Recently, a group of us who work together on the night shift have formed a little tradition that we call "The Sacramento Breakfast Club," as every payday, which occurs every other Friday, we go out to breakfast at various restaurants in the Sacramento, CA area. This works out fine, as all of us get off work at 0800, and trust me, after working all night, we develop a hearty appetite. Nutritionists say that breakfast should be your main meal, so if you work the graveyard shift, that's an easy thing to do. All of the "hard core" members are ex-military, as many of the others who join, and if you've ever served in any branch of the Armed Forces, you have undoubtedly come to appreciate a good breakfast.
Left: Dan and David chat outside of Cricket Country Kitchen, as I snap the photo. Right: The pretty manequin to the left advises you to wait to be seated, as the "Nightmare Guy" to the right, center, holds a frying pan.
April 21, 2006, we chose Cricket Country Kitchen, located at 4745 Auburn Blvd., in California's capitol city of Sacramento. All of us have been to Cricket many times before, as its just one of those sort of places that you can't stay away from. Cricket has it all: Delicious, "stick to your ribs" food, fast, friendly, efficient service, funky "Americana" decor, large portions, and very reasonable prices. Not to mention outstanding coffee poured from a bottomless coffee pot, which is a necessary ingredient for anybody who has served in the military.
Left: A small sample of Cricket's decor. I especially like the jackelope, just to the right of the mounted head of a mule deer. Note the birds at the upper right... truly "Americana!" Right: Our lovely waitress, Vicki sits next to David, who enjoys every second of it, as Dan looks on.
When you walk in Cricket's front door the first thing that grabs your attention is the funky, "Americana" decor, which consists of pictures, mounted animals, bird cages, toys, dolls, signs, lanterns and even a set of bull horns that would make a pink Cadillac proud to sport on its hood. You name it, its on the walls, window sills, display cases; its funky everywhere! You're greeted by a lovely female mannequin, who looks like a refugee from a Route 66 roadhouse cafe, and she holds a sign that reads "Please Wait To Be Seated." To her right, is a well-dressed sinister looking dude, holding a frying pan, who looks like he belongs in "Nightmare on Elm Street." But you hardly have time to take in the decor before you're seated by a friendly hostess. When you walk into Crickets, your treated like family and made to feel special.
We were seated near the hostess' station, which is flanked by the two mannequins, so we were able to take in all of the action. Shortly after we were seated, menus were delivered, along with a nice steaming pot of some of the best coffee you've ever tasted, west of the Mississippi. Cricket features a vast breakfast menu, appealing to any taste, but for us, our selection had already been decided, as we'd been discussing their menu all night long during the course of work, and all of us decided that today would be an excellent day for a chicken-fried steak breakfast.
Left: Vicki takes our order. Right: Our breakfast is cooking on the griddle. The little girl to right of the photo, laughingly told me that she really knew that I was taking a photo of her butt. Now, would I do a thing like that?
We had the pleasure of being served by Vicki, who has worked at Cricket Restaurant for quite some time. She's very outgoing and friendly, chatty and a very good waitress. She's also very attractive, has a "bubbly," outgoing personality, and a girl that any man would be proud to take home to meet mom. Naturally, I had to take her picture, and she gave me a bad time about it, as did other staff members, but I love to be razzed about that sort of stuff, as it goes with the territory of being a free-lance journalist. Plus, it gives me an opportunity to flirt with a pretty lady, an endeavor that I rarely pass up.
Left: Vicki presents our fantastic breakfast. Right: What to do with a "Mr. Huge" chicken-fried steak? David applies tobacco sauce, while Dan shakes a bit of salt on to his fried potatoes. These ex-Air Force guys know how to eat!
After what seem like only a few minutes of pleasant conversation, Vicki brought our breakfast to our table, with a big smile on her face and a lot of friendly banter. Dan, Dave and I basically ordered the same meal, which consisted of chicken-fried steak, eggs over easy, country-style potatoes with onions, sourdough toast, and of course, coffee. However Dan and Dave's breakfast featured a twist, that differed from mine, as they ordered "Mr. Huge," which features a monster-sized 11-oz chicken fried steak, while I opted for the regular size, which is 6-oz. My dining companions seem to have appetites that are up to the task of consuming "Mr. Huge, " and that's quite an accomplishment.
Left: My breakfast of a 6-oz, chicken-fried steak, fried eggs, and home-style potatoes with onions. Not shown is my delicious sourdough toast. Right: Dan cuts up his "Mr. Big" chicken-fried steak, for his "Mr. Big" appetite. Give the guy a break, as he had a hard night's work, working the graveyard shift.
Oh boy, it's a slice of heaven when you're at Cricket's devouring a chicken-fried steak... all the while enjoying pleasant conversation with friends, amid Cricket's funky decor... enjoying wonderful coffee from the endless coffee pot... and enjoying banter with charming Vicki.
You'll leave Cricket with a smile on your face, a very full stomach, and you'll have plenty of greenbacks left in your wallet. We're regulars at Cricket Restaurant, as this is a place that you just can't pass up.
Left: Vicki took the photo, from the left is David, Dan toasts with his coffee cup, while I hold onto the table for dear life, as we enjoy our breakfast. Right: David says "oops..." while Dan toasts the photo with his coffee cup.
Cricket Country Kitchen is one of those places that you just visit again, again and again. If you comment to one of the waitresses at Cricket with your concerns that the menu item might seem a little, well shall we say, fulfilling...? she'll answer with Cricket's model slogan: "You're at Cricket's. Don't worry about it. Relax and enjoy..." Well, that's Cricket's! Pig-out! Relax! Enjoy! Wow, what a place to eat!
Left: On a later visit, I enjoy a meal of "Rooty-hoo" potatoes, which is totally delicious. Right: We get treated to more coffee, as our waitress showcases Cricket's funky decor. Note the whiteboard that advertises the daily special, which is a feature at Cricket. Note the suspended model train in the upper right of the photo.
On September 15, 2006, we brought the ladies along and enjoyed a breakfast in their dining room, which is located to the rear of the restaurant. The decor is just as funky as the rest of the place, but it has a very interesting addition, in that being a large model train track, suspended from the ceiling, with a fully operating model train. Being somewhat of a model train enthusiast, I will inform you, dear reader, that this is of the LGB scale, so it's a BIG model train. Yes it operates while you're eating, and just goes round and round the room. Such a nice touch at Cricket!
Photo: Taken by our friendly waitress, from left-to-right, Bev, Dan, David, your author, and Sharlene enjoy a wonderful breakfast at Cricket Country Cafe on September 15, 2006.
We can tell you many things about Cricket's, but that being said, we'll be back for more, every chance we get. Do yourself a favor and stop by Cricket. You'll be glad you did!
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