The Trout Farm Inn still sets the stage for food and fun
At the Trout Farm Inn, I can sit at the bar, where locals swap stories watching a football game, at a bright poolside window, at well-weathered tables in the fresh air, or in the romantic, dimly lit back room which offers idyllic views of the creek and the neighbor’s pond. From this pond, built in 1903 and likely California’s first hatchery, come the restaurant’s trout dinners.
On a recent morning, the pool-view tables were brightly lit by warm rays of sun. Overhead, the wood of the low open-beam ceiling was speckled with spots of blue chalk, bringing back memories of a pool table that once stood there. But it was time for the food.
The weekend-only breakfast menu consists of home-style favorites along with a couple of surprises.
Eggs with potatoes and toast ($6.95) can be upgraded with bacon or sausage ($2) or ham ($3). There are a few omelets to choose from, but I built my own, starting with eggs and cheese ($7.45) and a list of embellishments ($1 to $3.25 each). The extremely fluffy omelet with cheddar and jack cheeses was folded around sautéed spinach, bacon, and thinly sliced mushrooms. It was served with a fan of fresh avocado and firm, peppered potatoes which were tossed with red bell peppers and onions. The biscuit side order was huge. Cooked in a mini-loaf pan, butter melted quickly into its dense and flaky interior.
The Signature Breakfast Series ($6.45 to $14.95) includes eggs with center cut pork loin chops, sirloin steak, or chicken-fried steak. I thought the most unique were the skirt steak dishes, especially Machaca ($11.45). Strips of tender meat topped eggs scrambled with tomatoes, spicy green chilies, and crisp slivers of red, white and blue corn tortillas.
For lunch, you'll find interesting sandwich combinations ($8.45 to $10.95) including chicken and bacon with ranch dressing, chicken with pineapple and barbecue sauce and a grilled black bean veggie patty.
Burger dressings ($7.95 to $9.45) made from certified Angus beef, range from Italian with house-made marinara and fresh mozzarella, to bacon and blue cheese with barbecue sauce. I chose Chef Aaron's Favorite Burger ($9.45). The large, soft, cornmeal-encrusted Kaiser Roll required two hands to control it. Its bottom half was coated with Oaxacan mole, generously embedded with circular slices of piquant serrano chilies and crumbled queso fresco, and topped with a smoky, irregularly shaped hand-made seven-ounce patty. It was topped with more mole, and slices of avocado. It was a delightful coalescence of tastes and textures from the velvety saltiness of the cheese, the sweetness of mole, and crispiness of the spicy chilies.
At dinnertime, you will find a list of appetizers plus Angus steaks aged 21 days ($13.95 to $24.95), rainbow trout that is pan-seared or cooked like fish and chips with a Santa Cruz Aleworks IPA batter, secret recipe macaroni and cheese and more. Kids' menus are available too.
Trout Farm Inn, 7701 East Zayante Road, Felton, 335-4317. Full bar. Open Tuesday and Wednesday 11 a.m. until 9 p.m., Thursday and Friday until 1:30 a.m., Saturday 9 a.m. until 1:30 a.m., and Sunday 9 a.m. until 9 p.m.
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