Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Jilly’s Café and Steak House II

High Ridge MO
The Place:
It’s been nearly a year since we first/last ate at Jilly’s. We recalled that we liked it, but I resisted the temptation to re-read the review I wrote for it, didn’t want to walk in with a giant bias on my shoulder.
The place is large and sits on a hill east of, and sort of overlooking Highway 21. There were several cars there already, enough that we thought there might be a wait, but there wasn’t. We were greeted and seated immediately, once again Angel assumed the entire family wanted a booth instead of a table. I was immediately reminded of the last visit. Between the entrance and the dining area was a near-life size wood carving of an elderly man holding a tray. The tray was filled with hard candy. The wood carving was good enough to give me the creeps. Then there was the music, classic blues. That I liked. I couldn’t tell you the exact style, Memphis, St. Louis, or whatever, I like classic blues music but I am not an aficionado. Old guys wailing over acoustic guitars about somebody that “done left them.”
The booth we were shown was in the back, near, I recalled where we sat the previous time. Booths hug the walls on two or three sides; the center of the large room is a couple of steps down and filled with tables.
We were handed menus and asked about drinks, tea, lemonade and Coke. Angel didn’t want pink lemonade, but that’s the only kind they had. Why she wanted lemonade at all is anyone’s guess.
The menu was a few pages thick, not too many. There was a pasta page, a chicken page and a steak page. There was also an appetizer page. I struggled with the selections, I like steak, but I had eaten more lunch than I usually do on Saturday, that’s because I was breaking in a new rice cooker. Steak sounded heavy, so did pasta for that matter. Adam asked if we were getting an appetizer, he was eying the catalone bites, prepared similar to the locally popular fried ravioli. Angel was yearning for the fried oysters. Why I haven’t left this woman I have no idea. Oysters are disgusting, breading and frying them only makes them breaded and fried disgust.
At some point she said she didn’t want anything heavy, she’d had some of the rice earlier as well. Her decision was to get the oysters then have one of the many listed salads and let that be the meal. It sounded good to me so I scanned the appetizers. Yuck, blech, something I’d never heard of, more yuck, Chili. Sure, why not. Angel said she was getting the Cobb salad, with shrimp. I remarked that I didn’t think I’d ever tasted a Cobb and wasn’t sure I wanted them spoiling a perfectly good salad. She explained that Cobb was a style of salad, not an ingredient*. On that scant and dubious information I ordered it with my chili. Adam hadn’t had the rice earlier, he doesn’t like rice with anything other than rice in it, so he ordered the Ozark Bacon Tortellini. He was born in the Ozarks, and it had bacon in the title, it should certainly be good.
When asked about salad dressing, Angel opted for the Sweet Italian, I asked for options. The waitress pointed out on the menu the list. Most of the standards were there, and one that I didn’t recognize, the “House Mayfair”. She replied with a list of ingredients, leading with anchovies. “You lost me at anchovies.” I told her, but she was not going to let go. “Caesar dressing has anchovies.” She pronounced. “I’m well aware of that,” I snobbishly replied, “but only a very little, it’s not usually the first ingredient listed, I’ll have the Bleu Cheese, thanks.”
She still wouldn’t let go. “I’ll bring you a little to try!”
The Food:
A few minutes later the rolls arrived, along with a saucer that held a few chunks of lettuce and spinach, drizzled with a creamy dressing. We gave it a try.
When the waitress passed by again she stopped and asked what we thought. “It wasn’t awful.” I answered in my normal rude and condescending way. “Well that’s not so bad is it?” She asked.
I felt the need to burst this bubble once and for all.
“The thing is that the first bite or two was fine, it had some depth to it. But anchovies are very salty and I think after a few more bites the residual saltiness would build up and overwhelm everything else.”
She didn’t seem alarmed or angry, in fact she looked resigned and defeated.
“Oh yeah, Mr. Sodium.”
Now I was alarmed.
“Mr. Sodium?”
“Yeah, Joe, the Chef, he calls himself that, he says he tries to not make things too salty, but has trouble with it.”
