47 Phila Street, Saratoga Springs, NY
Constant Companion and I ended up in Saratoga Springs on an early January Saturday when it was simply too cold outside to be believed. It was the kind of morning when you can’t feel your toes, your feet are so numb. We hadn’t had breakfast yet, despite the fact that it was past noon, and CC was bound and determined to try out Sweet Mimi’s, which had popped up on the TripAdvisor website. Sweet Mimi’s is a bakery/café, located two doors away from the venerable Hattie’s Chicken Shack, with a sunny, spare interior. Clearly the focus is on the food here. The décor does not try to overwhelm.
The menu offers an array of breakfast foods, including breakfast sandwiches, omelets and pancakes, supplemented by a blackboard of specials on the back wall. The menu describes in detail the local sourcing of many of the ingredients used, and there is even a lengthy description of how the coffee beans were selected from a nearby roaster for Sweet Mimi’s own house blend. I’m a dark roast kind of guy, so their blend seemed a bit on the weak side to me. I didn’t realize until rechecking their menu online that they do have a dark roast option available for those customers who prefer it.
Being in an experimental mood, we ended up ordering breakfast plus- because the lemon ricotta pancake sounded too intriguing to not give it a try. So the last thing to land on our table was a pair of the delicious discs, along with a small pitcher of syrup and a bowl of blueberry compote. I was expecting a very light pancake from the menu description- I had it in my head that we’d be getting something akin to a crepe, but the pancakes were in fact just like any other flapjack in thickness and heft, so an order would make a very filling breakfast choice. The lemon flavor was definitely there, although not overwhelming, and in combination with the blueberry compote was absolutely delicious.
CC ordered a cheese omelet and a side of bacon. No surprises, and no ahah! moments, either. I ordered the Mediterranean Strata, which is only available on weekends. Made with peasant bread, locally-sourced sausage, and vegetables, I found myself wishing for more veggies and less bread mixed into the custard. The strata was accompanied by a side salad with a really nice, light vinaigrette. The salad was one of three options (fresh fruit and home fries being the other options), and was my attempt to turn breakfast after noontime into lunch.
CC is on a mission to get every restaurant in the world to serve seltzer water, and not confuse seltzer with club soda. So with mixed emotions I have to bring this up, as I really want to give Sweet Mimi’s kudos for even having seltzer available, and a range of flavors at that. But why in the world would a restaurant in Saratoga Springs only have San Pellegrino brand seltzer available? Isn’t one of the things that Saratoga’s known for is as a place that produces seltzer? You know, in those beautiful dark blue bottles? And this is an establishment that prides itself on sourcing everything else locally? That just didn’t make any sense to me.
Open since October, 2013, I expect Sweet Mimi’s will do very well during track season. Lines running out the door are common on this stretch of Phila Street as folks wait for tables, and I won’t be surprised to see the same thing happen here. The café closes at 3:00 PM, and for much of the year they are closed on Tuesdays. Pricing is moderate for breakfast in Saratoga. Many of the selections seem to start around $10 a plate and can go north from there, and sides such as bacon or sliced banana are additional. My strata, the omelet, a side of bacon, the shared lemon ricotta pancakes, a coffee and a cup of tea totaled $44.78, before tip. sweetmimiscafe.com