Sunday, April 01, 2012

Cognitive Dissonance

Common Roots Cafe
2558 Lyndale Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55405

Breakfast club is getting old. Not old in the sense of boring, we've got better things to do than go to breakfast and write about it (we don't). But old in the sense of, people decline a breakfast club invite because they are "tired", or "have a bulging disc (not bulging di_k) in their back", or are late because the baby fell asleep and they didn't want to wake the baby (DON'T WAKE THE BABY). Yesterday's breakfast adventure required no fewer than 12 emails during the week and 7 or 8 texts over the course of Saturday morning. Even with all this planning, only five and a half club members convened at Common Roots Cafe. And that included one member showing up at nine, waiting around for a while by herself, then leaving. Only to make a triumphant return in the middle of the meal because she went home and deemed the house to be too boring since people were just sitting around reading the paper.

I was nominated to choose the location for breakfast club because Alex's original suggestion fell through due to that location's unwillingness to serve brunch on Saturday.  I took this opportunity to be 100% selfish. I chose Common Roots because it allowed Rachael and I to be P.O.S (part of the solution!) and ride our bikes to breakfast. I got a new bike a couple of weeks ago so we are working on using bikes as our main form of transportation during the weekend. Even if it means we nearly break our backs hauling a week's worth of groceries home from the Wedge (first world problems, amiright?).

We want to love Common Roots. This place is completely in our wheel house. Unfortunately their breakfast service keeps us from being all-in on Common Roots. We want to like them so hard that I am not going to even call the bad things bad. I am using that awesome HR term, "areas for improvement".

Let's start with the good though. If you need a quick, on-the-go breakfast you can't go wrong with their bagels. They may be the best in the Twin Cities. They also always have a great selection of fresh cream cheeses. The bakery items look absolutely delicious, although we haven't sampled them. The space is homey and comfortable with enough seating to accommodate large groups. Service is quick and responsive (for counter service). Alex was a champion yesterday, wandering around attempting to get enough ketchup for each person.

Areas for improvement: Eggs, hash, Chai tea, ordering process (clumsy during busy times), turkey sausage. See grades below for full description.

Amadeus-Farmer's breakfast with bison sausage and eggs over easy. The eggs were over hard, which robbed me if my favorite part of the meal, dipping my toast into the egg yolk, full grade deduction. Bison sausage was awesome. B-.

Rachael-Sweet potato hash with bison sausage. Not nearly enough sweet potato. Liked the bison sausage. Chai tea was neither strong nor spicy enough. B.

Alex-Sweet potato hash with bison sausage. Too few sweet potatoes, not crispy at all. Watery Chai. C+.

Patrick-Sweet potato hash with turkey sausage. Patrick had sausage envy and wanted Rachael and I to engage in trickeration to get Alex's bison sausage (we chickened out though). Turkey sausage was bland. B with bison sausage (he thinks), C with turkey sausage.

Judy-Bowl of fruit. She doesn't know how to text her grade to me, but does it really matter? It was just a bowl of fruit.

Baby L (new breakfast club member!!)-Three cooled squares of sweet potato mashed around his fingers and his dad's sweater, a gnawed on soup spoon, and a little bit of breast milk (not on the menu). No grade, I'm pretty sure he doesn't know his letters yet. But I predict that he will learn how to text before Judy does.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Here Comes The Sun

4600 Nicollet Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55419

Hey there. How has everyone been? Did we miss anything? Don't get your hopes up. We might be back and regular breakfast club posts will make their triumphant return. I might write this post and then go back in to hiding for two more years. I've heard it both ways. We promise nothing. The good thing about taking a couple of years off of writing about breakfast is that it means there are approximately 9,000 new places to choose from. At least we won't be able to use the, "Geez, there no more places to review in the Twin Cities" excuse. That was a piss-poor excuse given the places that we didn't review in our previous life. Details. Since I am just dipping my toes in the blogging water I thought it'd be smart to convene a small group for breakfast. It was only four of us that arrived at Sun Street Breads on Saturday morning.

