I watch too much Food Network. Well, I don’t always watch it, but it’s on in the background a lot. Hey, it’s how I learn to cook. Of course, anytime a San Diego joint is mentioned, my ears perk up, and a few months ago, The Trails Neighborhood Eatery, a restaurant in San Carlos, was featured on Restaurant Impossible, and I’ve been wanting to try it since its revamp, so my family finally went for our traditional breakfast before picking the Christmas tree Saturday.
Driving up, crammed in the middle seat of my mom’s old Suburban with my little brother and sister (because apparently none of us are willing to climb into the back eat), I was less than impressed with the location. This is a personal preference. I love urban communities, which this is certainly not. You drive through middle class suburbia for a while before finally pulling into the Keils and CVS shopping center. What is Keils? I didn’t know until that morning either. It seems to be Vons 15 years ago. It’s all just a little drab and outdated. Parking is extremely easy because there’s no one at the shopping center, but the good news is all the cars there are there for The Trails. We unloaded ourselves and walked up to quite a busy restaurant.
We were seated fairly quickly, but if you aren’t, there was free coffee available on a small table outside the front door. A nice touch. Walking inside, the place is a bit tight, but it is darling, and I actually forgot where I was location-wise, as The Trails could easily be picked up and dropped in a trendier part of town and fit in just fine. The walls are covered in one of my favorite paint colors, apple green, and are fitted with vintage wall papered panels. Personal photos from the family that owns the place are blown up and decorate the walls (a little RI trivia I picked up), giving it a homey feel, but there is something very modern about the clean lines, bold black touches, and graphic prints. My favorite decorative note, however, are the hanging lights, which are dropped bulbs in jars. Charming.
We sat down in the booth in the back, and our waitress was with us immediately. Looking over the menu, I learned this is a great place for vegetarians and people who have other dietary needs as well – I mean, a complete gluten-free menu? Rad. I wanted the croissant French toast. That’s like everything beautiful and wonderful in the world wrapped into a single syrupy package, but I knew I needed protein and something at least a bit more nutritious, so instead I went for the garden benedict, which consisted of sauteed fresh spinach and tomatoes stacked on English muffins and then topped with poached eggs and hollandaise sauce for $8.49. I ordered mine with a side of fresh fruit. My sister ordered a waffle, which was really delicious, and everyone else had meat on their plates, so I didn’t try their dishes. Our food came out fast – Robert Irving would be proud.
So…the garden benedict. Perhaps in the effort to get that food out quickly, presentation was lost. There was a lot of hollandaise on my plate. Actually, there was a lot of hollandaise coming off my plate. It was definitely slapped on – Robert Irving would not have let that out of the kitchen, but whatever, I love a fabulous presentation, but taste can certainly make up for it, and it was quite good. Texturally smooth, but not slimy. The muffins had a good crunch still, and the spinach had excellent flavor – no small feat, as sauteed spinach can be rather horrible. It was pretty heavy. I only ate half and was full.
Our food for five people, including three drinks came out to under $60, which really is excellent. You know what I really like about The Trails? It’s a great place to go with a family. My family is extremely difficult to please for any meal. We have a couple picky eaters and just different tastes, but thanks to the vast menu, everyone was happy
here, so with my family, I would come back. With my friends? If I was hiking Mission Trails on a Saturday morning, I definitely would; otherwise, it’s kind of out of the way of anywhere we would be going, but the food is good, and you never know – I may be swayed out of the cityscapes I prefer by the vegetarian and healthier options available here.
The Trails Neighborhood Eatery is located at 7389 Jackson Drive, San Diego, CA 92119 and is open from 7 am – 3 pm daily, with breakfast served all day (bonus!), and it is open for dinner Wednesday – Saturday, 5 – 9 pm.