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Way back in November, 2006, we enjoyed a wonderful breakfast at Gold Miner Caf in Folsom, and since the experience was so wonderful, we swore that we'd return.  Well, when it comes to breakfast, the best-laid plans of mice and men can go arry, as it seems there is always a new breakfast place opening that we just have to try, or something else comes up; you get the idea.  Don't get me wrong, the subject of Gold Miner Caf came up many times, but it wasn't until it was Jim's turn to choose that firm plans were made to hold out club meeting of Friday, April 30, 2010 at the restaurant.  

Photo:  Here's something that you don't see very often:  Mary's Gold Miner Caf without any cars parked in front of the building.  The patio chairs suggest that outdoor dining is offered, but I didn't see any tables.

Gold Miner Caf no longer exists... It's now Mary's Gold Miner Caf with new owners and a new mission.  From watching one of local news programs, we learned that the Masouris family had purchased the restaurant from the former owner, and it was being run by Mary Masouris and her husband Dino.  They have been in the restaurant business for many years and they know how to put together a restaurant the right way, and to make it work.  The completely revised menu features many south-of-the border favorites, as well as selections from Mary's native Greece.  Service is still the same - fast, efficient and friendly - and we recognized some of the wait staff from our previous visit.  Our server, Nicole, proudly let us know that she'd worked for the restaurant since the original owner opened it back in 1995, so Mary hasn't made changes in that department.  The two major changes we noticed were the sign on the front of the building, with the word "Mary's" added, duh!  ... and the menu.  More on the menu later...

The City of Folsom is a bustling, small city, located about 20 miles east of Sacramento, the capital city of California.  Folsom is probably best known for the prison, and the song, "Folsom Prison Blues," made popular by Johnny Cash back in the 1960's.  Today's economy of Folsom is not only based on the prison, but many high-tech companies now call Folsom home base, and Folsom offers an idyllic lifestyle.  But it wasn't always that way, as Folsom started out as a mining town and has a rich history.  In keeping with the history and tradition of Folsom, the decor of Mary's Gold Miner Caf reflects the mining history.  The walls are decorated with colorful murals that depict mining events, and there are many small shelves that hold old-fashioned kerosene lanterns.  An interesting touch is a fixture that holds bottles of chili pepper sauce, with one shelf of bottles labeled "hot," and another shelf labeled "mild."  You know what you're getting into... Artificial plants, pictures, plaques and a couple of white boards with the day's specials complete the decor.  There are no booths at Mary's, only tables and chairs, arranged in a sort of geometric pattern that allows for easy rearrangement.  Most of the tables will seat four in style, but they can be easily rearranged to accommodate more diners.  In fact, today I received a graphic demonstration when Nicole pushed three tables together when I told her there were going to be eight or ten of us today.

Photo:  Note the mural on the back wall, and the huge mine painting to the left of the photo, as Nicole takes our order.  The dining room is clean, comfortable and very spacious.

Photo:  Nicole poses with Jim's breakfast, and has already placed my order on the table.  The shelves on the wall in the background hold a selection of chili pepper sauce, with hot on the top shelf, and mild on the lower shelf.

The menu reflects many changes of the new ownership.  Gone from the menu are the cutesy-poo names, such as "Dee's Egg Plate," or "John Wayne Omelet;" they have been replaced with more conventional nomenclature. Mary's menu offers a little bit of everything, including a few southwestern offerings, and a Greek style omelet or two.  The menu relies heavily on egg breakfasts, which include hash browns and a choice of toast or biscuit, along with a section titled "Mary's Specialties and Favorites," which features benedicts, scrambles, combinations and more, along with the Prospector Favorites," which starts out with a plate of biscuits and gravy, and it give you the option to add meat or eggs, depending upon your hunger, and of course, your pocketbook.  Naturally, the menu has a great selection of pancakes, waffles and side orders.  The complete menu is posted on Mary's web site, which is given at the end of this article.  

If you're a coffee drinker, you'll love Mary's, as the coffee is delicious and your cup will never get lower than half full, as the wait staff is very attentive to the needs of coffee drinkers, but not intrusive.  Cream is kept in those little containers of Half and Half, but there were several bowls stacked high with them, so we didn't run out of cream, nor did we have to pester the wait staff to bring more.

