Today was a rainy Sunday in Cincinnati, my husband had to work all day so I was stuck with entertaining two very small children. My thought was to go play with Thomas the Train at Joseph-Beth Bookstore, followed by brunch at their café. I had never had brunch there, only lunch and dinner, and it's usually pretty good. Perfect plan, I thought...perfect plan!
So out we went, under the rain, on our adventure. After about an hour of Thomas antics (my limit) we headed for the bistro...there was a wait. Ask any parent, being told there is a "15 - 30 minute wait" at any restaurant when you are stuck with a 2 and 3 year old is like being told "and our waiting room is in the bowels of hell, right this way...". But it took 20 minutes and we perservered (after a million "do you want to go home?" threats made by yours truly)...
The hostess, by the way, was delightful and tried to help me entertain the wee-ones.
We got to our table and I could feel the eyes of my fellow brunchers upon us..."Oh GREAT, KIDS!" I know that's what they were thinking. Oh well...One must eat.
Our waitress arrived. You know that feeling when your waitress arrives and you are CERTAIN she hates your very existence and that of your offspring? That's the kind of waitress we got. Greeeaaat. I should have made the same threat to her as I did my kids: "Do you want to go home?" But that would have gotten spit in my coffee, so I refrained.
So I took a look at their brunch menu. This café is known for serving from the store's cookbooks, so you got to see the inspriation for various menu items. They had all sorts of things on the menu: omelets, scrambled eggs, creme brulée french toast, fritattas, you name it. It all looked good, but I settled on the scrambled eggs, which came with Paula Dean home fries (read: fat fat fat fries), bacon, toast and a fruit cup.
When "Debbie Downer" the waitress came back, I asked her for two chocolate milks for the kids, a cup of coffee for me, and a pumpkin muffin, pronto! I wasn't demanding, but I needed something to entertain the "petits monstres" until our meals were ready. I think she rolled her eyes and off she went to pour a couple chocolate milks.
She returned with a blueberry muffin. Although I had ordered pumpkin, I made zero fuss. First of all because she scared the hoo-ha out of me, and secondly because I just needed food to entertain these babies of mine. I think this is what is behind the obesity epidemic in America...moms shoving food at their children so they won't make a fuss in restaurants. Debbie took my order, and I ordered the scrambled eggs, a grilled cheese and silver dollar pancakes for the kids.
My cup of coffee began running low. I figured someone would be by to magically fill it up again...It never happened.
We got our meals. Immediately I was confused. My scrambled eggs were not scrambled. Are scrambled eggs supposed to be a mass of egg with cheddar cheese melted on top? Isn't that an omelet, or some version of an omelet? I saw no evidence of scrambling going on in this egg. But no way was I going to say anything to dear old Debbie, an egg is an egg. But to make matters worse, they had no taste. That was a downer. First it's Debbie Downer and now Scrambled Egg Downer. The fruit was rather tasteless, and the bacon wasn't great either. It wasn't fatty, which was good, but it didn't have much going on. Kind of like eating a greasy salt lick. I would suggest they invest in some Applewood bacon, that stuff is the pork product of the Gods. Love it.
I had been nursing my coffee, which was now 7/8 gone. My waitress looked so pissy..at everyone. I tried to flag her a couple of times to get more coffee, but she flew right by me every time. I swear, she hated my existence. Some elderly woman next to me had a question about her bill and WOAH boy I had to divert my eyes...it was like watching Medusa herself in the process of turning human flesh to stone. This gal was either having a bad day or a bad life, I wasn't sure which. So I didn't ask for more coffee, I just wanted out.
I ate 1/2 the eggs, one piece of enormously dry and cold toast, a few pieces of tasteless melon and bacon and some YUMMY home fries. Leave it to Paula Dean to put cream cheese in her breakfast potatoes, but that works. It was the best part of my meal. You can't really go wrong with home fries and cream cheese.
Near the end of the meal, I glanced over at my 2 year old son. He was covered in syrup. Uh-oh, I was going to need help from dear old Deb. When she came back to the table, I nicely asked her for a glass of water (shouldn't I have had a glass of water already?) so I could douse my son and she absolutely glared at me and just nodded yes. No words. No facial expression (maybe she had just had Botox injections??) I couldn't believe it as she walked away to satisfy my incredibly demanding needs.
Needless to say, Deb got much less than my usual 20% tip.
I go to Bronte Bistro often, since I go to Joseph-Beth Bookstore often. For lunch it is pretty good, they have great salads. But this brunch, with its solid scrambled eggs, dry and cold toast, non-refilled coffee, bland bacon and tasteless fruit, I have to give it a C-.
First Watch is right down the street from here, they have the best brunch in town. I should never have strayed.....