While the menu is divided into breakfast, lunch and salad selections, you can get anything at any time of day. Many items feature Sweet Lake's excellent biscuits, including a very good version of eggs Benedict ($10) that included the usual suspects — perfectly poached eggs, ham and a lively hollandaise — plus tomato and green onions. It came with a side of hash browns cooked with healthy chia seeds and green onions. For $2, you can substitute hash browns mixed with red quinoa, an interesting and tasty combination.
The St. Francis ($7) was toasted sourdough topped with asparagus and an egg, flavored with cracked pepper, a drizzle of olive oil and a generous blanket of arugula. It was the most mildly flavored of the dishes I sampled, but looked and tasted like straight-up health food. If you want to bulk up the calories and flavor, you can add bacon and avocado.
Mushroom gravy made a delicious platform for the T-Rose ($10), a biscuit loaded with a grilled portobello mushroom, an egg, asparagus and swiss cheese. It was an intriguing take on biscuits and gravy with a vegetarian twist.
Like a lot of the sandwiches at Sweet Lake, the T-Rose was held together with a skewer and had to be eaten with a fork. That was true, too, of the Pokey Joe, a decadent combination of pulled pork topped with limeade salsa, crispy cabbage slaw, cheddar cheese and crisply fried onions.
The Titanic ($10) actually required two skewers to anchor its towering ingredients: a slightly overcooked fried chicken breast, swiss cheese, tomato, iceberg lettuce, a large slice of a spicy pickle and a biscuit slathered with spicy sweet mustard. There was so much going on in that sandwich, it pretty much had to be disassembled to be eaten, but what a rewarding chore that was.
All sandwiches come with a basket of excellent house-made corn chips and a little dish of mint limeade salsa, which was slightly spicy and delectably different.
Limeade, after all, is a signature item at Sweet Lake, and makes an appearance in a number of dishes. As a beverage, it comes in a variety of flavors, from mint to habanero to ginger ($4-$5). I only wish it were available in more than one size. Twenty ounces is a lot of sugar, even if it's organic cane sugar. Ask for an extra cup so you can share.
Other beverages include fresh squeezed orange juice ($6), assorted teas ($2), hot chocolate ($3) and superb Caffe Ibis organic coffee ($2-$4).
If biscuits aren't your thing, Sweet Lake salads are very good: substantial enough for a meal, creative, and made with organic greens. My favorite was the Ruby Summer ($8), a verdant bed of spinach and spicy arugula topped with sliced avocado, grapefruit segments, slivered almonds, chopped jicama and a sprinkle of parmesan. Lime flavored the creamy dressing, which was spiked with chia seeds, and was a piquant complement to the summery salad's other elements.
The Utah Cobb ($9) is also good, and a variation on the classic, with a sliced fried chicken breast (perfectly cooked this time), avocado, black beans, queso fresco, bacon, cherry tomatoes and crumbled egg on mixed greens. The dressing was — surprise! — a limeade-spiked ranch that had a surprising kick.
A steak salad ($9) featured a perfectly sized and tender tri-tip cooked to order on greens flavored with mint, onion, jalapeño, lime and cilantro. Cucumber and tomato provided color and contrast, while the ginger sesame dressing gave it a decidedly Asian flavor.
Sweet Lake has a kid's menu with a peanut butter and jelly biscuit, chicken strips and grilled cheese ($3-$4) and a menu of side dishes that allow you to build your own breakfast.
Desserts feature (what else?) biscuits. A recent offering was a bread pudding with blueberries ($5), but the vanilla "custard" was more like a sauce, so much so that we asked our server whether they forgot the custard. Nonetheless, it was tasty and big enough for our party of five to share.
Sweet Lake is a quality addition to the city's brunch scene, with offerings that range from super healthy (the organic açaí bowl, $9) to decadent (the Hoss with biscuit, fried chicken, egg, bacon and sausage gravy, $10). The owners use locally sourced foods when possible and the prices are reasonable. Evolution can be a beautiful thing.