Photo:  My breakfast... have you ever seen a plate of biscuits and gravy this massive.  I managed to eat almost all of it.

Photo:  Check out the beautiful presentation of David's plate of corned beef hash, with the diced onions and bell peppers.

What to order for breakfast, as everything looked so good, and I'd been drooling over the menu, posted on the web site, for the last couple of weeks?  After pondering the menu for a quarter of an hour, and awaiting Mark's arrival (guess he got lost again, as he never showed - we need to take up a collection and buy him a GPS) we placed our orders, as follows:

Matt and Sarah:  Greek Omelette, with ham, bell peppers, tomato, onions, feta cheese, and olive
David:  Corned beef hash, made in house, along with scrambled eggs and country potatoes
Jim and Sharon:  "Santa Fe," which is a flour tortilla rolled with 3 scrambled eggs, chorizo and cheddar cheese, topped with guacamole and sour cream, and served with country potatoes.  Jim had his burrito style, while Sharon chose to have all ingredients separate.  
Eric:  "Prospector Favorite," which was a GIANT plate of biscuits gravy, then ANOTHER plate of two eggs, hash browns, and 4 link sausages.  Geez!!!

When Nicole placed my plate of biscuits and gravy on the table before me, it brought quite a rise out of the group, as the plate was enormous!  A full order of biscuits and gravy consists of two biscuits sliced in half, and then liberally covered, or should I say inundated?  ... with delicious, chunky gravy, with lots of chunks of sausage.  The phrase of the morning seemed to be "Bet ya can't eat it all" and I assured the group that I probably couldn't devour everything, but I'd give it the ol' college try...  I did bring my appetite with me, as I hadn't had anything substantial to eat for nearly 12 hours.  I actually managed to surprise myself, and the breakfast club members, by finishing about 95% of my plate.  Mary's serves a quality breakfast!

Photo:  Sharon and Jim tackle their breakfast of chorizo, eggs and potatoes, as Sarah looks on.

Photo:  Today's Sacramento Breakfast Club members, from left to right:  Sharon Angelo, Jim Angelo, Sarah Donnelly, Matt Donnelly, David DeMario, and Eric Rench, your author, editor and webmaster.  Photo was graciously taken by our charming hostess, Nicole.

Even if you're a miner, a cow puncher, a lumberjack, or anybody with a giant appetite, you won't go away hungry when you enjoy a delicious breakfast at Mary's Gold Miner Caf, as the portions are gargantuan in size.  But at Mary's, it isn't just about quantity, as the food is composed of quality, fresh ingredients, everything is made in-house, and the presentation is a work of art.  We were treated to friendly and efficient service by Nicole, who really made us feel like a member of a big happy family.  As we were enjoying our meal, Mary came to the table to welcome us, and to make sure that everything was going fine, which is a nice touch, to have the owner of the restaurant greet you.  

We were in complete agreement that Mary's Gold Miner Caf is an absolutely great place to hold a breakfast club meeting.  Matt and Sarah raved about their Greek omelettes, and David, who is a connoisseur of corned beef hash raved how fresh the hash was, and how much he liked the diced onions and bell pepper pieces in the hash.  In my case, the biscuits were delicious, as they were fresh, light and fluffy, and covered with delicious, yummy gravy.  My sausage links, eggs and hash browns were cooked perfectly as well, and tasted even better than they looked.  I have to admit that the next time I visit Mary's, I plan to have the "Santa Fe, as I had my eye on Sharon's order, and she commented how much she loved it.  I also think I'll have it separated, like she did.

Photo:  I couldn't resist having Sharon snap my photo with the owner of the restaurant, Mary Masouris.  Mary stopped by our table to welcome us, chat, and make sure that everything was ok.

You can't go wrong enjoying breakfast at Mary's Gold Miner Caf, which is now a favorite of the members of the Sacramento Breakfast Club.

Mary's Gold Miner Caf
426 East Bidwell Street
Folsom, CA 95630-3117
(916) 984-4181
www.marysgoldminercafe.com


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