It's a good thing it was only four of us though, Sun Street is a pretty small place with only one table large enough to accommodate the full club. It's been around long enough that people showing up looking to smell the new restaurant smell may have dwindled but the crowds remain due to their quality fare as witnessed by their very good reviews. Add us to the chorus.

There were very few complaints about Sun Street. My only problem was the counter service. I was forced to (gasp!) get up out of my chair to get my coffee refill. The order at the counter, then find a table to sit could easily devolve into a lord of the flies situation if the line got big enough. My own personal anxiety increased as Rachael and I waited in the vestibule for the breakfast club treasurers to arrive so we could order. As each group waltzed in ahead of us I thought to myself, "There goes another four-top table". I may have anxiety problems though.

The space is quite nice as well. Even though the seating area is small, the tables don't feel cramped. The bakery is open and visible from the seating area. I may be am weird, I find it mesmerizing watching someone knead bread. Hopefully I didn't make it too creepy for the baker.

The food grades are below but TCBCB gives Sun Street our seal of approval.

Amadeus-Standard breakfast with sourdough toast and sausage with a side of potato gordos. Perfectly cooked eggs, delicious toast, and incredible sausage. The only miss was the gordos, which are deep-fried mashed potato balls. Gimme plain old hash browns or fried potatoes any day. A-.

Rachael-Biscuit sammich, with over easy egg, sausage, and Jarlsberg. Delicious, and pleasantly ungreasy. The only downgrade is due to the gordos. A-.

James-Standard breakfast with sourdough toast and sausage. B.

Judy-Standard breakfast with wheat toast and bacon. Also not a fan of the gordos. A-.

Warning! The story below has nothing to do with breakfast.

Last month Rachael, Sarah, and I took a three week vacation to Southeast Asia to visit friends living in Kuala Lumpur. We spent time in Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. It was the perfect vacation. I figured the best way to document our time is to tell a story from our vacation at the end of each post that I write here (starting a whole nother blog dedicated to our travels was far too much work). Those of you bored by travelogues can stop reading right now.

A Swedish Proposition

View from villa
Our first destination on our vacation was Krabi, Thailand. We spent four days there recovering from our journey to the other side of the world by lounging in the pool of our rented villa. After three days of doing almost nothing, we decided that since we were actually by the sea, we should probably at least see it. We signed up for a sunset BBQ snorkel cruise so we could get out and explore the islands of the Andaman Sea. Once we got on the boat and had the briefing we discovered that Kon-Tiki is a Swedish group catering to Swedish travelers. We knew at that at the very least everything would be very safe. As we departed we also learned it would mean that everyone else would smoke approximately eleventy billion cigarettes over the course of the trip.

Bamboo Island
The snorkel part of the trip turned out to be a bit of a disappointment. Once we got in the water at Bamboo Island it was discovered that the current was much stronger than anticipated. Everyone ended up getting swept away from the reef. The positive side is that rather than have us fight our way back to the boat against the current, they towed us back to the boat with the dinghy using a rope that they dropped in the water. This allowed me to pretend that I was James Bond sneaking on to a super villains luxury yacht.  I'm lucky I am easily entertained.

Andaman sea view
They fed us some Farang BBQ on our way back from the island. The food was not at all memorable (especially after days of gorging on real Thai food). An incident with one of the staffers was way more memorable than anything else that day.

All of the staff members were young multi-lingual Swedish transplants and uniformly nice. But was one a little too nice?

 Fast forward to the middle of dinner. After standing off to the side pretending not be watching us, one of the young female staffers walked very determinedly up to me and said what sounded like, "Faherdie derdie lerdie do?"

Once I realized she was asking me a question, I replied with, "I'm sorry I don't understand..." and before I could finish she dropped her head, turned around, and walked away. My only conclusion based on her reaction is that she was clearly propositioning me. She strategically avoided me for the rest of the cruise so I never got a chance to clarify. Rachael remains unconvinced of my conclusion. Nevertheless, every time we talk about that cruise it allows me to remind Rachael it was the time I got hit on by a Swedish girl. Now that's a once in a lifetime opportunity.