Dear friends, loving family, ardent fans, I’ve never been an actual waitress, but I do know that this was a major gaff on her part. Surely at some point at the waitress academy there is a lecture, or even a mere bullet point about saying negative things about the chef, the food or both. I generally appreciate candid honesty, but honesty is a dish best served only atop a heaping pile of self restraint. This innocent statement became sadly prophetic, if not self fulfilling. With this unwelcome nugget of information I immediately became biased and ultra-vigilant.
The rolls were excellent, dark in color but not too heavy. In the basket were also a couple of mini-muffins that I never got the chance to try. Along with the condiment packets of butter was a small ramekin of the house spread. Pecan cranberry butter, we were told. Even Adam knew I wouldn’t like it because he knows, as should all of you, that I do not like nuts as an ingredient in anything except peanut butter. I like nuts by themselves and in trail mixes, in their natural form, but not in brownies, pie, ice cream, or anything else where they don’t stand on their own. Angel and Adam liked the butter, I happily settled for the real stuff.
The appetizers and salads arrived. Angel’s oysters were drizzled with a red pepper sauce and surrounded a large dollop of some sort of horseradish dip. Take something disgusting, bread it, deep fry it, and then dip it into something that is also patently disgusting. I’m pretty sure she does this just to tick me off.
The salads were enormous. A deep bowl filled with some of everything in the cupboard. Three kinds of greens, an entire sliced boiled egg, bacon, tomatoes, onions, strips of chicken, and five lovely grilled shrimp. The bleu cheese dressing was probably not the best choice, as there was already a generous portion of bleu cheese in the salad. Too much bleu cheese can be overwhelming, and a bit salty. If you’re going to have a salad with bleu cheese in it, it’s best to choose a sweeter dressing for balance.**
The average-size bowl of chili was served with oyster crackers. Oddly enough oyster crackers are not disgusting. The chili caught me off-guard. By now you’ve all read my various essays on chili, how it’s different everywhere, ingredients can vary wildly, and that’s okay. Let me tell you now what chili is never, ever, ever supposed to taste like; spaghetti sauce. If I had to guess, I’d say they took their house marinara and added some beans. I detected parmesan, oregano, basil, parsley, and sure enough the meat was a spicy Italian sausage. As a pasta sauce or atop a pizza this would have been fine, as chili, it failed miserably. My brain wanted chili, you know, with chili peppers or powder, it was getting Ragu, AND it was, dare I say it? Too salty.
It was fairly obvious that we wouldn’t be able to eat the entire salad, it was simply too massive. I abandoned the chili, Angel reserved a couple of oysters, which she said were a bit disappointing due to the texture of the breading. It seemed to have been the kind of breading that you get in frozen foods, distinctly different from a fresh breading. She only managed to finish about half her salad. Adam had picked the bits of stuff he didn’t like out of his tortellini and about half finished that. The sauce on it was indeed bacon flavored. He had barely touched his mashed potatoes though, which seemed odd, he’s usually a big fan. “Something doesn’t taste right about it.”
Angel and I grabbed our forks and tried. Immediately the texture was off-putting, gritty, undercooked, then it hit like a hammer. At first I guessed butter, but after a couple of seconds, with Angel’s nose also in a wrinkle, we both pronounced “Salt!” We boxed up our leftovers, enough for another full meal.
I hate to think my disappointment with the food was due to a heightened alert for saltiness due to the waitress’s HUGE error telling us about ‘Mr. Sodium.’ Was I too critical? I have to admit that is a distinct possibilityBold, except for the mashed potatoes that is, they were just awful by any standard.
Then there’s the price. Angel and I ordered an appetizer and a salad. Adam had an appetizer and a pasta dish. There was no dessert, no additional drinks. The bill came in at just under seventy five dollars. Yeah, I know! Sure it was sort of ala carte, but seriously seventy five dollars? I did save a little by not heavily-tipping though.
I don’t mind paying for a good meal, but this came in at about the second highest amount we’ve paid for a meal anywhere. Did I mention that the food wasn’t really prepared well? What can I say?
I only just now re-read the original review.
At the bottom was a note:
Several minutes after the meal I noticed an aftertaste. Something was too salty, perhaps the potatoes, I don’t recall noticing it so much as I was dining, but there was a definite lingering saltiness later.
So this is a problem, sometimes better/worse than others perhaps, but still a problem. I’d be afraid to take someone I was trying to impress there. What if it’s another bad night?

