Menu Please: Trending Downward at Trendy’s

It seems to be an inescapable part of growing older: asking, “Do you remember -” and increasingly finding the answer is, “No.” The Rite Spot, Shasta Maid, Redding Bakery, Shasta Bakery, the Shack, Midway Inn, Ramona’s, Holly Cafe – for longtime locals, those exist only in memories; sometimes the location has been erased, paved over or left to the nonstop erosion of time.

Femme de Joie was just a wee tot when she and Maman de Joie visited the old Gold Street Cafe – in particular she remembers a slice of caramel layer cake; a few days later she asked Maman if she thought the cafe still had any. Over the years there were many visits to Gold Street Cafe; it was inexpensive, quick, and the diner-style food was pretty good, with the homemade pies in a glass display case a standout. Then the cafe was sold a couple of times and finally closed in late 2014.

A few months ago a banner appeared on the east wall of that building, announcing that Trendy’s would open soon. Now Femme de Joie has to say here and now that she thought Trendy’s was an awful name for a restaurant. It sounds like a place in the mall selling cheap fall-apart jewelry to teenage girls. But the reviews on Yelp and Trip Advisor were generally positive, and the food photos looked luscious, so how bad could it be?

The old pastel paint and faux-Victorian decor is gone, replaced with sleek black and white paint and accents of red. A major and much-needed change was changing the restrooms around so you don’t have to walk outside the building to get to them. Service is generally fast and on the chatty side.

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Corned beef hash and eggs, $11.00

Corned beef hash is made in-house and did taste homemade, though there didn’t seem to be a lot of it on the plate. Amico del Signore asked for hash browns and was told Trendy’s doesn’t serve them, but that the garlic herb house potatoes were “really special.” We found them not-special without much garlic or herb taste, just home fries by another name.

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Griddle cakes were recommended with the corned beef hash and the waitress assured us that “everything is homemade.” From where M. de Joie sat, she could clearly see the restaurant-sized boxes of Krusteaz Pancake Mix on a shelf in the back, so she wasn’t terribly surprised when the pancakes proved to be very sweet with overwhelming vanilla taste. Perhaps the Krusteaz is used for a purpose other than pancakes, but having used this product herself, Femme de Joie feels this is the “homemade” pancake batter. Some people consider adding an egg and milk to a mix to be homemade; M. de Joie is not one of those people. It reminds one of the very old joke about the young bride who went all over town looking for a box of scratch because her new husband told her that’s what his mother made cake from.

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Country Fried Steak, $11.00

Eggs were ordered straight up; they arrived runny on top. While M. de Joie doesn’t mind this, most people would strenuously object being served uncooked egg white. Likewise undercooked was the roux for the gravy; the gravy tasted of raw flour. The country fried steak also suffered from raw flour underneath the crisp exterior – probably from cooking too fast so that the outside was done before the entire coating was cooked. The steak itself separated into curious layers when prodded with a knife.

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Biscuit and gravy would have been good if (A) the biscuit had been baked all the way through and (B) not smothered in the raw-flour gravy.

Femme de Joie is a clean-plate ranger, but left quite a bit of this meal on her plate. Amico del Signore declined to accompany her on subsequent visits.

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Two carnitas gringo tacos, $12, with house-made potato salad

The carnitas tacos were quite good, with juicy, tender meat, a spicy aioli over avocado slices, and melted cheese cradling the inside of the flour tortilla taco shell. The menu promised jicama slaw but what was delivered was cabbage. Potato salad had lots of dill pickle and was one of the better restaurant potato salads M. de Joie has tasted, There was a lot of empty territory on the plate, though; for $12.00 you’d expect a bit more actual food.

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The Bomb Burger, $12.00, with fries, extra $1.00 for garlic and Parmesan

This is one of Trendy’s most popular items, or so the waitress said. The 1/3 pound burger itself was good, but the Cholula fried onions didn’t have any Cholula taste (there’s an oversized bottle of Cholula on M. de Joie’s kitchen counter at all times, so she’s quite familiar with the pequin-arbol flavor). The onions had a nice light crunch at first but as they cooled, the crunch morphed into a bready, starchy texture that didn’t enhance the burger and mostly wound up back on the plate, along with the none-too-fresh flap of leaf lettuce. The garlic fries were probably wonderful when they were hot, but Femme de Joie didn’t get to experience them then. When they arrived at her table, they were lukewarm and gummy. Maybe they were cooked at the beginning of the 15 minutes it took to get the order and had been patiently awaiting the burger.

After reading the glowing reviews online and hoping Trendy’s would carry on the diner food legacy of Gold Street Cafe, it’s almost as though M. de Joie visited an entirely different restaurant. There’s nothing wrong with Trendy’s that some basic timing and cooking practice can’t fix. But when the food is disappointing, the menu prices seem even higher than they are – and they do seem pricey for portion size and quality. She hopes that some simple kitchen management will take care of the problems. Trendy’s has plenty of fans, but right now Femme de Joie doesn’t see whatever it is they see.

