Saturday, July 08, 2006

The Power of Negative Thinking

Soba's Cafe
2558 Lyndale Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55405

One of my coworkers shares a philosophy of life with me. We call it something different, but the theme is the same. I call it "the power of negative thinking", or "it's better to be pleasantly surprised, then disappointed." My coworker repeats a phrase that her mother said numerous times while growing up, "Expect nothing and you will never be disappointed." It is this mindset that may have resulted in the sparkling review you are about to read.

Rachael and I woke up this morning and called over to the big house to inquire about the club. It was reported that Judy was still at the hospital and everything was in a holding pattern until she was available (we've tried breakfast club without Judy and it lacks a particular joy, if you've ever met Judy, you would understand). Rachael and I twiddled our thumbs, drank a bunch of cups of coffee and waited. The phone finally rang and we were told to report to Soba's Cafe in 15 minutes. No questions asked, no vetoes, it was the most decisive start to breakfast club ever. As we walked over there, Rachael and I discussed our misgivings about Soba's we had both heard bad things about it, especially concerning the service. Service is rather important to the club because we do you say...a needy bunch. I need my coffee refilled a bajillion times (with copious amounts of cream and sugar provided), Judy will make at least one substitution with her order or try to order something that isn't even on the menu, and Jimmy, Fern, Alex, or Rachael have been known to make special requests. It was with this knowledge that breakfast began. In a word, skeptical.

It is hard for me to conjure up a better breakfast club experience. We arrived at about 10 (very late in the world of twin cities weekend breakfast) and were seated immediately. The service was prompt and courteous. All of our special requests were accommodated willingly. They even forgot to put the hollandaise sauce on the side for Judy and when she complained (whined really) they whisked her plate away and it returned soon thereafter, properly assembled. One caveat is necessary though, since I already had my coffee at home, I ordered orange juice, so their coffee refill/half and half and sugar supply skills were not properly tested.

Get on with it, how was the food? Simply put, the food was tremendous. I had the best breakfast quesadilla in my life. The tortillas were deliciously crispy, the salsa, sour cream, and guacamole sides were the perfect quantity, and inside was the most delicious combination of eggs cheese and bacon imaginable. Usually when something contains bits of bacon, it feels like you are on a treasure hunt to find the bacon. This was not a problem here as there seemed to be an entire pig's worth of bacon stuffed inside the tortillas.

Everyone else thoroughly enjoyed their dishes. Judy got the vegetarian eggs benedict, with guacamole in lieu of ham (a nice touch). The hollandaise sauce was very good. Rachael got some sort of scramble (cheese on the side), it was hard to tell what it was because it was gone so quickly. Jimmy had the standard eggs benedict and left not a scrap behind. Alex and Fern both had omelets and had effusive praise for them. The potatoes were good, but not great. They were roasted potatoes, not hash browns and they varied in crispiness from plate to plate. The really crispy ones were very good.

Overall grade from the group was an A-. Everyone except Jimmy gave the experience an A. Jimmy would have given the place an A, but docked it an entire letter grade because of all the dust on the windows and on the plastic plants. If you have seen Jimmy's house you would know that this is kind of like Dick Cheney docking someone an entire letter grade for being an obnoxious prick.

All of this leads us to an important question. Is breakfast club losing its edge? We've given positive reviews to the last five places we've been to. We are turning into a Dara Moskowitz article. Is it because of reduced expectations? Are we making better choices? These are a philosophical questions best answered over a cup of coffee and a plate of eggs and (crispy) hash browns.

Note: Soba's Cafe is no more. Perhaps the health department shut them down for all of the dust. At any rate, a new restaurant has taken their place. We may have to try it out someday.


rachael said...

Is the group happier with the breakfast when we are awake and fully caffienated?

Alex said...

Jimmy's house may have some dust in it, but it would certainly never have plastic plants. I believe it was for the plastic plants that he reduced the grade, not for the dust. Besides, my house is dusty (a dog and a cat will do that to you), but I still want restaurants to be clean. My mushroom omelet was almost good enough to make me forget about the globs of dust just above our heads, though.