So, on a recent Sunday, I was happy to settle in at Crystal Creek Cafe in Bothell with my husband and daughter.
The place was hopping, with several groups already waiting for tables when we arrived. After a short wait, we settled in at our table with our coffees and perused the menu. The menu did not disappoint. We found all the usual breakfast favorites, various combinations of bacon, eggs and the like. They also offer some more unusual breakfast items, and we had a hard time deciding what we wanted.
My husband chose the bacon potato pancakes ($9.99 or $6.99 half order), which were the star of the meal. The pancakes were made with grated potatoes combined with egg, bacon, green onions and cheese, served with apple sauce and sour cream on the side.
I could eat these every day. They were just the right amount crisp. The bacon in them was also still nicely crisp. The flavor was spot on. They tasted good with either the sour cream or the apple sauce.
My husband ordered a full order, and it was a very generous serving. Usually I would say it would be enough to share, but these are so good, you would have to be a generous person to share them.
After the perfection of the potato pancakes, my banana pecan waffle ($7.59) was a letdown. There were a few scant slices of banana on top, along with a meager sprinkling of pecan. The stingy portions aside, the waffle itself was good. It was just crisp enough to stand up to a generous portion of syrup without getting soggy.
For my 1½-year-old daughter, I ordered a kid-size bowl of oatmeal ($5.29). I'm fussy about oatmeal, and this certainly passed my test. It was properly cooked; oatmeal is so often cooked until it's just mush. This was great with a bit of butter, sugar and milk.
As my daughter pretty much just ate all of the raisins, I was able to steal much of her oatmeal without guilt. The oatmeal came with a biscuit, which also was delicious. It was huge, soft and fluffy. I enjoyed it greatly with some jam and butter. It also passed the toddler test.
The only detriment to our meal was the service. While I did say I enjoy a leisurely breakfast, this was a bit too leisurely. We had time to peruse the menu repeatedly, make a decision, chat for awhile and get impatient before we saw any sign of our waitress.
When she did show up, she was friendly, as were all of the staff members we came across. However, after it took a long time for her to take our order, it also was a long wait before we got our food.
As we were about two-thirds through our meal, she came by asking if we needed anything. We asked for coffee and then asked again the next time we saw her. We never did get another cup of coffee before we left.
The slow service was less annoying than it could have been because the restaurant feels like a place you linger. As we chatted, we were surrounded by a pleasant buzz of people, many of them families, talking and laughing.
While the service was a bit frustrating, we did really enjoy our meal. I'd be happy to recommend their breakfasts, I would just recommend you go when you have lots of time to be leisurely.
Crystal Creek Cafe
22620 Bothell-Everett Highway, Bothell; 425-486-7781; www.cafesinc.com.
Hours: 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.Monday through Saturday; 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.
Vegetarian options: Many.
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