My Egg

Forewarned is forearmed. An early hint should be taken as the gift it is. When a restaurant’s front door has a notice taped to the inside “Cooks Wanted” the best outcome is not to fight the message. The smart act is to walk. In the other direction.

Perhaps that’s too judgmental. Logic should be our guide, too. If a restaurant has “egg” and “breakfast” in the name are we expecting too much for the eggs to be expertly cooked? Logic doesn’t work that well, apparently.

And popularity should be some kind of quality indicator, right? Lots of patrons normally means something good. Hmmmm. Perhaps not.

My benedict with avocado and bacon was sub-par this morning. The eggs were over-cooked. The bacon was fatty, unevenly cooked and of minute quantity. Instead of English muffin, the base was mini-pancakes. And the hollandaise was somewhere between gloopy and weird.

Many folks apparently think this is all acceptable. My guess is that the bussers were on the line this morning, with predictable results. When a restaurant tells you up front that they have no cook…heed that message. Rely not on logic, popularity or hope. That way lies disappointment.

Flour

When the Waikiki-ization of downtown Sarasota is complete and the population consists entirely of high-rise dwelling ghosts, Sift will clean up. You can see it now: residents of those terribly chic penthouses will all sneak downstairs of a morning to ablute their designer dogs and pick up a pastry for themselves. Half now, half for lunch.

That’s good news for Sift. Tucked away like it is, they’ll need a regular clientele in the know. And we less lofty types from humbler abodes will visit and be tempted, happy in the knowledge that the place is ticking along, solvent, keeping rich and proto-rich alike in delicious baked goods.

Mall Pall

Here we go again with another corporate catch-all food emporium that over-promises and under-delivers in almost all areas.

One word describing the Carmel experience is awkward. It is awkward…

…in a half-empty restaurant to be told to hang around the hostess’s station while they find a table. Real restaurants invite you to the bar to order a drink, from which someone escorts you to your seats.

It is awkward when a guest asks the waiter for a very specific (and readily available) wine recommendation, only for it to become painfully obvious that the waiter knows no difference between sauternes and syrah. You canNOT call yourself any kind of wine establishment unless your staff is all trained or you spring for full-time sommeliers.

It is furthermore awkward when one’s European-born dining companion receives her “Moroccan Chicken” which has, at plate center right, an entire broccoli stalk. Yes, please enjoy your complete, cut off at the main artery, six-inch piece of fibrous trunk, four-fifths of which most people consider scrap.

Remove the clunky iPad bizarreness – which the waiter snatched from us to more swiftly place our order anyway – and you’re left with…a very nice dining room. Which we were savoring after our meal when suddenly all the lights went up in exactly the same way as at the end of the movie.

A bad one.

Broccoli

What are you having for dinner?

I can’t tell you.

What? Why?

Because you’ll mock me.

Oh no.

And give me a hard time.

Probably because you will deserve it.

*sigh*

It’s what I think, isn’t it?

I don’t know. What do you think?

Salmon again?

No, actually. Not tonight.

It must be sardines then. And broccoli. Ugh.

Got it. I really don’t know why this is so bad. The Daily Mail posted an article by a nutritionist who wrote that sardines and broccoli were both superfoods. Better than salmon and kale.

Ugh. I will not take dietary advice from someone from Leeds.

Why not?

I just won’t.

But Miss Whitehead is an authority. And she has a very attractive figure and arresting hair. And that cute Yorkshire accent.

I don’t care. The thought of you eating those poor defenceless fish with their little heads and all makes me sick.

Their heads are chopped off. Like the rabble taking all the smart people’s noggins in the French Revolution.

Why can’t you eat steak? Like normal people?

Because it’s not that good for you.

But I eat it and I’m fine. Plus you eat a dozen little creatures, and I eat only one tiny percentage of the cow.

Steer, probably.

What?

We milk cows and eat the males.

What?

Don’t worry about it. And in any case your comparison is silly. What percentage of a thing that we eat is irrelevant.

No. Not in my book.

So you’re saying that I’m better off eating a much larger portion of a bovine than a half-dozen sardines because six is fewer than 2 percent?

Yes.

It’s Phuh Not Fo

Places like Pho Cali have no need for Yelp!

Owners of restaurants turning their tables three or even four times per lunch service, every lunch service, are too busy cooking and serving to bother with written reviews. All the critics they need are standing in a line at the front door waiting to eat.

Dissection is pointless in the face of appetites with cash.

Pointless and unnecessary. Whether Pho Cali is an authentic Vietnamese experience makes no difference, although it is close to the real deal. The food is sufficiently exotic to wake the most jaded punter, so that if your palate is fatigued by endless bland-o burgers and fried mystery meals, your choices are clear: go Vietnamese, go Indian, go Thai – go anywhere without a ‘grille’. Or ‘American cheese’ for that matter.

Fast food be damned, get Pho-ed.