Sunday, September 12, 2010

Omelette and Waffle Shop - San Pedro. There's a pumpkin shortage? REALLY?

This was my first Dinerwood trip to San Pedro and to the Omelette and Waffle Shop. I figured that because it was Labor Day, it would be crowded. I just didn't expect it to be this crowded. There had been a marathon in the area earlier and famished runners were crowding the restaurant. Dinerwood Buddy and prolific Yelper Amy K. and I put our names down on the list and waited. Although I did not utilize this feature, I really appreciated that they let you order coffee while you wait and give you a mug to take outside.

We really didn't have to wait long considering how crowded the restaurant was and how many people were waiting. I guess that's the benefit of only being two people. A larger group would have probably had to wait twenty or more minutes. I saw some people had brought crossword puzzles affixed to clipboards to entertain themselves while they waited. I wouldn't have noticed them except that, as I approached, I assumed they were soliciting signatures for petitions. I was preparing my stock phrase, "I'm not registered in this state!" when I saw that it would be unnecessary.

Amy and I took seats at the counter. Amy's feet did not touch the floor. She specifically asked me to mention that and that the ketchup flowed easily from the bottle. These things were important for her.

I ordered a coffee and she ordered a hot chocolate, and we also asked for two waters. The coffee, which was refilled pretty consistently, was really good. It was strong without being bitter. Amy liked her hot chocolate. Although we got our drinks fairly quickly, it did take three reminders before we got our waters.

The Omelette and Waffle Shop is rather Soviet when it comes to interior design. The walls are a dull gray and there's only a spattering of wall art. For a place that has a bit of whimsy on the outside with the anthropomorphic waffle and egg, I expected the decor to carry over onto the inside. I think once you are in, it's all about the food.

There are 95 different omelettes on the menu (the other ten are on the next page of the menu) and a dozen or so waffles. There's also a token gesture of including some burgers, sandwiches, and other dishes (chicken curry?) but really, if you are here, you are getting a waffle or an omelette. Don't be stupid.

Neither one of us wanted omelettes. Amy doesn't eat eggs on their own and I tend to shy away from omelettes anyway. I quickly settled on the jalapeno and cheese waffle, while Amy debated for a bit but finally settled on the pumpkin waffle. When our waitress came to take our order, she revealed that they didn't have the pumpkin waffle and quickly asked if Amy would be interested in trying their new sweet potato waffle. I think I answered for her. I was nearly as excited about this waffle as I was for my own.

There seems to be a distinct lack of kitchen space at Omelette and Waffle Shop. Dishes are prepared and plated and then sort of placed hap-hazardly on any open counter space. It's a wonder the wait staff can keep it all sorted out. I did see some dishes sit for an uncomfortably long time, but I also heard no complaints while I was there. A fruit bowl sat for a good twenty minutes on the counter. It's a fruit bowl, so it's not like it would have gone bad or anything, it just struck me as odd.

I was really excited about the savory waffle. I've played around with cooking savory pancakes and found that experiment worthwhile. I was glad that this did not disappoint. It was delicious. My only critique would be that the cheese seemed to settle in certain areas and was missing completely from others. The jalapenos were very evenly dispersed and provided the right amount of kick--my nose started to run just a little bit.

Amy's sweet potato waffle was amazing. I could smell the cinnamon as it came to the counter. Everything about it was perfect, from the swirl of whipped cream to the sweetness of the waffle itself. It managed to stay on the breakfast side of the wall without jumping over into the dessert category.

Amy ordered a side of home fries, mostly so we could just try them. The potatoes are heaped up onto the griddle in large mounds and then chopped off and crisped. They were rather plain and ordinary, which was disappointing, considering this place doesn't seem to do anything else the ordinary way.

I ordered a side of biscuits and gravy, also basically just to try it. The gravy was good. It was made with chicken stock and was very smooth and creamy. Personally, I would have liked it a bit more peppery. The biscuit was unimpressive.

After we finished, we sat and jaw-jacked for awhile. Mona, the owner came by to ask what we thought. We raved about the waffles, especially the sweet potato. She revealed that that was a new recipe she had just come up with in order to have something to replace the pumpkin waffle. Apparently, there's a pumpkin shortage and she can't get a steady supply of pumpkin. (I was a little bit skeptical about the shortage story, but it's true.) We told her to add the sweet potato to the regular menu because it was just that good. She also revealed some other new recipes she was concocting. I'm most excited about the upcoming hominy waffle.

Can you guess that I'll be coming back? I really liked The Omelette and Waffle Shop. It's worth braving the poor air quality in San Pedro for the waffles...and presumably the omelettes. I'll try one of those next time just to be sure.

Food: Really Good.
Service: Decent.
Price: $6-$10
Pie: No.

Omelette and Waffle Shop
1103 S. Gaffey St.
Sand Pedro CA

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Dinerwood on the Road: Las Vegas! Sunshine Cafe

I love "real people" Vegas. Sin City I can take or leave, but the real thing is something special. It's rusty and sun faded and weird. Each year I've tried to make if farther and farther away from the casinos to see just what the regular people eat because I know only the tourists and the desperate hit the buffet at Binions.

This year I conned my friends Edwin and Skylar into coming with me on my breakfast adventure. I really had no idea how far it was from where we were staying and I got us lost. In my defense, Las Vegas messes with my sense of direction.

You know how casinos don't have windows or clocks so you don't have any idea how long you've been there, gambling away your pension? I think when I'm outside of a casino in Vegas I have a bizarro reaction to the heat and the sun and have no idea in what direction I am going. However, once I got my bearings, we found The Original Sunshine Cafe.

The desolation implied by the sign above the mini-mall which houses Sunshine Cafe, belies how adorable it is on the outside.

This adorability carries over into a delightful homey-ness on the inside. It looks a lot like a grandma's living room.

We overheard a lot of "Long time no see!" and "Oh, what's good this week?" from other patrons. Yep, this was definitely a locals' place.

While we waited to be waited on, we entertained ourselves with the trivial pursuit questions box on the table--I think each table had one. I'm really good at random trivia and so is Skylar. Edwin was bored by our nerdiness.

Our waitress really pushed the home breaded chicken-fried steak, which is not fried, but actually grilled. Either way, it sounded a bit heavy for 9am. I now kind of wish I had gotten it because it did sound pretty interesting.

Edwin had the Ham and Eggs with a waffle on the side. The waffle had a really nice malt flavor.

Skylar ordered the eggs and pancakes breakfast with a side of potatoes. Her pancakes were chewy, but otherwise good.

I got the pork chops and eggs breakfast special. The pork chops were tiny, but were very good. They were nice cuts of meat with very little fat. The eggs and the potatoes tasted fine. The biscuit was standard, but the gravy was really special. I would highly recommend that.

Overall, we agreed that the food was okay, but pretty much tasted exactly how it would had we made it at home. It was really nice getting out into real people Vegas, and with the friendly non-grift vibe, it certainly was a pleasant experience. I probably wouldn't go back there, but I wouldn't tell dissuade anyone else from going, either.

Food: Okay.
Service: Friendly.
Price: $5-$8
Pie: No.

Sunshine Cafe
1581 N Decatur Blvd

Las Vegas, NV 89108
(702) 646-4415

"Whipped Spread" sounds dirty.