Make the long drive
Amazing home cooking in Magalia at golf course
While visiting a couple of friends in the woodsy Ridge town of Magalia, I was offered a warmed-up snack covered in a flavorful, nicely peppered, smoky gravy.
“How did you make this?” I asked my friend Lars.
“I didn’t,” he admitted. “It’s leftovers from a breakfast at Kimmy’s.”
Just off the busy Skyway on South Park Drive, Kimmy’s Café and Catering is nestled in a tidy grove of pines in a small courtyard near the entrance to the Paradise Pines Golf Club. Inside, half-timbered ceiling beams resemble a 17th-century German Fachwerkhaus, and large windows show off the restaurant’s unique setting between the first and ninth holes of the nine-hole course.
Kim and Mike Portlock opened Kimmy’s five months ago. With a focus on home-style fare made from scratch, the Portlocks aim to keep the restaurant family oriented. Kim cooks and waits tables, and her 18-year-old daughter Alexandra Navarre was waiting tables when we visited for breakfast.
I had to get the biscuits with that gravy ($2.75), and I also ordered two slices of French toast ($2.75) and added an egg as a side ($1), and a cup of coffee ($1.50).
Lars didn’t need to look at the menu: “Chicken fried steak all the way,” he said. “I always order the same thing; it’s always consistently good.” The menu describes it as “homemade, not deep fried, fresh made by order, smothered in gravy, two eggs, hash browns, and your choice of bread” ($7.95).
My friend Sarah decided on the breakfast burrito, with choice of bacon, ham, sausage or veggies scrambled with eggs and cheese, wrapped in a large flour tortilla and topped with salsa, for $4.75.
My biscuit was large and steaming hot, with thick sausage gravy on top. Creamy, not floury, the gravy had many little bits of sausage providing meaty flavor. I was impressed also by the large, bulbous and flaky homemade biscuit. The French toast was made with long slices of French bread, lightly fried with Kimmy’s special egg batter and dusted with powdered sugar, so sweet I barely needed syrup.
I managed to get a few bites of Lars’ breakfast, and with the tenderness of the fried steak topped with more of the sausage gravy I can understand how it became his favorite.
Sarah selected a mix of meat and veggies with the scrambled egg-and-cheese breakfast burrito, and she finished only half of it. She let me have a taste of the bulging creation, and I was particularly impressed with the flavor of the fire-roasted salsa.
Kimmy’s simple, reasonably priced menu features lunches and dinners as well. On my return visit a few weeks later, my friends and I caught the end of the lunch hour, and we started out with beer-battered onion rings. They were fabulous. The onions were so completely cooked they melted inside the golden crusts.
I also ordered a Portobello mushroom burger ($8.50), which includes thick slices of the chewy mushroom, a slice of jack cheese and raw onion, lettuce and tomato. Lars had the country club sandwich, which was stacked high with turkey, ham, avocado and tomato ($7.95). Sarah ordered the BLT with cheese ($7.50). All the lunches came with choice of salad or soup.
Our sandwiches were thick with ingredients and delicious, and I was blown away by the New England clam chowder, which is made only on Fridays and Saturdays. The homemade soup was creamy and full of diced red potatoes and clams, and was one of the best chowders I have ever eaten.
As we were leaving the restaurant and the night sky was darkening, customers were already arriving for dinner (available Friday and Saturday nights only and featuring a range of regular items and specials, from meatloaf sandwiches to prime rib). Kimmy’s has been open only five months, but the word already appears to be getting out.