There are a couple of new breakfast options in the area south of downtown Orlando. The Egg & I is in that development anchored by Target known as SoDo (for South of Downtown). Peach Valley Cafe is not, as you might guess, in an area called Peach Valley (but wouldn’t that be peachy if it were?). PVC is in a place called the Market at Southside. I liked the food and ambience at the Egg & I, and I liked the service at Peach Valley. If we could combine the two we’d have a terrific little breakfast place.
Let’s start with the Egg & I. This is not, it seems, named for the 1947 movie of the same name that starred Claudette Colbert and Fred MacMurray. (The movie, about a city girl who moves to the country with her chicken-farmer husband, was the first appearance of Ma and Pa Kettle and was probably the precursor to the sitcom Green Acres, but I digress.) Egg & I is a franchise operation out of Colorado with about 68 locations nationwide. The Orlando location is one of two Egg & I’s (Eggs & I? Egg and Us?) in Florida (Panama City has the other).
The breakfast menu features several versions of eggs Benedict, which I sort of equate to a martini. Not that I had a martini with my breakfast (and not that I’ve never had a martini with breakfast), but a martini is gin and vermouth. Every other variation is something else. Eggs Benedict is poached eggs with Canadian bacon on an English muffin topped with hollandaise. Every variation is something else. Eggs arnold, maybe. But I digress.
There are also a number of southwestern style items, listed under the Eggs Ole heading. I chose the Santa Fe Huevos, which featured two eggs any style (over easy is my style) on a flour tortilla with black beans, melted jack and cheddar cheeses with a piquant salsa and dollops of guacamole and sour cream. I liked the gloppy spiciness of it. The ranch potatoes that accompanied were rather unexciting.
My breakfast companion had the Cambridge Skillet, which featured the potatoes on the bottom and diced ham, bacon with two eggs (scrambled this time) topped with hollandaise sauce. I can’t imagine why it was called Cambridge except that it came with an English muffin. Considering all the ingredients, I don’t know why it wasn’t called the Cambridge Benedict, but it wasn’t. Nevertheless, it was pretty tasty, too, the potatoes notwithstanding. We also shared a rather large pancake, which we found to be too spongy.
Having the pup along, we chose to sit at one of the patio tables. It took a while for the server to get to us, and even then things moved slowly. When I walked through the dining room, I was made to step aside for other staff members so that they could pass. I guess they skipped that bit of protocol in training.
The Egg & I is at 2380 S. Orange Ave., Orlando. It is open for breakfast and lunch daily. Here’s theeggandirestaurants.com website. The phone number is 407-244-5077.
Peach Valley Cafe is the smaller chain of breakfast and lunch diners started by the folks at Stonewood Grill & Tavern in Ormond Beach. When I reviewed the first PVC to open in the immediate area, in Heathrow, I liked it very much. The atmosphere was warm and welcoming and the food was pretty tasty.
The newest one, however, lacks that warmth. In fact, it felt quite cold and institutionalized. The cafe occupies a space that has been a number of failed restaurants. Most recently it had been a sports bar. The remodel included carving out a space in the front corner for outdoor dining, covered by the original roof. Not as pretty as the patio at Egg/I.
My server here was Johnny-on-the-spot, though that was not her real name. It wasn’t Flo, either, though there was a definite resemblance to the character from the Alice tv show.
Various Benedicts here, too, though not as many. This time I chose the Valley omelet, a fairly mundane meat and cheese egg concoction (I had sausage and cheddar). There was plenty of sausage, not so much cheese. The potatoes had a lot more character, and the biscuit was just fine. One might be excused from yawning at the table.
Peach Valley Cafe is at 2849 S. Orange Ave., Orlando (next to Publix). It is open for breakfast and lunch daily. Here’s is a link to peachvalleyrestaurants.com. The phone number is 407-896-4400.