By Liz Richell


You’ll find Friends Café at 17391 17th St., Tustin, in the Marshall’s shopping center opposite the Enderle Center, open daily from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Our friends Bob and Sara had enjoyed breakfast there, and recommended that we give it a try.  We went for lunch, and were faced with a surprising number of choices for a small cafe.

Appetizers include buffalo wings, crispy zucchini, onion rings and more ($5.95-$7.25). Soups and salads come with garlic parmesan bread and homemade dressings. Soup is a made-from-scratch daily special, as is the chili ($4.75-$5.99). Add half a selected sandwich to a small soup for $11.25, and this will include fries or fruit.  The salad list includes such interesting mixtures as the Tuscan, with gorgonzola, Granny Smith apples and walnuts on romaine and basil; Greek chicken, with chicken breast, feta cheese, tomatoes, red onions, cucumber, Kalamata olives and peppers; and the steak salad, which features not only top sirloin, but bleu cheese, sautéed mushrooms, red onions and balsamic tomatoes. There are six or seven more salads offered ($6.39-$13.25).

If you’re a sandwich fancier, there are more than 20 choices on the menu ($8.99-$12.99). Each comes with seasoned fries, coleslaw, potato salad, onion rings or fresh fruit. These are not delicate little sandwiches – Frank’s PCH (a chicken breast, topped with melted Swiss, avocado, alfalfa sprouts, tomatoes and red onions) was more than three inches high. These generous sandwiches are served on a variety of excellent breads – squaw, rye, whole wheat, sourdough. Try a Cashew Chicken (I had that – it was terrific and just as generous as the above-mentioned PCH), a Good Earth (vegetarian), or a Clueben – ham, turkey and Swiss with coleslaw and Thousand Island grilled on rye.

Add eight different burgers ($8.25-$10.75) and four wraps to the ($10.50) selection, and you may have to add extra time for decision-making. Draft beer and wine are by the glass or bottle, plus mimosas and Bloody Marys are available.

I must confess that I have not yet tried breakfast, but knowing the selections for this meal keeps it on my list for a visit in the near future.  Pancakes and waffles are a given – but doesn’t French toast made from egg bread, stuffed with blueberries and cream cheese sound inviting?  Banana, blueberry or chocolate chip pancakes – with or without eggs, sausage and/or bacon? Three different Benedicts? Or steel cut oatmeal and/or fresh fruit? 

If those are not to your liking, there are four breakfast skillets, different ingredients served over hash browns along with toast or an English muffin and homemade preserves. There’s more still – 10 three-egg omelets and another dozen egg dishes (including biscuits and gravy) all accompanied by hash browns, quinoa, fresh fruit, toast or muffin with preserves.

Call (714) 617-4661 for questions or reservations if you have a group. Be sure to tell them the Foothills Sentry sent you! Happy eating.