Residing in Elmwood, Berkeley is Elmwood Cafe, with its retro decor, cozy atmosphere, and quaint furniture. It’s an ideal location for any occasion, from solitary breakfasts to casual coffee dates to parents’ weekend brunch.
What’s Unique Here?
Marble tables (so Instagram-worthy). Red chairs and counter seating (so retro). House-made granola, almond butter, honey, and roasted coffee… whether it’s their scones or quiches, all baked goods (including jam), sandwiches, and soups are made in the house with seasonal and local ingredients. Yum!
Elmwood Cafe is home to Berkeley’s best hot chocolate, served in adorable white bowls adorned with pale yellow details. It’s got the right balance between sweet and bitter, and can be sipped from the bowl or from a spoon. To finish off, it is topped with a dollop of freshly whipped cream and dusted with cocoa powder. I am lactose intolerant, so I opted for almond milk, but I actually recommend doing so – especially if you don’t like your hot chocolates as creamy – because it adds a nutty depth to the hot chocolate. Sorry, you can’t replace whipped cream with a lactose-free substitute, but hey, a little whipped cream never killed no one (I hope).
Poached Egg Sandwich
While I appreciate the lightness of the Acme roll that balances out the heavier counterparts of the sandwich, I feel that a denser bread would have left me more satisfied (because this is a rather small sandwich). However, there are so many good things going on in this that I can overlook the portion size.
Thick pieces of bacon are fried crispy and don’t become sad and soggy as you eat the sandwich; the egg is perfectly poached every time, all the while paired nicely with the herbed mayonnaise, both of which are balanced out with fresh arugula. I have to say, though, that the house-made tomato jam is what makes this sandwich stellar. It’s like gourmet ketchup on crack – you get the flavor of ketchup, but with a little more sweetness, and real pieces of tomato. All together, bomb.
Cinnamon Currant Toast
While Acme Bread Company may be too far of a bus trip away for you, you don’t need to be too sad because Elmwood Cafe brings Acme’s famous Cinnamon Currant bread to you by toasting it to perfection and spreading a generous amount of whipped cream cheese on top. You’ll first bite through a crust that is at once crunchy like toasted bagel chips and sticky like caramel. Then, you’ll get a feel of the soft bread interior, and lastly, the full-bodied taste of cinnamon heaven. Are you in? ‘Cause I’m already digging in.
Lemon Currant Scone
This wee scone consists of layer upon layer of sheer buttery goodness. It’s got the exterior of a shortbread and interior of a fresh buttermilk biscuit. The flakey, sugar-crusted top and rich, cream taste balances the slight tang of lemon, and the dried currants complement the fluffiness of the scone with its denser, chewy texture. If I could have an unlimited supply of lemon currant scones at no cost (money-wise and health-wise), I would eat them all day long. This pairs perfectly with a pot of english breakfast tea; it is a must-try!