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Ponce's Java Jive serves up breakfast with a smile

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A lavish gourmet breakfast is all well and good, but nothing beats a big, homey plate of scrambled eggs. That's what I had a hankering for as I waited impatiently for a table on a recent Sunday morning at Java Jive.

The place has a retro vibe and tons of charm; the decor mostly consists of vintage kitchen appliances and old tin advertisements for laundry detergent and soda pop. The tables and chairs are all vintage, too. With their squishy vinyl seats and space-age colors and patterns, I'm sure they were the height of fashion in 1952.

Java Jive doesn't have the same overexcited, hectic pace you sometimes experience at places like Thumbs Up and Flying Biscuit. There's always a wait for a table on weekend mornings, but it's never very long, and there's actually someplace to sit -- indoors, no less -- while you wait. A chair and a steaming mug of coffee have a surprisingly civilizing effect on the barbarian hordes.

Speaking of the coffee, it's great here. They are called Java Jive, after all, not Pancake Jive. Most everything on the menu is competently made. I'm of the opinion that breakfast food is hard to mess up, but it's also hard to do exceptionally well. A Mexicali omelet, stuffed with black beans, cheese and tomatoes, was a bit dry. The beans tasted like they were right out of the can -- none of the runny sauce that means the beans have stewed for a while. The tomatoes were from a can, too. Damn this tomato shortage! The salsa scramble was tough to look at but tasted great -- a heap of scrambled eggs and home fries tossed with chunky red salsa.

I'm a bigger fan of the bready items here. Waffles have that dreamy consistency -- crisp outside and creamy inside. Pancakes are fluffy and light. The real highlight is the biscuits, though. I'd pit them against Flying Biscuit's any day. Buttery and feather-light, with a nice crumb and downy texture, they are heaven to eat. This is the place I go to satisfy my biscuit craving.

Everyone who works at Java Jive is as nice as they can be. I guess you have to be a morning person if you're going to wait tables at a breakfast restaurant. Or maybe they get paid in biscuits. That would put a smile on my face.

Florence.byrd@creativeloafing.com


New Year's planning

The following restaurants have some-thing special planned for New Year's Eve:

Ali-Oli in Buckhead hosts a five-course, prix-fixe dinner beginning at 9 p.m. The evening includes live music and bubbly at midnight ($85 per person). 3535 Peachtree Road. 404-266-0414. www.aliolirestaurant.com.

Aria plans a prix-fixe, four-course dinner 6-10 p.m. The dinner is $90 per person, or $130 with wine pairings. The restaurant also is open New Year's Day 6-10 p.m. 490 E. Paces Ferry Road. 404-233-7673. www.aria-atl.com.

The Cafe at East Andrews serves a five-course menu featuring delicacies like lobster, foie gras and filet mignon. $55 per person (wine pairings $20). Price includes a champagne toast and festivities at Andrews Upstairs. 56 E. Andrews Drive. 404-869-1132. www.eastandrews.com.

Eclipse di Luna will charge $75 per person for an evening that includes tapas selections, unlimited sangria and a bottle of champagne. The entertainment will be provided by a six-piece Latin band. Seatings begin at 9 p.m. 764 Miami Circle. 404-846-0449. www.eclipsediluna.com.

The Food Studio serves dinner 5:30 p.m.-midnight on New Year's Eve, offering a five-course meal for $85 per person, plus tax and gratuity. 887 W. Marietta St. 404-815-6677. www.thefoodstudio.com.

MidCity Cuisine offers a five-course menu with a champagne toast and live jazz for $85 per person, $130 with wine pairings. 1545 Peachtree St. 404-888-8700. www.midcitycuisine.com.

Pasta da Pulcinella dishes up a four-course dinner with wine pairings and a champagne toast. Two seatings at 6:30 and 9 p.m. $100 per couple, $55 per person (doesn't include tax or gratuity). 1123 Peachtree Walk. 404-876-1114.

Restaurant Eugene offers "An Evening with Julia," a three-course menu inspired by Julia Child. The first seating, from 5:30-7 p.m., is $75 per person. The second seating, from 7:30-9 p.m., is $100 per person. 2277 Peachtree Road. 404-355-0321. www.restauranteugene.com.

Seeger's offers two special seatings on New Year's Eve. The first, at 5:30 p.m., features a four-course tasting menu for $85 per person (wine pairings an additional $60). At 9 p.m., seating features an eight-course tasting menu for $150 per person (wine pairings an additional $100). 111 W. Paces Ferry Road. 404-846-9779. www.seegers.com.

Spice hosts a dinner featuring seasonal favorites. The three-course menu is $50, and the four-course menu is $65. A credit card is required to hold a reservation. 793 Juniper St. 404-875-4242. www.spicerestaurant.com.

Woodfire Grill, in addition to their regular menu, will be offering a special five-course menu for $75 per person ($125 with wine pairings). 1782 Cheshire Bridge Road. 404-347-9055. www.woodfiregrill.com.

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