Saturday, May 20, 2006

The Importance of Being Earnest About Your Maple Syrup

Wilde Roast Cafe
518 Hennepin Ave. E.
Minneapolis, MN 55414

Sometimes I feel bad about giving places bad reviews. Sometimes I feel like the Club is way too critical and no place will ever live up to our absurdly high standards. I worry that people will not (not that anyone outside of our family does right now) want to read our blog because we continually bash every place we go to. There are times when we may be overly critical (even with places that we frequent), but sometimes a place deserves every single piece of criticism. The Wilde Roast Cafe is one of those places.

We were so hopeful. My first thought upon walking in was, "Wow, this is classy, I feel underdressed." The place seemed more coffee shop then cafe, with plush leather chairs and sofas, nice art on the walls, counter service, etc. Anything this fancy looking surely must put a lot of time and effort into their food. The menu was ambitious, no standard breakfast to be had, but all of the offerings sounded very good on paper with many fancy names (frittata, strata) and delicious sounding ingredients (créme brûlée french toast, artichoke and roasted red pepper). Unfortunately the highest grade among the group was a C+, and the overall experience could best be described as a train wreck.

My first thought about the place, "classy", was soon refined to "pretentious". There is a fine line between classy and pretentious (I should know, I crossed that line a long time ago), the Wilde Roast Cafe crossed that line, turned around and erased it to make sure it never came back. Classy is having high quality tea for your patrons. Pretentious is responding to an order of earl grey tea with, "Sorry we don't have earl grey tea, we only have WINTER WHITE earl grey tea." Classy is having special homemade strawberry butter for your waffle. Pretentious is having special homemade strawberry butter for your waffle, then providing fake maple syrup to go with it. Classy is offering a fresh field green salad as part of breakfast (thank you Cafe Barbette). Pretentious is offering a fresh field green salad as a part of breakfast and then topping it with dressing that tastes like stale beer.

I would go on, but I already feel bad for what I've said. This was a breakfast club experience that is best forgotten. The Wilde Roast Cafe received an average grade of a "D". We will not return.


Alex said...

I thought Jimmy was being too picky, when, before he even took a bite, he declared that he would not eat breakfast here again. An egg sandwich, he said, should have an over-easy egg, and this one came scrambled. His declaration makes me think of a line from Oscar Wilde himself: "You have filled my tea with lumps of sugar, and though I asked most distinctly for bread and butter, you have given me cake"

I also thought that we may just be too picky as a family.

I was pretty impressed with my first bite of creme brulee french toast. However, my own pickiness overpowered me before I had eaten more than two bites. Do I really want this much sweetness in the morning? (Yes, if it's a Baker's Wife creme brulee danish. No, aparently, to this supremely caloric french toast.) I couldn't eat more than half of it, and I, too, left the Wilde Roast unsatisfied, and unwilling to return.

Anonymous said...

pretentious: claiming or demanding a position of distinction or merit, especially when unjustified.

I think that just by using the word 5 time in a review is a sort of self labeling, or maybe just the need for a thesaurus.

Seriousness is the only refuge of the shallow......
Oscar Wilde

Amadeus said...

Mmmm...thesaurus, does that come with real maple syrup?

rachael said...

Actually, I think that the post's self-labeling constituted self-labeling, and that
using pretentious 5 times in a review was repetition. Using pretentious along with
bombastic, overblown, pompous, and snobbish would definitely have been pretentious
- but not accurate. Then again, the pure and simple truth is rarely pure and
never simple.

I know, responding was pretentious, but it was so tempting, and TCBC knows that I can resist everything
except temptation. I had to do it. The only way to get rid of a temptation is to
yield to it.

Breakfast is far too important a thing ever to talk seriously about.

-my apologies to O.W.