* Cobb salad was invented by Robert Cobb for the famous Brown Derby Restaurant in Hollywood. That’s right, Bob Cobb. He was the first cousin of Ty Cobb, who was apparently some sort of renowned sports figure.
** Sure enough, on Sunday I popped open the box of leftover salad, poured a little Creamy Vidalia dressing on it and it was much, much better, especially with a side dish of rice.

Jilly's Cafe & Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Bistro at the Square

48 Jefferson Square Plaza
DeSoto MO

The Place:

Jefferson Square is on the north side of DeSoto on Highway 21. The Square is a shopping center anchored by a Queens Supermarket and an Orscheln Farm and Home store*. There’s an Eagle Bank and a few other shops as well. Inside the main building toward the rear there’s the Jefferson Square Inn. An Inn I didn’t know existed.
Over the main entrance to the center of the complex is a single door that subtly mentions the Bistro. Inside this door is a large open area like the center of a small mall. The Bistro is on the right and tables spill out into the indoor courtyard. The spillover seating is surrounded by faux gaslight topped brick columns and iron gating. We found the ‘Please wait to be seated’ sign and approached. Along side the hostess station was a shelf bearing a small stereo. The music was a little out of place for a place called a Bistro, it was 70’s funk. Fortunately it wasn’t very loud, I didn’t really care for 70’s funk back in the 70’s and my opinion hasn’t really mellowed much since then. It’s better than country music though, that crap should be totally banned.
We were seated promptly since there were no other diners in sight. It was early though. The tables were unremarkable, wooden with inexpensive wooden chairs. The table was covered with a crisp white linen tablecloth and the silverware was wrapped in less-than-cheap paper napkins and there were lavender paper placemats at each setting. There was a small folk-crafty fake flower arrangement in the center of the table. The overall décor was tasteful but not pretentious.
The Food:
I’d prescreened the menu at home on the interwebs and decided there was something for everyone. I didn’t need to look at it again though. As we were waiting to be seated we spied a fluorescent marker board describing the daily specials, today’s was steak and shrimp. Angel and I decided right then and there. We ordered our drinks, tea, tea and Pepsi and accepted the offer for dinner rolls. Adam studied the menu. The rolls arrived, big ones slathered in a thick coat of butter. They were served with several condiment tubs of real butter.(Finally!) The big rolls were warm and cloud-like. Soft, very light and fresh, they soaked up the butter like I soak up compliments.
Adam said he’d decided so we ordered our steaks, Angel went for medium, I asked for slightly pinker than medium. The young waitress did not even pause writing down my one-off preference. Of course we wanted butter and sour cream with our potato. As for the salad Angel asked for French dressing, I made the young lady list the options. They were all pretty standard until she said two words that had both Adam and I dropping our jaws: “Honey Bacon”. I thought about it for about the time it takes a photon to pass through a raindrop. (pretty fast, like .0000000003 seconds).
Adam ordered the Buffalo Chicken sandwich and Home Fries. He was tempted by ‘Breakfast served all day’ but decided otherwise.
The waitress, dressed like the other staff in black slacks, a crisp white long sleeve button down shirt, wrapped in a black apron, wandered off toward the back. We enjoyed the rolls sipped the tea, which Angel said tasted flowery. It had flavor, it wasn’t bitter I couldn’t complain, so I just politely insulted her, her taste buds and her entire family line in general.

