The Charm of the Farm

By Matt Tapia

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Posted August 5, 2010 in Eats

I have to confess something: Flo’s was not my first choice for breakfast grub. It wasn’t my second or my third choice. Frankly, the only reason I ever decided to cross the threshold of Flo’s Farmhouse Café was because my parents love this place. It was their go-to breakfast stop for holidays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, stuff like that.

And considering that Sizzler (yes, I said Sizzler) was another of my folk’s favorite food stops, you can imagine I was a bit skeptical about Flo’s credentials as a decent or good place to get my breakfast on.

But I wanted to be the loyal son.

And that’s what brought me to Flo’s for the first time. And—surprise, surprise—this place isn’t bad. No, not write-home-to-mamma great. Just simple, hearty, filling eats that put the “home” in “homestyle.” Biscuits and gravy? Yup, that’s Flo’s stock in trade. A big o’ plate of country fried steak. Check. Do grits and corned beef hash tickle your fancy? Flo’s has got those. And then some.

As far as atmosphere is concerned, Flo’s is on the no-frills side of the spectrum. An array of booths, tables and counter-style seating is what greets you once you step inside this homey, cozy eatery. The service is top-notch. Your order is taken quickly, food comes delivered at a fast clip. Expect to have your cup of coffee re-filled more times than you can say “Juan Valdez.”

Think coffee shop-type eats but kicked up several notches. And with big ass portions.

During one recent morning repast, I went for broke and opted—with apologies to my heart doctor—for the bacon omelet. When it arrived, it was a glorious thing. Porky, greasy bits of goodness speckling this eggy bad boy. Tasty? You bet. Good for the arteries? Forget about it. Yeah, you’ll be tempted to kiss someone’s grits.

I can also recommend their veggie omelet—which really isn’t healthy just cuz it’s got vegetables in it. It’s just a way to avoid the guilt—but still run into an expanding waistline.

Another plus about Flo’s is that you can bet your Andrew Jackson that your dollars will go far here. To feed four people (and two in our group were big eaters), the bill came to barely over $40. If you do the math (and I know you didn’t want to!), that comes out to basically 10 bucks a head. Where are you gonna find that sort of deal? OK, maybe at that place that sells donuts and sushi. But that doesn’t count. And I digress . . .

Back to the eating. The French toast my wife ordered, however, was not spectacular. And my wife’s had spectacular French toast, skeptics. Trust me. It’s not that Flo’s toast was bad . . . it was just mediocre and ordinary. Far from stellar. And I can understand my wife’s disappointment. You can’t really mess up an egg or toast or a cup of coffee or an English muffin. But French toast, my compatriots, that’s another thing altogether. It’s a subtle art, a delicate marriage of milky dip and thick bread where the virtues of each (sweetness and savoriness) must blend well and complement each other and not overpower. When it just ends up being ho-hum, eggy slices of bread, tears will be shed. Maybe next time.

Stick with the biscuits and gravy. And the omelets. Flo’s has got these dishes on lock-and-load mode. And the coffee is mighty fine.

So, next time you want to take the fam out for some belt-loosening grub that adds up just right in the man purse and beckons you with the bad-for-you allure of bad cholesterol, park it at Flo’s and dig in. And loosen your belt.

Flo’s Farmhouse Café, 5620 Van Buren Blvd., Riverside, (951) 352-2690. AE, D, MC, V.


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