Another week, and another new restaurant opened in McHenry County.
Triple Berry Cafe is a breakfast and lunch stop just off Randall Road situated right next to Fire Bar.
We stopped by about noon Wednesday. The place was fairly full but also well-staffed, so we were seated pretty much immediately.
We both were into coffee, and water, and both of our cups were filled promptly.
It only took a few minutes for our server to stop by. We hadn't decided yet, of course. The menu is only two pages, front and back, and it essentially is a choice between breakfast or lunch.
There are burgers, wraps and sandwiches on the lunch side, along with the kids' menu options of grilled cheese, chicken tenders, a corn dog, two-egg meal, a short stack of pancakes or a two egg and cheese omelet.
We both were more interested in the breakfast options. That side of the menu was a little more packed with items, from specialties to pancakes, crepes, waffles, French toast, eggs Benedict, skillets, omelets and a grouping called "healthy" that I was for sure not going to order from.
We instead selected the Santa Fe Benedict ($9.49) and the carnitas skillet ($9.49). And the reason I phrased it that way, with the we, is that "we" decided that "we" would order two dishes and that my fellow diner would look them over and then choose the one that "we" liked the best to eat.
But I'm not bitter.
Because both options arrived and looked great. And I got a good sample of both regardless.
My fellow diner ended up with the Santa Fe Benedict, which was the traditional English muffin with poached eggs and hollandaise sauce but also included some top-notch pico de gallo, avocado slices and shredded chicken carnitas with a heaping helping of hash browns on the side.
I can't exactly put my finger on why, but the hollandaise was a step above most of the hollandaise that I've eaten. And the chicken was of high quality and well-seasoned but didn't overwhelm the dish.
My plate, the carnitas skillet, ended up being kind of similar despite a different way of compiling the ingredients. It was a bed of hash browns with the chicken carnitas, topped with two over-easy eggs, pico de gallo and sliced avocado – essentially a little larger helping without the hollandaise sauce.
If I go back, I'll try something different, for sure. Because the strawberry cheesecake French toast ($8.69) and the tiramisu ($8.99) pancakes sound outstanding, and so do several of the breakfast entree specials, such as the Californication (cinnamon bread French toast, two eggs and sausage or bacon) or the biscuits and gravy, which is always a favorite.
• The Mystery Diner is an employee at the Northwest Herald. The diner’s identity is not revealed to restaurant staff before or during the meal. The Mystery Diner visits a restaurant and then reports on the experience. If the Mystery Diner cannot recommend the establishment, we will not publish a story.
If you go
WHAT: Triple Berry Cafe
WHERE: 435 Angela Lane, Crystal Lake
WHEN: 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
INFORMATION: Call 815-893-4343.