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Thinking brunch: Peach Valley Cafe

Thinking brunch: Peach Valley Cafe

The joys of a Peach Valley Café brunch

By Melissa Kahan, GLOB Correspondent

zzGLOBbullet Follow this link for a Peach Valley Cafe lunch feature

Sunday brunch is one of those lovely occasions where anything goes; rolling out of bed and donning your softest sweatshirt, you can roll into a restaurant booth, or you can throw on a pair of wedges and a sun dress and head out with your best girl friends.

Needless to say, I love brunch.

peachvalleyHOLLYSo when my friend, Holly, was back in town, I thought, "What better way to catch up on some much-needed girl talk than at Sunday brunch?"

When Holly said, to my disbelief, that she had never been to Peach Valley Café, I knew that was our destination. It has been my favorite breakfast/brunch spot since I came to school in Gainesville over three years ago, and I find any excuse to take friends and family there whenever possible.

And I suddenly had a craving for apple fritters, but more on those soon.

peachvalleyFRITTERSIt was no surprise that at 11 a.m. on Sunday this breakfast/lunch hotspot was teeming with hungry customers — I can only assume they had a hankering for the famous apple fritters, too. Booths were filled with families, a birthday celebration or two, and hungry GLOBers in need of a good meal after a late night. As soon as our very friendly server arrived, we ordered our drinks and I, without hesitation, added, "And a full order of the apple fritters, please." My friend's wide eyes and eagerness to keep eating the warm, apple-filled balls of brown sugar-coated baked dough dipped in refreshing strawberry yogurt confirmed a successful first experience with what I consider one of the most amazing breakfast items in Gainesville.

And Holly is one picky eater.

peachvalleyWAFFLESAfter much encouragement from me and my previous experiences with what I feel is some of the best French toast in Gainesville, Holly settled on the Peach Valley French Toast. I courageously ventured to try the intriguing-sounding chicken and waffles.

I confess: In all my years and my time spent in Gainesville amongst many PeachvalleyFRENCHTOASTsouthern food restaurants, I have never had chicken and waffles. It has been on my to-do list for some time now, and I am pleased to say I don't think I could have had a better first experience.

I could not hide my surprise as the server brought out a delicately crafted tent-like shape of Belgian waffles with an orb of blueberry butter on top, accompanied by multiple thick, fried chicken tenders and a side of Cajun syrup. A puzzling combinations of flavors on the menu had immediately caught this food adventurer's attention. Then, it puzzled my taste buds the same way.

peachvalleystorefrontThe fried chicken was tender and soft; the savory — and what I assume is handmade — breading was crispy and almost sweet. The Belgian waffles were fluffy and tasted as fresh as the chicken. I was aware that the lilac and blueberry-speckled butter was meant for the waffles, but the Cajun syrup was a mystery. This spicy-sweet flavor pairing was as contradictory as that of chicken and waffles, but it worked. Unsure of what to combine with what, I tried as many flavor combinations as my taste buds would allow: blueberry butter-coated waffle, waffle dipped in Cajun syrup, chicken dipped in Cajun syrup, chicken and waffle combined together and so on. Just to give myself a sense of normalcy, I allowed myself a side of regular syrup with the waffles, too.

Perhaps it was my tired state of mind, but I cannot quite figure if fried chicken is meant for a breakfast menu. However, the unique take on this southern dish was well-received by this food explorer. As always, Peach Valley leaves me, and my companion on this occasion, satiated and with chicken and waffle leftovers.

Last modified onMonday, 05 October 2015 04:18

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