Trendy’s. 1730 Gold Street at Railroad Avenue, Redding, CA 96001. 530-768-1499. Open Monday-Friday, 6:00 AM – 2:00 PM, Sunday 8:00 AM – 2:00 PM. Closed Saturdays, Cash and cards; no checks. No alcohol. Vegetarian and vegan options. Parking lot. Follow them on Facebook.

Femme de Joie
Femme de Joie's first culinary masterpiece was at age 4, when she made the perfect fried bologna sandwich on white bread. Since then she has dined on horse Bourguignon in France, stir-fried eel in London, and mystery meat in her college cafeteria, but firmly draws the line at eating rattlesnake, peppermint and Hamburger Helper. She lives in Shasta County at her country estate, Butterscotch Acres West. She is nearly always hungry. Visit MenuPlease for more or send her an email at femmedejoiefood@yahoo.com.
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30 Responses

  1. EasternCounty says:

    Sorry, Trendy’s, but Femme de Joie has never written a review that I didn’t agree with; so when I want diner fare, I’ll continue going to Sweetie’s.

  2. CoachBob says:

    Prior to being “Gold St Cafe” it was Ellens! Don’t know prior to that

  3. KarenC says:

    Not a very good review for a restaurant.  Sounds like  a rookie cook is at the helm.  Raw flour  taste in gravy, runny egg whites,  gummy and lukewarm fries, meat that separates in curious layers all screams of a careless and uncaring   cook.  Not a way to start a restaurant off right.  Very sorry to hear this, we had many respectful breakfasts at Gold Street Café.  A bad cook will break you very fast.

     

    One more thing:   the corned beef  hash must always be the real deal, from a brisket, served with a side of excellent, crispy potatoes because “us” corned beef hash snobs want it that way.  I love to see a new restaurant get off to a good start and be successful.  I will keep an eye on the comments …..wishing you much luck on serving the very best food.

    • EasternCounty says:

      You’re right about “us” corned beef hash snobs.  We had breakfast at Jeff’s California Cattle Company some time back, and since cattle was in the name of the restaurant, I assumed the corned beef hash would be made with real brisket.  But it was out of a can.  Yuk.  Not only was it inedible, but my husband ordered steak and eggs only to be served a very chewy piece of rather inferior beef.  There always seems to be a full parking lot there; so either we were there on a very bad day or the diners have much different tastes than ours.  Need I add that we haven’t been back?

  4. Damon Miller says:

    I’m guessing the Bethel effect is responsible for the Yelp reviews, then.

    • Hash Browns Hash Browns says:

      Damon, since you mention it, I think your guess is probably correct and applicable to other eateries springing open operating in similar fashion, mostly around Enterprise — mediocre to poorly prepared food presented in the smallest servings they can possibly put out for the most they can possibly charge.

      What? No traditional diner hash browns at the old Gold Street Cafe anymore??  I’m done.

  5. Mystic Mama says:

    Thank you, Madam, for you observations. I will continue to search for a perfect Redding meal.

    Thank goodness I live in Trinity County where great,  affordable food from establishments like the Stagecoach, LaGrange and Twisted River are always available and appreciated

    • Femme de Joie Femme de Joie says:

      Dear Mystic Mama,

      Femme de Joie was under the impression that La Grange was closed, but apparently it is open again with brand-new owners – which she wouldn’t have known if you had not commented. Thank you.

      Femme de Joie

  6. name says:

    The location there is great.  I hope that they can get the food dialed in soon.  Thank you for the review!

  7. K. Beck says:

    I ate breakfast there once and had an omelet. It was quite good. But then, I am not a “food expert.” I guess rating the name of the restaurant is included in that title?

    I don’t know about the rest of the food reviewed here, I didn’t eat any of that.

  8. Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

    I’ve not rushed to try the newest incarnation of that diner because of the name.  I’ve figured (perhaps unfairly) that anyone who thinks “Trendy’s” is a good idea for a restaurant name is probably going to have other issues relating to good sense, taste, and execution.

    The review is a slap-down—but it’s 1:30, I haven’t had lunch, and those fish tacos with the side of potato salad are squeezing my salivary glands.

  9. Valerie Ing says:

    Since I live just a few blocks away, my husband and I were thrilled…no, we were THRILLED when this spot re-opened! We’ve only been able to eat there once (we went there on a Saturday for breakfast, but that is they made the odd choice of being closed Saturdays), but it was pretty darned good. I wish I could remember what we ate so I could give a better report, but all I recall is that we were pretty happy when all was said & done, although my husband loves his hash browns and really wishes they had ’em. But by far the best improvement this place has made was to put the bathrooms inside the restaurant inside of accessed on the outside. I know the previous owner had a lot of problems because the bathrooms were outside.

