Sunday, February 6, 2011

Waiting In The Garage

Ladies And Gentleman (I'm assuming there's only one one true gentleman reading this, at most), today is a special two-for-one. That's right, two reviews of the same place! And that place? Capitol Garage!

Why is this a twofer today? Well, partially just because I'm lazy. You see, last week a splitting headache (after a killer ICUP show) kept me in bed instead of journeying out to a tasty new destination on Saturday, so I went out on Sunday. I decided I'd return to a place I knew would be tasty, and since I thought I'd be travelling with posse, I chose Capitol Garage. So, obviously, full disclosure here; I like Capitol Garage. It's tasty, it has a huge menu, I have a dear friend who worked there, it has a (some might say controversial) Skinner painting on every goddamn wall. What's not to love? Also, it serves brunch until 2pm, which allows me to get my sleepy on a little longer. So there it is.

I made it down there last week at the heart of Brunchtime, and the place was superpacked. I sat at the bar, next to the Cambros of coffee and across the bar from a literal bucket of mimosa. And here's where the pros start to blur with the cons. They do offer a bottomless mimosa deal for about nine bucks, which is pretty tasty and definitely bottomless, and been particularly entertaining on many a grey Sunday. However, they're a little less appealing when you see them poured from a gigantic pre-mixed bucket. Also, (and perhaps this is the coffee-snob in me) the idea of all of the coffee coming from a cambro is a little disheartening, too. Now, honestly, the coffee isn't too bad, and it makes practical sense, given how busy they are. But still, a little less than ideal. Also less than ideal was that sitting next to the cash register and bartender, when the servers were places orders and ringing customers up allowed me to overhear some of their shit-talking the same customers. Now, granted, I don't expect this to not happen. But just because those PARTICULAR customers can't hear you doesn't mean that NONE of the customers can't hear you. For instance, your plucky breakfast protagonist.

Now, on this visit the bartender took my order, and I decided to nerd it up with Peter Parker's favorite breakfast dish, (Buck)Wheat (Pan)Cakes! As well as a green tea of some sort the bartender picked for me. The meal arrived, and was pretty damn delicious! It came with a small side of blueberries, which paired well with the wheat, but I remember explicitly thinking that there would not be enough blueberries to go with every bite, and that the cakes might get a little dry without them.

But then, to my delight, it turns out the cook had thought to mash blueberries into the bottom of every pancake! Which is pretty brilliant, if you ask me. Also, you can see there's a side of the Garage potatoes, which are far more delicious than that name would imply. What I like about these taters in particular is that they don't go the traditional route, and have a very unique flavor all their own (is it basil? Perhaps in a few months of gastronomy, I'll be able to tell). Although, for the record, I do prefer a garnish I can eat.

But, overall, it was a damn tasty meal. It was, honestly, a little awkward being by myself in such a bustling busy atmosphere (especially when the girl that dropped off my food may or may not have mocked me for reading during my wait). As I mentioned, Cap Gar has a pretty cool visual identity, and I love that they've imported their enormous sign from the last location. That being said, their bathrooms are really boring. The hallways leading to the bathroom have murals so cool I stopped traffic looking at them, but the bathrooms themselves could be mistaken for a rest stop.

And yes, I will explain why the structural design of the bathrooms is given its own point system. Just not now.

So, feeling that I ought to go back with some friends in tow to fully appreciate the experience, I conned some friends into joining me, not telling them about this blog until after we ordered, and mostly just so they wouldn't think I'm a huge freak when I started snapping photos of my food. But first;

We got there, requested a table for three, and asked if we'd like to sit inside or outside, all of which is completely reasonable and, y'know, normal. We said "outside" because it was a stunning, sunshiney morning. This is when it starts to get weird. I thought she responded with "I can only seat two of you outside," which seemed totally ridiculous, while one of my compatriots said she said "I can't seat you outside," and she claims the less-sensical "I can only seat you outside." Which is fine, because that's, y'know, what we requested. So we go out to wait, and see am empty table. When I go to point this out to her, she repeats herself/lies (whichever), and seats us. We order from a server that I've met roughly three dozen times, but never remembers me. Seriously, We've played shows together in basements and art galleries, I've been to his house on Halloween, and know a bunch of the same people. Not to mention me visiting his place of business about a dozen times. Anyway. My friends and I talk about literature for a while (including how Chuck Palahniuk should give up the ghost, and the merits of Piers Anthony, John Grisham, and China Mieville). We get our delicious little fruitplates (which I didn't get when I was at the bar. What gives?), and we talk about... other stuff. For a while. Eventually, we start talking about where the hell our food is. We joke that my presence is such a memory-eraser to our server he forgot we'd ordered. I stop drinking my Kahlua and Coffee so I can have some left in the increasingly unlikely seeming occurrence our food actually arrives. By the time we got it, (without apology), I was so hungry I forgot to take a picture until I was already digging in.

I ordered the Country Benedict (Which I'm categorizing under omelettes, because, c'mon people. Let's not get too picky). It was a damn tasty meal. Biscuits and gravy with poached eggs, Tillamook cheese, and chicken apple sausage. My friend who ordered the simple biscuits and gravy declared it a little too fancy for her tastes ("I'm a Denny's kind of girl,") but I love the Garage's strangely upscale breakfast menu. Their menu shifts at least seasonally, which means that sometimes your favorites won't be there (The Strawberries and Cream is ridiculous!), but there's time to find new favorites, right? Plenty of time. Between when you order and your food arrives. And while our unnamed-server (yes, I know his name) was very nice -- although he could have apologized for the wait -- who knows what he said about us at the register?

And now, an unrelated piece of grafitti;

Atmosphere: 7/13
Clean: 1/3
Structural: 2/3
Decor: 3/3
Signage 0/2
Service: 1/2

Menu: 7/8
Variety: 2/2
(bumped up a little because of the rotating menu)
Size: 2/2 (See above)
Beverages: 2/2
Prices: 1/2

Food: 7/9 pts
Presentation: 2/3
Portion: 2/3
Taste: 3/3

Bathroom: 1/5 pts.
Clean: 1/2
Structural: 0/1
Decor: 0/2

Overall: 22/35

1 comment:

  1. I love unrelated grafitti.

    Also, i haven't yet tried the garage 'tatoes, and now feel that i should.