Whale Meat Again

Venice is sleepy and old. It is a hotbed of nothing, although there are slivers of reality there. Trying the Upper Crust felt like a mistake, but it was not.

The bridge from the Floridian mainland to Venice Island is, in fact, a time machine. You begin your morning in 2014 and *bing* one hundred yards later, you’re back in 1920.

No, Hortense, there are no penny-farthing bicycles nor are there gas lamps. The cars look modern. I see Nike footwear and smartphones. It just feels old, like a kindly uncle’s cable-knit sweater vest, worn but well-loved; calm and reassuring.

And if you’re looking for breakfast on Memorial Day, you could walk into the Upper Crust and feel like you were in a restaurant from between the wars…the World Wars, that is. The room is long and skinny, two tables and a walkway wide, and the ceilings – the ceilings stretch all the way to heaven. This might be why it feels olde worlde. Ceilings are so much lower thesedays, all the better to A-C you with.

The wait staff is mostly mature plus, the decor is decidedly shabby chic (as others here described), and you really feel like you’re peddling back a few decades.

But don’t be lulled into daydreams of doing the Charleston or meeting a flapper. The food is decidedly not antique, servers are pleasant and efficient, and the coffee strong enough to tell you they cater to modern taste.

The interesting kicker to breakfast here is the regular passage of trays of fresh-baked wonders from the bakery out back to the shopfront. Scones. Then macaroons. Then muffins, and more scones. Simple cooking theater like that completely makes a place, setting it apart from plastic corporate food troughs. It gives a place life. Oh, and my favorite, they have cloth napkins.

Ask nicely and they might even tell you how to find a speakeasy.

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