The salads were impressive. Served on a small plate, almost saucer sized, there was a mix of at least a couple of different kinds of greens, a couple of rings of red onions, and freshly toasted croutons. I appreciated the smallness since I can’t control myself. At Ruby Tuesdays’ where that have a salad buffet, I tend to pile it on till it scrapes the ceiling then gorge myself before the main course. This was much better, even if I ate it all I would still have room. Angel and Adam didn’t care for the croutons; they were fresh and lightly toasted. They prefer theirs to be thick and heavy, roughly the consistency of radial tires. Adam whined that the croutons were too cracker-like. I liked them since I have the ability to enjoy the finer things in life.
The Honey Bacon dressing was absolutely brilliant. It tasted of honey, and bacon, need I say more? I let Adam and Angel dip one crouton apiece in it and they agreed. This was certainly what a fairy princess’ tears of joy must taste like.
The main course arrived shortly, the steaks still sizzling, the potatoes bundled tightly in foil, and the three large shrimps lightly battered and dutifully lined up, ready to be devoured.
Either by omission or presumption, we were not offered steak knives. I tried slicing into the twelve ounce rib eye with the butter knife, but it just would not do the trick. I caught the attention of our waitress as she was seating another, less important group. She sped away and returned with apologies. The new knives made all the difference. The steak came apart nicely. The potatoes soaked up the butter and sour cream beautifully, the potato skins had been lightly salted, not too much. Angel left hers in the foil, I undressed mine completely, ravenously, ripping and tearing away little bits and big chunks of foil in a fury, like a sailor on shore leave. I didn’t just want to daintily scoop out the innards; I wanted the crispy baked skin as well since that’s where they put all the vitamins.
Adam was impressed with his sandwich as well as the diced fried potatoes. That’s saying quite a bit since he’s not much of one to vocalize his likes and dislikes.
The steak was a little tough, but they had seared and peppered it perfectly, it didn’t even occur to me to ask for steak sauce. The shrimp was perfectly cooked and the potato was smoking hot and perfectly done, tender, not dry.
Angel announced after consuming about two thirds that she was full, Adam a bit further along said the same. I agreed, saying I too was full, the only difference being that I didn’t let a trivial thing like that stop me. I didn’t actually finish, but I certainly crammed as much of it in as I could find nooks and crannies to do so.
The waitress came around and brought the bill, then disappeared for about ten minutes, about eight minutes too long for my liking. Somewhere during this time the music switched from 70’s funk to 70’s soft rock, Elton John, etc., still not my favorite genre, but completely ignorable, unlike country music which should be destroyed.
We were delighted. Even with the slightly sluggish service at the end the entire experience was quite positive. The food was surprisingly good, the portions superb, the ambiance was relaxed yet dignified. The wait staff was friendly and professional, the owner even stopped by to check on us. The bill came in around fifty bucks, comparable with the chain joints. It never did get very crowded, maybe ten tables, I would have thought there would be more. This chunk of southern Jefferson County doesn’t have many restaurants to begin with; a quality gem like this one should be crowded open till close.
Highly recommended, we’ll be back!

* After we ate (stuffed ourselves) we decided to walk a little of it off at the farm store. We don’t own a farm, but having five to fourteen dogs around creates problems that can only be resolved with livestock-scale solutions. Farm stores are neat even for the non-farmer. Clothing, boots, tools, gallons of livestock medicines and salves, John Deere themed toys, real spurs and tack, rabbit hutches, chicken feeders, gopher traps, and miles and miles of electrical fence wire along with chargers with enough voltage to make Nikola Tesla jittery. They also have pet supplies, Angel picked up a couple of reflective collars for Blue and George. They run free outside a few times a day and tend to chase after scurrying monsters in the woods. The dogs, Blue especially, blend in with the foliage and can be stubborn when called away from their quest. The bright orange collars help them stand out and look much less like stumps. We also looked at stable mats, thick, heavy rubber mats that Angel is considering for use around the gates to her pens. The dogs have turned all of them into mud pits. We’ll let you know if it works.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Bob Evans

