Burbank is rife with coffee shops, yet somehow good food manages to elude them. At least Frank's makes real milkshakes from real ice cream, but I'm still pissed off that the attached motel tore down the zigzag Googie roof. And don't even get me started on the Coral Cafe and Lancers, where the customers all look like Ralph Steadman drawings.
Then Bea Bea's opened this year to save our mornings. There is no other place to hit for breakfast brunch, or even lunch anymore. Sure, we still go to Porto's for takeout, but for a delicious and comfortable sit-down breakfast, Bea Bea's has stolen our hearts away.
Service runs the gamut from shy and unobtrosive to friendly and flamboyant, but always competent.In spite of its location next to the pet shop, Bea Bea's manages to eke out a little style with its hip 70s surf color palette and geometric chairs. In fact, the chairs are so simple and square they kind of remind me of Barbie or Lego chairs blown up to human proportions.
The extensive menu hits on the usual morning fare, scrambles, omelettes, and pancakes. And then Bea Bea's takes it one step beyond. The "Volcano Scramble" mixes in chicken-tequila sausage, ortega chiles, jalapenos, cilantro, tomato, tortilla strips, avocado, cheddar cheese, mozzarella cheese, sour cream and tomatillo sauce. The make-your-own omelettes can be made with dozens of fillings, and the pancakes are lip-smacking, tooth-rotting sweet.
Be careful bringing children here because they will be bouncing around the room all day after one of these concoctions. The "Piggie Delight" crepe combines ham and chocolate chips. Yes, really. The enormous "Going Bananas" waffle include bananas, Oreos and peanut butter with chocolate chips and vanilla ice cream. The "Crunchy Cornflakes" is french toast dipped in cornflakes and almonds.
But the breakfast that makes me scream for it in the night is the "Just for You Pumpkin" pancakes topped with a pumpkin cream cheese marmalade and whipped cream. Another favorite is "Jacinda's First Blush", eggs any style with strawberry french toast, bacon and breakfast potatoes.
The french toast is very thick and could be improved by being soaked a little longer to moisten deeper inside. Eaten cold out of the fridge in the middle of the night, though, the french toast seems just right.
The benedicts are another area where Bea Bea excels. The ham is thicker than thick. Only once did a dining partner send back their eggs because they felt the white was runny. "The Crab Cake Benedict" and "Eggs Florentine" were also popular amongst fellow diners. Seriously, check out how thick this ham is.
The restaurant is open until 4pm and also has a complete lunch menu. Besides your wraps, salads and sandwiches, Bea Bea's also served pastas and burritos. The burgers are massive and you can even order them rare. The tuna salad is popular. The spicy tuna wrap is seriously spicy.
There are a number of veggie items and lots of tofu on the menu. Whether or not they are vegan friendly is unclear, but probably so. They do have three different kinds of iced tea, so they seem to be all about promoting choice.
Be prepared for sticker shock. The average price is $10, averaging around $35 for two after drinks and tip, a bit much for breakfast. But considering the massive servings, you can always split a dish or take half home for later. Once you have eaten their pancakes, no price is too high.
The whimsical names on the menu, the ultra-clean hotel style restrooms and fine decor hint at a feminine hand. True to the subtle hints, there is a Bea Bea who runs the coffeeshop. She got her experience at her sister's popular restaurant, CiCi's Cafe in Tarzana. There are more sisters in the family, so let's keep our fingers crossed.
Oh, and don't forget to order a honey latte.