Shop. Eat. Sleep.
That’s about all there is to do there.
Originally an artists colony, Cambria is, at first glance, nothing more than a one-horse town that spans a couple of blocks. A short drive from the famous Hearst Castle, it’s actually quite the character, playing host to cozy eateries and beautiful Moonstone Beach and quaint B&Bs.
We always stay at our favorite inn with balconies that overlook rolling hills and a creek.
Toss me into this sleepy town nestled among green hills dotted with happy cows and I’ll have no problem chilling out.
It helps that there are lots of shops featuring local art and antiques.
Treasure-hunting is a family activity. We girls love rummaging through all the rusty, dusty crap to find that hard-to-find piece to add to our collection at home.
Breakfast one morning was at a busy li’l unassuming diner with a cute back patio.
Even Milou got to go!
He lay patiently under my chair, waiting for scraps to fall.
There was an old copper tea pot hanging from a tree branch with brass cutlery jingling from its bottom.
It was so nice to just sit for a change and chat with my family.
The clock seemed to slow down, too. There was plenty of time for anything and everything.
When our hostess Flo came, I asked her about the Apricot French Toast, which sounded a bit suspicious to me because it was made with sourdough.
“It’s my favorite thing on the menu. I have to stop myself from ordering it almost every single day,” she tooted. And since she looked like a trustworthy gal, I ordered it.
Meanwhile, Daisy had a blast, playing with the water trickling from a pineapple-topped stone fountain near our table. She was completely drenched and the Old Colette would be panicking right about then.
But, we were on vacation and life was great. So, we’d make a pit stop after breakfast and put her into dry clothes before hitting the shops again. No big deal.
Daisy loved roaming around and introducing herself to people, who didn’t seem to mind the disturbance.
She found a nice couple who had a cute dog and made a beeline straight for their table.
Finally, our food arrived and I couldn’t wait to see what all the buzz was about my sourdough French toast.
I’ve been making it every single weekend since our trip and it’s a hit with the whole family!
But, I have a surprise for you.
This version kicks it into high gear with a thin slice of smoky Russian ham.
Ham loves apricot
ham love cheese.
The salty, smoky ham against the sweet apricot jam and the creamy, tart cheese, all dressed in woodsy maple syrup are just gorgeous together.
You are going to love the taste.
Of all the different types of bread I tested, sourdough is surprisingly the best here.
It’s easy to assemble with the cream cheese on one slice and the jam on the other and it holds up
well in the custard.
Don’t be afraid to try different types of bread, jams, cheeses. Avoid really soft breads as they’ll fall apart in the egg-milk wash. A heartier bread, like whole wheat, keeps its form nicely.
But, this time, I do encourage you to stick to the recipe, because the magic is in the combination here.
The taste is phenomenal.
Make the sandwiches the night before, stack them on top of each other, put them back into the bread bag and let them chill in the fridge til morning.
If you’re in a hurry – which you will be once your taste buds have gotten in on the goods – make the sandwiches last-minute and let them chill in the freezer for 5 minutes.
Next, make the custard. I like to spike mine with vanilla and freshly grated lemon zest.
Dip, dip, then fry ’em up!
Stuffed French Toast
Most Middle Eastern and Eastern European delis/grocers carry Russian ham.
German blackforest ham would make the perfect substitute, if you can’t find the Russian variety.
The ham makes breakfast extra special, but the vegetarian version is just as delicious.
Plan ahead – Make the toast pairs the night before and let it sit in the fridge. The sandwich holds its form better if it’s had time to chill and you’ll have less work to do in the morning.
One slice seems like it’s not enough to satisfy a morning appetite, but most sourdough loaves tend to be fairly large and this is richer than traditional French toast.
8 slices of sourdough bread
4 Tb cream cheese
4 Tb apricot jam
4 thin slices of Russian ham
1/2 cup milk
2 free-range eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp lemon zest
3 Tb butter
Spread about 1 tablespoon of cream cheese onto a slice of sourdough, then 1 tablespoon of apricot jam onto another slice. Sandwich the two slices together and set aside.
Repeat the process.
Store sandwiches in a plastic bread bag and chill in the fridge overnight or at least 15 minutes.
5 minutes in the freezer if you’re in a hurry to eat!
In a shallow dish, beat eggs and combine with milk, vanilla and lemon zest.
This is what I call the custard.
Add butter to a nonstick pan and heat on medium.
Use two pans if all 4 sandwiches will not fit onto one.
Remove the sandwiches from the fridge/freezer and remove from the plastic bag.
Dip a sandwich each side in the custard and gently lay onto the pan,
taking care not to splatter any hot butter.
Repeat the process and cook the sandwiches 2 minutes on each side.
Serve warm with Grade B maple syrup and freshly brewed tea and or coffee.
Breakfast on the weekends is a special occasion, like a vacation at home, because it gives us a chance to slow down and be lazy, like we did in Cambria.