Festus, Mo.
The Place:
“The Home of Homestyle” located just off I-55 in Festus. Back when we were in a rut, only going to the same places over and over again, this was one of them. Angel chose it for this week’s critique. At first I thought it might be against the spirit of the quest, but then decided that I couldn’t now recall what I usually got there or how good it was, my palette had been cleansed. Why NOT see how an old favorite stacked up against the thirty-odd places we’d been to since.
It wasn’t crowded at all; there was ample parking and plenty of open tables. The place is large with three or four distinguishable dining areas. The kitchen is in the middle, visible when you walk in the door. We were seated by a courteous and quiet hostess immediately in our preference, a booth. By ‘our preference’ I mean ‘Angel’s preference’, not necessarily mine.
The whole place was clean and fresh looking, well appointed, well lit and not too noisy. If there was music, I couldn’t hear it.
The walls were painted in a tasteful shade of yellow, and unlike Cracker Barrel, not cluttered with farm implements, buckets and quaint signage, just a few subdued framed ‘objects de arte’ with country themes. The seating areas were separated by waist-high wood panels topped with frosted and etched glass.
The heavy laminated menus were delivered and drink orders taken; tea, lemonade and sweet tea. Angel ordered the lemonade to our shock. She’s been doing lots of odd stuff this last couple of weeks, she got contact lenses along with her new pair of geeky-looking glasses around the same time she got her hair cut differently than she normally does. My guess was she’s either pregnant or dating again, or both. She insists not, but we’ll see.
The Food:
Then she didn’t order the country fried steak. In fact she ordered something that did not include gravy at all. She ordered the Memphis Spice Rubbed Chicken, which is like regular chicken except it’s neither breaded nor fried.
So I ordered the Country Fried Steak just to let her know that I objected to her bizarre changes in behavior. Adam ordered the Chicken and Noodle Deep Dish Dinner. When he ordered it the waitress cooed and patted him on the shoulder saying that it was her favorite as well. She was obviously expressing a crush on him. He denied it, but it was apparent to me. I can always tell when a woman has a crush on me; it’s what happens right before I ask them to marry me.
When asked about our bread choice I did recall an old spat regarding this place. Angel likes rolls, I prefer biscuits. So I asked the love-struck girl (woman, lady, whatever.) to split it, some of each, please.
She brought back a basket, three rolls and three biscuits along with several micro-tubs of ‘Whipped Butter Blend Spread’ which is about 90% soybean and about 1% butter, not even real margarine. I lathered up a biscuit and had my merry way with it. They make a pretty decent, country style biscuit. Then we got in a fight once Adam declared that he liked the rolls better. He just did that to suck up to his mom, I’m sure. I ultimately won the argument though, I write the blog which means the official account of the debate is whatever I say it is.
My gravy-laden steak was accompanied by gravy-laden mashed potatoes and green beans. It’s hard to go wrong with that except they tried too hard. The green beans were barely edible. They were just canned green beans that had been simmered with some form of ham. There was too much of a hammy taste though, I couldn’t finish them. I like ham just fine but this was rather overpowering in a perfectly good food that isn’t ham. The steak was delicious, crispy outside, tender inside, the gravy was great at first but saltiness crept up after a few bites and started overpowering my delicate but handsome taste buds. I stopped after about three quarters through. I tried a chunk of Angel’s chicken, didn’t really care for it. There was a definite herb and spice blend, but not the same blend that the Colonel uses and I just couldn’t get my brain to recognize it as good. Angel liked it, but since there was so much, two complete breasts, quite large and firm, but tender breasts, it proved to be more than a mouthful. I understood, I’ve always preferred smaller breasts myself . . . hold it what were we talking about?
