Aloha Everyone, if you're from or familiar with California, then you'll know that Bakersfield Is often the butt of jokes on late night talk shows and/or cavalierly dismissed as some kind of redneck backwoods by the LA glitterati in the movies and interviews. What do they know? Sure, Bakersfield isn't the center of the universe, but it doesn't pretend to be. It, maybe surprisingly, has a few great treasures of its own worth stopping for. One of them is the 24th Street Cafe. It's been around for many years, and regrettably as a former Bakersfield-ian, I had never gone before. However, I had occasion to have breakfast there this morning and it was simply excellent. I had their signature pan-fried trout and eggs with fried green tomatoes and hash browns. Everything was awesome. I'm kind of a breakfast snob, so I tend to judge this meal rather stringently. The soft-scrambled eggs were perfect (many places simply cannot get it right), the trout and green tomatoes were crispy and hot; I mean hot, not warm. Hot. The hash browns were that perfect combination of crunchy outside with hot shredded insides. Then I hit 'em with the ketchup/catsup (either way). In-freaking-credib-ly good. Sourdough toast that actually was sour, not some lame excuse for sourdough. Pre-buttered generously, which I love! Hot coffee refills constantly. Attentive, but not pushy service. They have an interesting and slightly eclectic breakfast menu comprised of iconic, traditional offerings and some seafood/ Mexican/Cajun twists. Bottom line: serious tummy-gasms at a reasonable price. If you're local and you haven't been, shame on you. Yes, I'm a hypocrite, but I'm comfortable acknowledging it. If you're not local and just cruising through the Valley, do yourself a favor and swing in; easy off, easy on and less than 10 minutes from the 99 freeway. You gotta go. Aloha, Fritz
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