Sausalito, CA: A Burger for Breakfast at Fred's Coffee Shop
I had not intended to eat a burger at Fred's Coffee Shop. Sitting at the counter, I could watch the cooks pass out plate-size pancakes, thick triangles of deep-fried French toast, and fluffy omelets (for which the eggs had been aerated for several minutes in a milkshake mixer). Breakfast, not burger, was clearly the business of the moment.
Until I noticed the Swedish Breakfast ($8.25) on the menu—a burger patty draped with American cheese and two eggs over easy, all on buttered wheat toast. I knew I had to try it. Heck, two of AHT's favorite burgers of 2010 had eggs on top.
The burger in the Swedish Breakfast at Fred's is a hand-formed patty of fresh-ground beef that they source from Santa Rosa Meat & Poultry Company. Fred's leaves the meat naked of seasoning, and I'd call this a mistake, especially considering the blanket of fried egg that it needs to compete with. The beefy flavor was there, but not nearly as pronounced as it could have been with a sprinkling of salt. My grilled patty had cooked a little unevenly, pink in some spots, cooked through in others. It hadn't dried out, but much of the liquid came from the runny egg yolks. It was the good old American cheese that brought this dish together, and the bites where it shined through had a satisfying cheesy-eggy-beefy goodness. The addition of the sweet yet pungent tang of griddled onions was also a plus.
Ultimately, I liked my pile of protein just fine, but as I sopped up the last of my egg yolk with a piece of toast, I was a touch wistful for some of that deep-fried French toast. Still, I'm not ruling this combination out. A little more salt, maybe a tangier cheese, and Fred's might be onto something.
Meanwhile, I found myself kind of curious about the Swedish part of my breakfast. When I asked, the very friendly host at Fred's admitted that, as far as he knows, there is nothing Swedish at all about the combination of burger patty, eggs, and toast. A customer had invented the combination years ago and he was also responsible—whatever his reasons—for the dish's name. I suppose if the Swedish Chef had invented it, the dish would be called a beency bouncy burger.
Fred's Coffee Shop
1917 Bridgeway Blvd, Sausalito CA 94965 (map)