Morning Stars

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Katrina's Cafe
Weekend brunch is served Sat. 7 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
& Sun. 7 a.m.-2 p.m.
456 Grass Valley Hwy., Auburn
530-888-1166
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City brunch, meet your country cousin.

The sizable crowd on the front porch should be the first clue that Katrina’s Cafe is worth the drive to Auburn. On weekend mornings, a virtual tailgate party of hungry patrons gather in the spare space, literally 10 feet from Highway 49, clutching steaming white mugs full of strong coffee and waiting their turn for one of the 16 tables inside this sunny roadside hot spot. Once inside, its country warmth shines through with antique plates mounted on walls painted bright yellow and red, and white ceiling fans spinning lazily overhead. Katrina’s serves up tasty brunches that are full of flavor, home-cooked goodness and just enough surprises to make it a true destination stop. The veggie Benedict is served with softly cooked spinach, still with a bit of snap, sautéed mushrooms and a zesty hollandaise sauce with a hint of citrus. The corned beef hash, a generous helping of finely minced potatoes, onions and meat, is a cult favorite for good reason. And then there’s the signature lemon-yogurt pancakes, which are light, delicious and sprinkled with powdered sugar. But make sure to stop at the ATM first—it’s cash and check only, and you’ll want to have plenty of money to tip the friendly and efficient waitstaff. —Anita Chabria

Katrina’s Cafe’s rolled-up lemon-yogurt pancakes are light, yet decadent. (Photo by Ryan Donahue)


 

Four Sisters Cafe
Weekend brunch is served Sat.
& Sun. 6:30 a.m.-3 p.m.
9050 Fairway Dr., Roseville
797-0770
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Oversized silver utensils symbolize the quartet of sisters who own the restaurant. (Photo by Ryan Donahue)

One of the newest spots in the region, Four Sisters Cafe is already breaking as many rules as eggs with its inventive brunch menu that includes everything from oatmeal brûlée to buttermilk “Mancakes” packed with bacon and sausage. The restaurant, which opened in October, is owned by four Roseville natives (yes, sisters) who have been in the dining business since their teen years waiting tables at Chubby’s Diner. Now they’re running their own place and the family pride shows through in the house-made ingredients. For example, Gina, the oldest sister, cures the bacon for about five days in a salty-sweet marinade and smokes it to perfection with hickory chips. They also make their own syrup, served hot. It’s the perfect accompaniment to the sweet mango-stuffed French toast made from a house-baked croissant filled with mango cream cheese, which is topped with slices of mango, banana and toasted coconut shavings. And not to be missed: the fresh Garden Benedict, with sautéed spinach, slices of tomato and avocado, poached eggs and hollandaise sauce over butter-grilled herb focaccia bread, and the popular Four Sisters omelet, with the house-cured bacon and an over-medium egg folded inside a soft omelet casing. This is definitely one family where there’s not a bad egg in the bunch. —Tori Masucci

Four Sisters Cafe’s  Garden Benedict on butter-grilled herb focaccia bread. (Photo by Ryan Donahue)


 

Mama Kim Eats
Brunch is served Sun. 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
1616 Del Paso Blvd.
515-9971
mamakimcooks.com
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With its newly revamped menu, Enotria has been generating all the buzz lately as a culinary beacon on Del Paso Boulevard, but we think its neighbor down the street deserves some time in the spotlight, too.

The Creole-inspired Mama Kim Eats, just a few blocks east of Enotria, has been quietly growing a loyal following since opening last May in the former Supper Club space. And count us as one of its biggest fans, especially on Sundays when the restaurant hosts a jazz brunch that’s music to your ears and taste buds. While a local ensemble—which on most weeks is Kumyn, led by singer Phillip Rayburn, who co-owns the restaurant—sets the mood with standards like “Summertime,” chef-owner Kim Scott (aka “Mama Kim”) presents a Mardi Gras parade of impeccably plated, soul-warming Southern-style dishes.

Among the signature entrées is the über-popular chicken and waffles. Made from a Rayburn family recipe, the chicken is drizzled with honey mustard and is so finger-licking good that it comes with its own wet towel. Then there’s the house-smoked pork with Creole sauce, two eggs sunny-side up, aged white cheddar grits and dinosaur kale from locally based Feeding Crane Farms. And the baked cinnamon apple French toast is like eating a warm apple pie for breakfast. Be sure to leave room for the scrumptious sides, though, like the freshly baked cheese-and-chive biscuit and one of the heavenly, incredibly moist house-made scones (our favorite is the maple-glazed blueberry). But in the end, it doesn’t matter what you get—Mama Kim will jazz up any brunch dish you order. —Elyssa Lee

Mama Kim Eats’ signature chicken and waffles (Photo by Jeremy Sykes)


 

de Vere's Irish Pub
Brunch is served Sat. & Sun. 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
Davis: 2117 E St. 530-204-5533. Sacramento: 1521 L St.
231-9947
deverespub.com
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You might think a pub is mainly for drinking—and grown-ups. But de Vere’s (with locations in both Sacramento and Davis) is an under-the-radar, cozy and delicious spot for brunch with the whole family (there’s an unusually wide-ranging kids’ menu, from shepherd’s pie to the “Mashy Smashy” with mashed potatoes and veggies).The corned beef hash with eggs and Irish coffee (Photo by Jeremy Sykes)

 A wall of family photos and mementos at de Vere’s (Photo by Jeremy Sykes)

The rib-sticking breakfasts include Irish classics like a fry-up, accompanied by traditional Irish brown bread (baked twice daily in-house), and Irish-American mash-ups like a luscious breakfast sandwich—stuffed with house-cured smoked ham, peppery bacon and Dubliner cheddar—or the popular pork and apricot sausage omelet. Don’t miss the corned beef hash, with plenty of delectable crispy bits, or the Nutella-stuffed challah French toast. Above all, don’t forget it’s still a pub, with an excellent selection of brunch cocktails: If the Tullamore Dew Irish coffees topped with thick whipped cream don’t sate you, then try the “Man-Mosa,” made with Harp lager.

These authentic pubs, run by three de Vere White brothers, come by their family feel honestly. Look for mementos on the walls, such as the teakettle their father gave to their mother as an engagement present in the Sacramento location. Or you might just find the de Vere Whites themselves: One recent morning found their mum rocking her grandchild and chatting with kids nearby, who were chowing down on the excellent fish and chips. Now that’s a hearty Irish welcome. —Kate Washington

The Nutella-stuffed French toast (Photo by Jeremy Sykes)