Sunrise Cafe 

805 N. Main St., Meridian, 208-888-4517. Mon.-Sat., 6 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sun. 7 a.m.-3 p.m.

With all of the dining options right in my own Boise 'hood, it's not often I need to travel outside my comfort zone for food. However, I also hate getting stuck in a rut, and so I try to make a point of occasionally going beyond my own little core area to eat. My regular dining companion—the I.T. Guy—is a big fan of breakfast, so a trip to the Sunrise Cafe in Meridian on a Sunday morning fit both our needs.

I've patronized the Sunrise in Meridian a few times over the years and wasn't the least bit surprised to find it busy at 10:30 a.m. It's seat yourself, so we lurked around, and the minute a couple left a booth, we were in it. It was pleasantly freezing inside.

Our very busy and very friendly waitress wiped our table, brought us menus and poured us coffee ($1.29) almost simultaneously. The I.T. Guy struggled with what to order, but I knew what I'd come for and zeroed in on the omelets.

The omelet selection is fine, but I couldn't quite find what I wanted. Fortunately for me, there's a Build Your Own Omelet section which offers a four-egg omelet base with three items for $6.99 (additional items are 79 cents each). I opted for bacon, Swiss cheese and mushrooms. After three passes from the waitress, the I.T. Guy finally settled on the ham and cheddar cheese scramble ($6.99). Both came with hashbrowns and a choice of "breakfast bread." He went for sourdough toast, and I chose the half of a giant cinnamon roll.

Our food arrived quickly, and one look at our platters and I wished I'd asked for at least one less egg in the omelet. They're huge. But I was hungry and willing to do my best to polish it off. The hashbrowns were crispy on the outside and smothered in ketchup (which is how I like my fried potato products). So delicious. The cinnamon roll was drizzled in frosting and had a big dollop of whipped butter on top. It was moist and chewy. It was the omelet that was both my favorite food item and my biggest disappointment.

The omelet was thick and fluffy; they had used thickly sliced fresh mushrooms; and it was full of bacon—I was eating forkfuls of just bacon. On a recent episode of Bravo's Top Chef, judge Ted Allen said, in regards to a contestant's dish of bacon-wrapped shrimp on cheesy grits, "If you want to make people happy, give them bacon." A truer sentiment I couldn't have uttered myself.

I had two problems with the omelet and they were both cheese-related. One, the Swiss was not real, but the processed square slices used for sack lunch sandwiches. Two, the four slices arranged quite nicely across the top of the omelet were not quite cold, but certainly weren't hot. I looked up behind the counter and saw that the ledge where the plates await delivery is not under a heat lamp. While I think heat lamps have kind of a bad rap, that would explain why the cheese on top wasn't melted and further indicates that the fast service we experienced is a big part of Sunrise's quality control. Food isn't left overcooking under a lamp; it's expected that once it's up, it's on its way. But the heat from inside the omelet wasn't enough to melt the cheese on top, and if the omelet sat on that ledge for long, there's no way the heat of the food could compete with the restaurant's air-conditioning. Once I pulled slices off the top of the omelet and set them aside—and though I would have preferred the tang of authentic Swiss—my omelet was pretty damn good.

When I asked the I.T. Guy how his breakfast was, without looking up, he muttered, "Mmmm. Ham scramble," and added that the strawberry jam accompanying his toast tasted homemade—the best he'd ever had in a restaurant.

I will go back to Sunrise and order a bacon, mushroom and cheese omelet again, though I'll eschew my love of Swiss and opt for cheddar next time. The I.T. Guy has already asked me what we're doing next Sunday.

—Amy Atkins wants all the little piggies to go to market.

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