Irene's Cafe. It's a Tower anomaly. They've been there for years. Closing long before theres anything resembling a bar rush. Their prices are high and the menu isn't exactly what I'd call imaginative. And yet, Irene's has withstood the fickle eddies of time to remain open much longer than their original forebears Cafe Intermezzo.
And so we flash to an extremely hungover Sunday morning. It is suggested that we might offset the damage we've done to ourselves last night with a nice breakfast. When Irene's is suggested, I'm intrigued. I've been back in town for over 7 years now. And not one single thinking human I know has suggested such a thing. I was to learn that there are traditions for sound reasons.
As we arrive on the patio, my culinary spidey sense began to tingle. There is nothing "wrong" per se. Just an instinctual tingle this this breakfast isn't going to be the simple and yummy affair I'm hoping for. So we're greeted by our server, drink orders taken and promptly served. My hope meter is rising. Maybe I'm just a curmudgeonly grump who is improperly transposing his wounded liver's feelings on the day.
Looking through the menu, its everything I've seen on 100 different menus. Nothing interesting. Nothing unique. Well crap. But the last good breakfast we went out to together, I had a nice avocado eggs benedict. Know that a proper hollandaise sauce is a pain to make, not to mention the difficult of properly poaching eggs. I figure that this should be a nice challenge to test Irene's with. Afterall, it's on their menu, so it can't be that tough for them. Right?
And this friends, is why one should always listen to one's culinary spidey sense. Grinning in anticipation of the buttery, eggy goodness. Our lovely server hands out the plates. Quick taste of the hollandaise. Bottled. Bottled or just made wrong and then held for too long, its chunky and half broken. But hey, this stuff is hard to make, right? At least a nicely poached...hmmm. Last I checked, the poached egg's yoke isn't supposed to come out in one piece on your fork.
I don't know about you guys. But when I'm at a restaurant and I've ordered, it's like Christmas to me. Better than Christmas, since I get to explain exactly what I want. I wait in my seat like a child pretends to be fast asleep on Christmas Eve. Every exit from the kitchen like the prancing of 8 tiny reindeer on the roof, just hoping that the slender elf in the apron is coming to my table with holiday cheer. And when it arrives, you open up your kitchen given gift with your knife and fork. Only to find that Santa fucked up. BIG TIME. You told that jolly fat fucker exactly what you wanted. But no, you don't get what you had your heart set on. What you have spent the last 15-30 minutes fantasizing about. Just imagining you and your dish, hugging and giggling in a sunlit field of daisies. Only to have your idyllic scene snatched away by the hairy knuckled fist of a lazy cook or an inattentive server. Your meal has been soiled by unwashed lackeys who could care less for what you two were to share. They just want you in and out and paying for the heartbreak.
I am now, officially viewing these eggs benedict as if they had cheated on me at another table. Explaining how these poorly prepared ingredients were no longer fitting for my fantasy, I ask the kind and competent server to explain what poaching is to her compatriots in the back of the house. Slightly befuddled at my calling my breakfast a trollop, she promises to return with a rehabilitated, non-whore plate. Alas, I am skeptical.
Soiled doves, never again soar. And so it is with poached eggs in a befuddled kitchen. Same bottled sauce. Stab fork into cheating heart of the eggs....well, I can say this for certain. If one wanted to hide spit in someone's food. Hiding it in clear, raw, runny egg whites would be great camoflage. This leads to much more imaginative pictures running through my mind of other fluids that may be emitted by a cheating ex.
Yup, there goes my appetite.
Embarassed, as all cuckolds are, I sheepishly explain to our server that breakfast has not (much to my chagrin) changed her ways and that I'm breaking up with eggs benedict. She offers me her apologies for hooking us up. I tell her that it was probably all me, as my tablemates are having very functional relationships with their breakfasts.
But hey, at least I've still got that magic memory of a one-morning stand at Gilly's with those gorgeous avocado eggs benedict. Everything about her was fresh, warm and yielding. From her moist and slightly toasted english muffin, to her lightly smoked and fried pork loin. Ripe and velvety avocado. And her egg, oh LORDY her eggs. You can't pay money for eggs like this. These eggs are a product of God's artistry and good breeding. Tenderly cared for. Done to perfection. The outsides firm, but fluffy. Their golden centers, molten with loving sunshine. And lastly, she is draped in a blanket of pastel yellow. Creamy, hot, with an astounding bite of butter than melds into all of her flavors.
That, my dear Irene's eggs benedict, is how you please a man!