to bottom, these hashbrowns easily made my day.

My companion for the day decided to fulfill her desire for bagels with a breakfast sandwich, which came just about any way you could possibly want it. The bagel was perfectly toasted the way every bagel should be, making for a deeply satisfying sandwich. The fact that it was under $4 made it all the better! Cafe Strudel excels in the all-day breakfast menu, but they also have the usual lunch options and a bar (with a half-decent selection to boot) for those looking to relax in the evening.

Being a cafe, we can't forget the tea and coffee. Featuring over 30 teas, including rotating seasonal specials, the list featured everything from green and black tea to a few special blends. We tried a small pot of the Holiday Dream, a blend of black tea with several holiday spices and mint. It was delicious needless to say, and a beautiful pair with the breakfast items.

No Reservations, the Shakedown on Cafe Strudel
Atmosphere: Casual and cool, hip enough to be trendy,
but still homey enough for the whole family.
Cost: A steal for most items. $4-8.
Try: The Hangover Hashbrowns. A must for any first-timer.
The breakfast menu in general seems to be a hit all around.
Let me know: How the gourmet soda is if you try it!
I never get around to it thanks to the tea selection lol.

The Final Verdict
I tried to find something bad to say about Cafe Strudel, but all I could think of is the fact that it might take a few minutes to find seating because it is so busy. Even then though, the longest wait I've had is ten-to-fifteen minutes, and they even offer you a drink while you wait! The food is satisfying, the options are varied and rewarding, and the atmosphere is just spot on. With breakfast being all day, there's simply no reason not to try it. Parking can be a bit of a walk because of the area, but it is worth the trouble for this Columbia eats.

Cafe Strudel on Urbanspoon


Kim said...

Oh man....except for the fact that I would need to have those eggs over medium those hangover hashbrowns look AMAZING! (sunny side up looks beautiful, but I just can't handle runny whites...runny yolks yes, but the whites seem too much like phlegm when runny! :-)

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