Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Breaking Bread

Obviously, we can't get enough of Hawthorne. Abbe and Jebby travel next to Bread and Ink, a well-known and well-loved cafe in the lovely Hawthorne district.

Jebby’s Meal: Curried Chicken Salad
I love curry, so I was excited to tuck into this salad. It came with big chunks of chicken that were a telltale shade of alarming saffron yellow. The salad was very lightly dressed in a sherry vinaigrette. It was so lightly dressed, in fact, that
when it first arrived at my table, I thought they may not have dressed it at all. The greens were a slightly off-kilter assemblage of spinach, red romaine, radicchio, and frisee. The greens weren’t very well trimmed, unfortunately. All of my frisee had their hard, brown ends left on, and about half of the red romaine leaves were left whole. The chicken was also a bit dry, and the curry tasted like it might've come out of a jar that said “Spice Islands.”

It may seem like I have nothing but negative things to say about my meal, but it was tasty. I enjoyed it, but I felt it was something that I could have made (perhaps better) at home. It felt… amateurish. Still, there were shining moments of greatness in my meal. The foccacia our server brought us before our meal was fresh, warm, and shot-through with rosemary. Their homemade catsup and strawberry jam were delicious. Abbe and I also ordered Shirley Temples, which tasted like they contained homemade grenadine but were to-die-for either way. They brought memories of childhood flooding back to me, and came with free refills too, which Abbe and I are big on.
My bite of Abbe’s meal sealed the deal for me though; I had just ordered a dud. I would definitely return to Bread & Ink again and give it another go. Next time though, I’m ordering the lox plate.

Abbe's Meal: Huevos Rancheros

Being the sucker I am for Americanized Mexican food, I ordered, without hesitation, the Huevos Rancheros. Honestly, in my mind there is nothing more beautiful than an egg, of any style, sitting atop a pile of black beans, pico de gallo, and sour cream, all nestled into a warm Corn tortilla. I will say, had it been a flour tortilla, I would not have ordered it. It must be corn tortillas, hands down. The only thing that was missing from this meal was a shirtless and buff young Spanish man named Fernando, feeding me each bite while fanning me with a giant banana leaf.
I loved this meal. It was warm, flavorful, fragrant, and above all, pure ecstasy to my taste buds. They had a homemade salsa on the side that was absolutely brilliant and just pulled everything together. It was comprised of yellow and orange peppers, tomatoes, cilantro and a few other ingredients of win that made it my perfect little topping.
The black beans weren't just beans, it was a chili, thick and robust. I could taste onions, peppers and a hint of garlic, all oozing in between the plump black beans and piping hot. It made the perfect heating pad of flavor for my wondrous poached eggs.
I think I have mentioned before that I was never a big fan of the poached eggs, but so far along our journey I seem to be eating a lot of dishes that have poached eggs. I need to stop talking about poached eggs. Well these were just as inspiring as the others I have had and I'm thinking of becoming a full fledged "poach lover" after having these babies. They were divine, not watery or undercooked, a perfect layer of cooked yolk surrounding the gooey center that spilled over my tortillas, coating them will a glossy shawl of "holy cow."

All of this perfection with a dollop of sour cream on top and I was floating on air. I would absolutely pay Bread and Ink another visit and probably order the same thing. Well done and my complements to the chef. Huzzah!

Our friend Craig ordered this little beauty: pulled pork tacos with a Blackberry reduction. Yum! We can't speak for the meal ourselves, but he seemed to enjoy it immensely and we defer to him in all things culinary, as he has a very sophisticated palate.


Bread and Ink in a nutshell:
These people make everything themselves; housemade bread, catsup, jam, you name it. And it's all delicious. The restaurant is open and comfortable. Nothing fancy, but the type of place you'd like to spend a lazy afternoon. They have eclectic decor that doesn't feel too put-togehter, and open picture windows where you can watch the hipsters parade down Hawthorne in their ironic
haircuts and vintage attire. They offer free drink refills, even if it's a shirley temple or an iced coffee, and we like that. Not to mention - hello huge portions and small prices. They have a diverse menu that gives you options, but not so many that you'd have to worry about grandma and grandpa soiling their depends whilst trying to figure out what to order. Bread and Ink is the perfect blend of comfy, stylish, fulfilling, and delicious.

But who can go anywhere without finding at least one not-so-great thing to say? Well, remember our remark about it being a place you'd like to spend your day? Don't get too excited to hang around, kids. Once we had paid, Jebby, our guest and I were chatting over our remaining drinks and picking at the leavings on our plates when our server came by and loudly announced "Have a nice day guys," and gave us a "get the hell out already" look. I think Jebby and I have mentioned before that we don't play that way. We like to sit and let our meals ruminate a while and have a chit-chat. Restaurants on Hawthorne obviously don't appreciate this. There were practically tumbleweeds blowing through the restaurant, and we hadn't seen the third member of our party in many moons.

And now for something completely different...
Because we had differing opinions on this restaurant, we are going to give you... that's right, two seperate overall reviews!

Abbe's overall review: I loved my meal! It was perfect in every aspect and exactly what I look for in a classic Huevos Rancheros dish. Although our server was a little overly excited to get us out the door, I give Bread and Ink a solid hell yeah and a fist bump. Chapeau!

Jebby's overall review: Bread & Ink didn't blow my socks off, but it's not the type of place you go if you want to leave sockless. You return to a place like Bread & Ink because it's comfortable and easy to make a habit of. I'd go back, but I suggest you look elsewhere if you're searching for an exceptional meal.



To see everything Bread and Ink Cafe has to offer, visit their website at BreadandInkCafe.com

3 comments:

  1. Isn't it "in-house", rather than "home-made" when a restaurant makes it?

    I'm glad I was already eating dinner this time. I always feel hungry after reading reviews from you guys. Keep it up.

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  2. Sami Fraser-FentonJuly 18, 2010 at 11:27 AM

    Your remarks crack me up! Your writing is articulate and erudite. I haven't eaten at any of these places yet, but I'd like to try. Keep up the great (and entertaining) work!

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  3. Last time I tried Bread & Ink, I was 11, and I got this weird dish that was 90% hard crunchy breadstick things. Didn't appeal. I'll have to give it another try. It certainly has staying power if nothing else.

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