Adam’s noodly thing was thick noodles and chicken chunklets served over mashed potatoes and a biscuit. I’m not a large noodle fan, anything bigger than spaghetti just seems doughy. He liked it very well though, it’s a preference thing I guess, he liked his mom’s chicken too. Like I said, he’s a suck-up. He understands the power structure in our home and he’s not afraid to rub my nose in it.
By this time the waitress was becoming quite chummy, I’d already insulted her a couple of times. I only do that to test a waitresses’ mettle, to see if they are up to the task of waiting on me. It’s not personal and their response is how I figure the tip level. She stood up pretty well, those times she could keep her eyes and hands off my son anyhow.
It got a little intense though. I wasn’t going to finish my dinner, but I wasn’t quite full. I inquired about deserts and she pointed to a desert menu that was sitting on the table directly in front of me. I asked around and no one else looked interested. I looked at the apple pie and remembered something else I didn’t care for about this place. Oh they have apple pie, but it’s sugarless apple pie. They use a form of unnatural petroleum, baby seal, or spotted owl extract to make it seem sweet, similar to the way rat poison is made. Aspartame leaves a thick, heavy and long lasting aftertaste on my tongue and some scientists believe it actually causes racism, terrorism and warts.
I chose instead the Strawberry Supreme Pie, which is essentially cheesecake but for some reason they refused to call it cheesecake. The picture looked good with one small problem. There was whipped cream on it.
I don’t care for whipped cream, on anything. Whipped cream brings nothing to a party except sweetness. I’d rather have subtle sweetness, like apple pie made with real sugar, or cheesecake, or Oreo’s. Whipped cream is only sugar, it’s a one trick pony with no depth or character. So I asked for mine without the whipped cream.
“So you don’t want whipped cream on it?”
“No thank you.”
“That means we’ll have to scrape it off, it’s already made.”
“That will be fine, I can wait.”
Then Angel leaped in to the conversation:
“Or you could just scrape it off yourself.”
“No, that’s what we’re paying these people to do, they don’t mind”
For some reason the waitress stopped smiling.
“And some coffee” I added. “In a cup please.”
She forgot her station for a moment and replied “How about in your lap?”
I responded with a mighty wit: “How about in YOUR lap!” Then she said some other stuff that I wasn’t paying attention to.
She came back shortly with the coffee, and no pie.
“Sorry, we had to make a whole new pie, it was just too much trouble to scrape all the whipped cream off the one we had ready.”
“Excellent. See Angel, I told you they wouldn’t mind!”
When she did bring the pie I had to politely point out that I had no fork. She mumbled something, probably an humble apology, and grabbed a fresh one off an adjoining table. I could have done that I suppose.
I prefer Cracker Barrel for this type of food. It was good, there was nothing awful about it. A bit too hammy, a bit too salty, but not enough to send me retching. The price at about forty one dollars was reasonable and comparable. The apple pie thing is problematic though. I mean mostly the food they serve is already a bit on the heavy side, why not just make a real apple pie? Apple pie without real sugar is like apple pie without America.
The tea and coffee were excellent, the wait staff was attentive, if not flirty and the service was quick and efficient for the most part. The food as a whole though was only pretty good. They really should back away from the salt shaker a bit.
And we tipped the waitress well.

