One weekend morning, I was pondering where to go for breakfast and Austin of The Hungry Dogg blog suggested I check out Paul’s Coffee Shop. So off we went and arrived around 10.30am and the restaurant was already pretty packed, but of course it is having been featured on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.
We were shown to our booth and after settling in with our drinks, we proceeded to order our breakfast and then sat back to soak in the atmosphere. It didn’t take long before a conversation struck up with our neighbors in the next booth and he imparted some information about the place and then introduced us to the owner, Phil Martinez, who ended up bringing out a biscuit smothered in SOS sauce for us to try.
By now, our breakfast was well on its way to us and I immediately regretted not ordering the chicken fried steak which seemed like it was on almost every table in the joint.
Pan San ($6.49) was your regular breakfast with eggs, your choice of meat and pancakes. Not my choice but it sufficed for the kid as he hardly ever veers off his regular breakfast menu items. The pancakes here were really good — and no I don’t usually like pancakes either!
I was so excited to try the Hawaiian Loco Moco ($7.95) after moving away from the islands. It was underseasoned — I added some sel gris to it from my condiment pouch — but very generous in portion size and if you want more gravy they are happy to bring you more. I did like the addition of scallions which zested up the flavors on the whole but would’ve liked my egg whites cooked just a tad more as it was still slimy.
Corned Beef Hash and Eggs ($7.79) was your general version, but then again, I’m not a fan of corned beef hash so I shouldn’t really judge.
So trip number one was just that and there was no way I could write it up after just one visit so I returned again with Austin and Selene in tow for a repeat performance — Chef Dee Nguyen of Break of Dawn fame joined us later on.
I was determined to try the rest of the menu and this time I had people willing to participate. Chicken Fried Steak ($10.95) was a whopping portion enough to feed a small army.
But wait, it doesn’t stop there! Two eggs, and your choice of two sides accompany for that one low price.
If you’re not into breakfast items, there are lunch choices as well. Club Sandwich ($7.99) is a hunking portion and pretty good. The sandwich is stuffed with turkey, bacon, lettuce, tomatoes and you won’t leave hungry that’s for sure.
And now for the piece de resistance, the item I came here for. Chicken Fried Chicken ($10.95), like the chicken fried steak, is a ginormous portion. This is what I will return for. It is perfectly fried, crispy on the outside, moist on the inside.
One of the sides we got with this was the biscuit and gravy. The gravy they smother on top of the biscuit and chicken is good and you will need more of it, trust me on that.
It’s a diner, it’s a dive, it’s charming, it’s totally what you would expect of an old-school breakfast place.
Paul’s Coffee Shop
16947 Bushard Street
Fountain Valley, CA 92708