Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Cindy's Coffee Shop--Two Visits, Two Years Apart UPDATED - Third Visit now years later

(new bits at the end)

Back in the summer of 2008, #1DC Antoinette and I went to Cindy's in Eagle Rock and took this picture. Somehow it has odd grain to it, which makes the picture look far older than it is.

In July of 2010, I took this much crisper picture. On this visit, my friends Chip and Marc came with me.

I've talked about it before--sometimes I go to a lot of places in a short period of time and the log of reviews and pictures gets backed up. Some stuff just has to be put on the shelf. That's what happened to Cindy's.

I just never got around to writing the review, and I needed to go back and refresh my memory. I also have a much better camera now and the difference between when the pictures were taken will be obvious.

Cindy's is a surprisingly small place. From the outside, it looks like a decent sized restaurant, but once you step in you realize that you can see the whole restaurant through the store-front windows. There is no "back" of the restaurant--it's all right there.

Cindy's had to close for a time back in 2007 when a drunk driver plowed into the restaurant and did pretty significant damage. You can see pictures of the destroyed Cindy's at the Boulevard Sentinel. (scroll down)

They definitely had redone the menu since my last visit. I think I would have remembered something so out of place. This was a slick, generic menu that could be used by any family restaurant. Dinosaurs decorate the kids' section of the menu. Dinosaurs, man! That's straight-up Dennys!

On both visits the coffee was a bit of a problem. Chip is a big coffee drinker and bad coffee can totally ruin a place for him. This coffee needed A LOT of help, it was thick and burnt. I am a "two sweeteners and it's good" kind of guy. For this, I was hitting the flavored creamers. Refills either came in close succession or with wide gaps in between.

On our first visit, I ordered the chili omelet and home fries. My notes say "It's alright. Chili is good. Potatoes lack flavor."

Antoinette ordered the waffle and eggs and bacon breakfast. My notes read as thus; "Waffle - EGGO? Squiggly bacon!" Wow. I'm amazing at documenting these experiences.

I really should have consulted my notes before going back because I had completely forgotten what I ordered the first time. I asked about the "biscuit sandwich" on the menu, hoping it was an actual sandwich, but suspecting it was just like a pancake sandwich (which is NOT sandwich). My suspicions were correct. I had to quickly choose something else.

Yep, you guessed it!

I ordered the same damn thing that Antoinette ordered two years before. The bacon was less squiggly and there was less of it, but it was good. The eggs were rubbery. The waffle was less EGGO this time. It wasn't toaster soggy and I swear it must have been incredibly porous since it seemed to absorb all the syrup I poured over it. Needless to say, it was very sweet by the time I took a bite.

Chip ordered the pancake and eggs and sausage breakfast. Chip liked the pancakes; they were fluffy and sweet. He recognized the sausage as being Farmer John brand. He's a man who knows his sausage.

Marc ordered the eggs, hash browns and ham. The hash browns were undercooked and mushy. I'm pretty sure I saw an Ore-Ida bag in the kitchen. The ham was thin and fatty.
In fact, we all agreed that everything seemed "thin." Not just because of a thin pancake or waffle or ham steak, but portion-wise everything seemed thin and kind of skimpy.

We did sit and talk for a good hour after our meal was finished. It was only in the last twenty or so minutes that the wait staff stopped checking in with us or refilling our waters and coffees. We weren't taking up a table that they needed at the time but the lunch rush was presumably coming soon. I think they were using siege warfare to drive us out by thirst.

Cindy's is a place that I really wished was better. It has everything going for it in terms of location and aesthetic; it's just that the food isn't all that interesting or good. It took me two years to come back here and I could easily go two or more before coming back.

Food: Okay.
Service: Okay.
Price: $6-$8
Pie: Supermarket pie.

Someone at Cindy's loves turtles.

UPDATE 9.10.14

New owners recently took over Cindy's and gave it a much needed revamp.

LA Eater.com article about it.

#1DinerWife Antoinette and I returned recently to try it out.

New retro interior suits Cindy's perfectly. 

I had the Brisket Hash and Antoinette had the BLT. Both were great. The side of fries was also good.

I tried the chocolate pecan pie and loved it. I think this was the first pecan pie I had had since judging in the pecan category at the America Pie Championships back in April. 

Antoinette had the chocolate cake. It was moist and rich without being off-putting. 

DEFINITELY give the new Cindy's a try. I think it will be well worth it.

The classic Cindy's sign is in disrepair and they are running a kickstarter to raise the funds to bring it back to its former glory. 

Kickstarter Campaign - Ends on September 16th! 

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