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home/made kitchen: Great breakfast in Moraga

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There was a time not long ago in Lamorinda when dine-out breakfast options were few and far between. Beloved Millie's and the now defunct Squirrel's Cafe tended to carry the breakfast load. These days, early morning diners now have choices....good choices. One of these choices might even be called great - home/made kitchen café and bakery in Moraga.

Housed in what was formerly Mondello’s Italian restaurant at 337 Rheem Blvd. next to 24 Hour Fitness and across from the Rheem Theatre, home/made kitchen has been open only a short time, but owners Gayle Somers and Aly Dean Miller had what one might call an 11-month practice run. While construction and retrofitting took place at the Rheem location, Somers and Miller operated a 'pop-up' cafe at Moraga's Hacienda de las Flores where they perfected their dishes and their menu. The community reviews were stellar, and they moved to the Rheem location with confidence.

home/made kitchen seats 40 indoors and 40 outdoors on a beautifully landscaped patio. While they have made use of some of Mondello's furniture, they have added their own touches. Seat cushions are covered in coffee bean sacks, and some of the table tops are created from remnants of the remodel of Cal's memorial stadium; The small bar overlooking the kitchen is made from barn wood from an old Fresno cotton gin. Mason jars stand-in for drinking glasses; Chicken wire is fashioned into light fixtures. All together, the aesthetic is slightly European, slightly American country-kitchen.

Everything on the menu at home/made is authentic and is made in house using organic, local, sustainable ingredients. Weekday breakfast dishes include mango brioche French toast, market quiche and a breakfast sandwich with egg, chicken apple sausage and tomato compote. Lunch includes a bacon and poached egg salad, bacon/tomato/avocado and arugula sandwich, and a fig and brie baguette that causes customers to wax rhapsodic.

Weekend brunch features a different menu, the star being a Zabars inspired eggs Benedict with caramelized country ham. The chile relleno bake is another customer favorite...as is the artisanal Four Barrel coffee from San Francisco.

Somers and Miller bring more than 40 years of culinary expertise to their venture; Somers operated a successful private catering business for many years, and Miller, a graduate of the California Culinary Academy’s Baking and Pastry Program, provided catering services as a private flight attendant, sourcing for her clients foods from all over the world.

'The two of us love breakfast, and the casual, good quality, back-to-the-farm foods that can be found all around us here in California,' says Somers. 'We are so grateful to everyone who has helped to make home/made kitchen a success. We look forward to becoming an integral part of this community.'

Current hours are Tuesday – Friday 8:00am to 4:00pm (food service until 2, coffee until 4). Saturday and Sunday 8:00am to 2:00pm. Future plans include a menu of take-home and heat items.

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