Friday, May 13, 2011

Sassy Onion

(Not as great an experience the second time. See part 2, posted July 2011)

The Sassy Onion is a breakfast/lunch restaurant located near Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. They serve your typical American breakfast and lunch food. Their French toast is one of their signature items, and they offer various toppings/choices. I went with the Mixed Berry French Toast.

Wow, that is one huge piece of French toast! The berries (raspberries, blueberries, Marionberries, and strawberries) were nice and warm. By heating the berries up (probably with a little sugar), the fruits softened and the sweet juices released and formed its own wonderful syrup.

Speaking of syrup, Sassy Onion offers maple syrup or Marionberry syrup -- warm syrup.

Maple syrup (left) and Marionberry syrup
You can't get warm syrup at every restaurant you go to, that's for sure. As stated in the previous paragraph, the berries provided enough sweetness and a sauce, so I did not need syrup for my meal. I did try both syrups anyway, and they were delicious. The maple syrup would work better with the Mixed Berry French Toast; there are Marionberries on top of the French toast already. The Marionberry syrup would still be a hit with some of the other non-berry French Toast options (such as Banana Nut).

I wanted to sample a lunch dish from their menu, so I ordered the Turkey slaw lettuce wraps to go.

While it is a carb-friendly choice (my personal preference), this was not the best choice overall. The lettuce leaves were a bit wilted. The fruit skewers were ordinary...I could have made those. The slaw was passable, but I felt it could have been better with a lot of heat or even more bold flavors.

I sat at a table which allowed me to view the kitchen staff. Only six other tables were occupied at the time I went, so things were pretty laid-back. The service was quite good and the food came in a timely fashion. I could tell the French toast had just come off the flat top or pan, and the warm berries were awesome as well.

After seeing Sassy Onion's breakfast menu, I noticed they have a "Five Alarm" Scramble, with low-carb or spicier substitutions for hash browns. It's nice that one can ask for egg substitutes -- or evenswap out the crab-heavy hash browns for something sassier (bell peppers, onions, and three cheeses), spicier (jalapenos, onions, and pepper jack cheese), low-carb (cauliflower, bell peppers, and onions), or lighter (fruit, yogurt, and granola). At lunch, Sassy Onion interests me further with their 911 Cheese Burger (with jalapenos, hot sauce, and pepper jack cheese) and their house specialty: Dungeness Crab Cakes. So basically, Sassy Onion's large menu and their substitute options for the health-conscious are very attractive to me -- and play a huge factor in making me want to return.

And yes, for the people who don't care about their weight or have a sickly awesome metabolism, Sassy Onion offers dessert as well. When you walk in the restaurant, one of the first food items you will see is their dessert selections. If you walk in hungry, you should leave pretty full.

As far as criticisms are concerned, I think the place would benefit from better lighting. It felt a bit dark in the restaurant -- even when I went at about 11:30 in the morning. While the to-go lunch could have been a bit better, I thoroughly enjoyed my first experience at Sassy Onion. I plan to be back for more great food.

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