    Also, I remember that inconsistent food (or perhaps inconsistent chefs) plagued Gold Street Cafe before it closed as well. I think after Trendy’s gets things dialed in a little bit better that perhaps this place has the potential to stick around. I hope so, because I really really really want a great little spot to eat within walking distance from my house.

  10. Jon Lewis says:

    I’ve had breakfast there twice. The first time was fine (one of those ‘hard to screw  up eggs and bacon’ kind of meals) and the second time I tried a breakfast sandwich with gouda cheese. Unfortunately the egg was super runny and extremely hot so I ended up scalding my hand when I bit into it and it squirted everywhere. The waitress came by as I was dipping my hand in ice water and I explained what happened. She didn’t seem too surprised or upset, nor did she offer to bring back a meal that was actually cooked and safe to eat, but she did come back with a tube of ointment. I declined the friendly offer of first-aid. I’ve also declined to return. Once burned, twice shy I guess.

    I’ve had good luck with the new management at Airpark Cafe at the Benton airport. Reliable food and you get to watch planes take off and land.

    Once again, I appreciate Femme de Joie’s thorough report. I haven’t ruled out Trendy’s forever but I am going to wait till some more kinks get ironed out.

    FYI, I believe the cringe-worthy name is a blend of the two owners’ names. Trudy and Wendy or something similar. Nice folks and I wish them well…

  11. Hal Johnson Hal Johnson says:

    My son and I ate there last week for the first time. We enjoyed our meals–nothing jumped out at us as bad. But then, my sister visited from Ventura last week, and we took her to The Savory Spoon for dinner and then breakfast the next day. She’s still talking about those meals.

    Based on my sole experience at Trendy’s, I’d go back. That’s because The Savory Spoon only serves breakfast three days a week.

  12. Wendy Krause says:

    Our name was developed as a tribute to our family.  The name has significate heart felt meaning.  It is a play on my name, Wendy and my partner in life and business Travis, but it also signifies letters of each of our family members names.  So I am sorry you did not like the name.  I wanted to thank you for coming to try us out and for your review.  Reviews like yours only helps us to better ourselves.  This restaurant was god sent and we will continue to grow and learn.  Thank you to anyone who supports family owed restaurants.  Everyone deserves to be given a chance.

  13. M.Elliott says:

    Thank you!

     

  14. Joanne Lobeski-Snyder says:

    I’ve been to Trendy’s twice and I was completely happy  with breakfast with my husband  on one day and the lunch on another day with a group of friends  who all were complimentary about what they had been served.  I take that back.  This group is pretty picky about food served to them, and they all had good things to say about their particular selection.

    What really made me feel good about Trendy’s, besides the excellent food, was the friendliness and efficiency of the staff.   I will go back and I will recommend this family-owned restaurant to everyone I know.

     

  15. Joanne Lobeski-Snyder says:

    Thank you Femme de Joie for providing a venue for people to give the owners of Trendy’s advice about how they can improve this new business.  Better rue?  Good gravy!  That’s a piece of cake.

  16. AJ says:

    I really enjoy reading reviews written by M. Joie. Makes me feel like I’m reading a big city newspaper…and I trust her judgements. But being able to read the reader contributions not only adds perspective but also gives one a feeling of real community. I LOVE supporting locally owned businesses. And thank you Wendy,for the explanation of the name. I shall give you a try.

  17. Barb says:

    I too have avoided going to the New and Improved Cafe.  I however, have my own reasons, as I grew up working every summer there for my Aunt and Uncle who were the longtime owners of Gold Street Cafe, He, the one who worked 16-18 hour days as the Chief Cook, and She who before the sun was there making all the baked goods from scratch, then waitressing all day.  I learned a great work ethic from them, learned what an amazing Gravy should ALWAYS taste like, how to make an award winning Chili, and the absolute best hands down way to carve a turkey.  I also got the bug for cooking (thus my many catering adventures) and could wash dishes like nobodys business.  I learned to wait tables, to smile and to remember peoples names.  All things that are in short supply in restaurants these days.  I am sure they have vastly improved the decor, and perhaps even a bit of the menu.  I will however, based upon very up and down reviews continue to remember the location fondly as I know it, Gold Street Cafe, and smile when I drive by!  Good luck Trendy’s; if you want to learn how to make Uncle Jerrys Gravy let me know and I can come show ya 🙂

  18. Marsha says:

    A group of my high school gal pals (class of 1967) went there for breakfast yesterday. Yes, they were open on Labor Day. They were extremely busy. There were seven us, separate checks, please. Absolutely no qualm over that. The food was delicious. Everyone loved what they ordered, and I am happy to say we will return. It is a little more expensive than we usually spend, but at our age … we are worth it!

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