Breakfasts as Different as Night and Day

As I have posted in the past, I am not a breakfast lover. I never have been. As a kid, eating breakfast used to make me sick. My mom was so concerned about sending me off to school with little or no food in my stomach she created something she called “fuzzy cocoa’ where she put  Nestlé’s Quik, hot milk and a raw egg in the blender and that was breakfast almost every day of my elementary years.

I still don’t eat full breakfasts though. Recently, I’ve been into the granola I made from a recipe my sister gave me.

Oddly enough though I went out to breakfast twice this week – for the company, not the food.

I met my friend Mary Jo at the Old Times Kafe on Prince Road on Thursday and my former co-worker, Becky at First Watch at the Crossroads on Saturday.

The Old Times has been in business for over thirty years but I really can’t remember the last time I ate there. They’ve fixed up the place a lot. The small house is cheery and bright and the service was downhome and friendly. The crowd, although there wasn’t much of one at mid-morning seemed all to be regulars.

First Watch, on the other hand, was pretty much packed. Service was friendly and professional. The room had been totally redone (it used to be the Egg Connection) and was comfortably noisy. And while the crowd may not have been regulars, they most certainly were breakfast people.

So basically all those other elements that play a big role in eating out were on an even scale.

The food on the other hand contrasted greatly.

At OTK, the coffee was well-brewed; not so strong that your hair curled, but not so weak that you could see the bottom of your cup after the first sip. It never stopped coming.

The coffee at FW was fair. Brewed so that everybody is happy, the coffee arrived in a small carafe, the modern version of keeping my cup full.

At OTK, I ordered huevos rancheros.dscn2475 At FW, the biscuit and turkey sausage gravy with two eggs over easy.

The huevos arrived double plated because the top plate had just been pulled out of the oven or something similar that melted all the cheese on top. The beans were served on the side and the eggs were tucked between a crispy tortilla and plenty of fresh, tasty salsa. Not quite “authentic” but damn close for a place with “Kafe” in its name. Every bite held layers of flavors. The spicy and savory beans, the eggs as they leaked their golden goodness, the crisp tostada, the bright salsa all came together in delectable fashion. I ate every bite.

Mary Jo’s green chile omelet was enormous –see photo – and was loaded with a mountain of green chiles. The eggs were picture perfect fluffy and she said they were as good as they looked. The home fries were superb. I snagged a bite because they looked so good and I wasn’t disappointed. While I couldn’t detect all the seasonings, I appreciated the crispy outside and creamy inside.dscn2477

Next time breakfast hankering happens, I could see returning to the Old Times Kafe.

Returning to First Watch though would be determined by the circumstances involved because the food was disappointing. All the elements were there, but flavors were bland (I had to add salt to the sausage gravy) and the crispy potatoes I’d asked for were anything but. And while the eggs were okay, the biscuit was tasty and tough. Worst of all, the food was served lukewarm, a sin in my book, especially for breakfast.

Becky’s omelet looked good and having a green salad as the side was a nice touch.

The portions were smaller than at OTK, but small portions are probably a good thing in these days of me paying attention to portion control.

This was my second visit to First Watch (did I post about my first one? Also a disappointment). Maybe that’s why there are no photos.

I was so happy to spend time with Becky, catch up on all the office gossip and know she is doing well that a so-so meal didn’t really matter, but I think the next time we get together it will probably be at a local spot.