Big Figs in Little Oaks

Wha? Oh wow.

Having one of my chicken fried steak breakfast dreams again.

Best one (steak, not dream) I ever had was at the http://www.sandiegoreader.com/places/potato-shack-cafe/">Potato Shack in Encinitas (120 West “I” Street).

There’s nothing like Encinitas (“Little Oaks”) in the morning. Fresh sun, dripping surfers, ocean just down the road, small town feeling.

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Potato Shack's on a side street heading for the ocean in Encinitas

And this place, a low building huddling under giant fig (ficus) trees, with chairs and tables around the mighty trunks…it just begs you to come in and take a load off.

My chicken-fried steak? Wicked, delicious. Basically $8.95 with biscuits and gravy. I got it with steamed eggs, squaw-bread toast and American fries, which means red potatoes boiled, cooled, then sautéed in canola oil. Cholesterol-free, they say. And as many refills of fries as you like.

The other things I like are their huge (“manhole-cover-sized”) pancakes ($5.50), endless coffees ($2.30). And - get this - the fact you can split an order and no dirty looks or extra charge. Cool.

Inside, you can eat at polished redwood tree-trunk tables. But the ultimate cool is those ancient fig trees outside. They make this place and its people look tiny.

Not that you feel tiny, after a chicken-fried steak.

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Chicken fried steak breakfast with steamed eggs, spuds, squawbread toast

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Side view of the Potato Shack


Have you tried the chicken fried steak at Centre City Cafe in south Escondido? So crisp, oh, yum. But maybe I'm prejudiced. I totally hate the heavy, thick manhole-sized pancake at Potato Shack. Quantity, not quality. Well, to each his own.

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