Bob Evans on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

International House of Pancakes

Gravois Bluffs

Fenton MO.

This past weekend was a three day affair what with Independence Day and everything. I’d announced plans already to grill everything in sight on Sunday and Monday. I take grilling very seriously.

Saturday however was our night out. It was Adam’s choice and it was a good one. Fairly fresh off our visit to Waffle House a few weeks ago, he declared IHOP.

The Place:

In the strip of restaurants that front Gravois Bluffs this is the last one left to be reviewed, not counting a tiny Deli and a Q-Doba, which we will probably not be doing, ever.

The place was clean and sparkly, etched glass and wood panels segregated areas cutting down on the noise. Angel answered “booth” when queried about preference. My section of the booth was lumpy and uneven. I said as much and Adam shot back; “You’re lumpy!” Which is currently our families standard retort style to everything anyone says.

I.e. “That TV show was boring”

“You’re boring”

“The dogs are barking.”

“You’re barking!”

“It’s hot”

“You’re hot!”

We do this instead of actually trying to be funny or clever, it’s much simpler, but man does it get old.

“You’re old!”

The place was less than a quarter full, most of the patrons were families spread out thinly.

The wait staff scurried about, busily attending to the coffee refills and table cleanings. The staff, with only one exception was young and very skinny. I mentioned this to Angel, she replied “They must not eat here”. I looked around at the patrons and was forced to agree, the customers all seemed to be of greater girth. The one staff member that was of normal Midwestern pudgy build turned out to be the manager, obviously required to eat there fairly often.

The place did not smell like syrup, which I found to be nice. I’ve discussed this before and won’t burden you with the details again other than to say, mumps and lockjaw.

We ordered our drinks, tea, tea and Pepsi. They came while we were still drooling over the menu.

The Food:

We took quite a while to finally decide. We considered just telling the skinny waiter to just start on page one and bring the table one of everything till we couldn’t take any more. Everything on the menu looked great, it wasn’t at all a problem of finding something we wanted, it was that we didn’t want to not have something else.

I knew I had to get pancakes, since this was the “International House of” You know my rule on that. I opted for the combo, double blueberry pancakes with a blueberry compote (fruit, cooked with sugar and used as a syrup-like topping). The combo came with eggs, over-easy (like me) two breakfast meats (one each bacon and sausage) and a pile of hash browns.

Angel opted for the steak tips which came with eggs (scrambled) and hash browns. She also asked for a side of gravy, because Angel loves gravy. Adam ordered the chicken fried chicken, accompanied by two eggs cooked as they looked in the picture (sunny side up).

While waiting for the food the many children in the room started behaving more and more sugared up. There was jumping and shrieking and yelling. I considered telling the parents off, but they were all much, much larger than me.

Adam sniffed the syrup decanters, couldn’t decide what one of them was, asked his mom, she whiffed and declared boysenberry. A ten minute discussion ensued, a small tiff about the origin of boysenberries. We finally agreed that it was a combination of berries.*

The food arrived, none too soon. The eggs were perfect, clean, brilliantly so, the hash browns were crispy through and through, the way Adam prefers them though he didn’t order any.(Haha!) The one slice of bacon was crispy but not burnt, the sausage was succulent and flavory.

The picture in the menu depicted a dollop of compote on the pancakes, the reality in front of me was quite different. Instead of what I assumed would be a couple of tablespoons was in fact more like a half cup. It completely covered the stack. It also completely masked any flavor the actual pancakes might have brought to the plate. I still finished them but it was quite a bit sweeter and more syrupy than I would have wanted.

All around the table there were grunts of joy and delight. I stole a pinch of Angel’s regular, buttermilk pancake and wished I’d ordered the same. They were light, fluffy, and buttery tasting.

Angel’s steak was excellent though with perhaps too much mushroom and onion sauce. Adam was very satisfied with his chicken, nice and crispy, and perfectly cooked eggs.

Near halfway through I asked for coffee and they brought out a fresh carafe. It was dark and delicious. It cut through the sweetness of the compote and brought the universe into balance and order.


The food was excellent and then some. Highly recommended, great value. I know now that they tend to over-sauce things, which can be dealt with. The service was very good, attentive, sincere. When taking our order the waiter read it all back to us, a move I don’t mind since it assures that the order was taken properly. The food was all fresh and nicely cooked, the tea was very good, the coffee even better. The place was clean and tended to well, almost shiny. The bill came to just under forty three dollars, not too bad for the quantity and quality of food. I tipped well, these skinny kids need to eat more.

We left even though I was reluctant. They had brought me a full carafe of coffee, I’d barely finished a third of it. But Angel insisted since we were on a mission. It was time to buy explosives.

*Boysenberry: A blackberry, loganberry, and raspberry cross developed in the 1920’s by Rudolph Boysen.