Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Review: Comfort Cafe, Silverlake

I watch the Food Network. I'm just gonna put that out there because I know that there are quite a few food bloggers that absolutely will not partake in anything Food Network related. Although I do agree that the network has increasingly filled it's slots with no-brainer, lets-make-it-as-easy-as-possible cooking shows, I do have a soft spot in my heart for the place where I first discovered Anthony Bourdain and still see Barefoot Contessa regularly. I really believe that a lot of what I know in the kitchen is learned subliminally while having the Food Network on when talking on the phone, cleaning the house or working out. I have no doubt that my ability to cut basil into chiffonade or poke an egg before boiling to keep the yolk in the center came from watching Giada, Tyler, Bobby and Alton perform those tasks numerous times. Now, a girl does have her standards and my finger will quickly change the channel if I even hear one syllable of Rachel Ray's annoying squeal or Sandra Lee's yammering about "tablescapes." But from the shows I do watch, I can't deny it- The Food Network has made me a better cook.

One of the Food Network's newer shows is The Next Food Network Star, a realty competition where the grand prize is your very own show on the network. I didn't pay much attention to it the first season, but my curiosity got the best of me this year and I eventually got hooked. I have to admit, I was pulling for the eventual winner, Guy Fieri, from the get-go. He was energetic, fun and knew how to cook. I mean, he isn't exactly a gourmand but they guy can throw down in the kitchen. Since half of the contestants had never filleted a fish before, it was nice to see someone who actually had skills. Speaking of a show where no one can cook, has anyone been watching Hell's Kitchen? Pullleeze. Hells' Kitchen, you are NO Top Chef. Anyway, back to topic. Guy won the competition and now has his own show, Guy's Big Bite, while the runner up, Reggie, went back to his job as a pastry chef for Comfort Cafe, located in Silverlake. Since I live near Silverlake, I made a mental note to give Comfort Cafe a try one day. I'm no star stalker, but I did get to genuinely like Reggie and all of his "sassy" comments. Also, being a food lover, I had high hopes that Comfort Cafe would become a regular breakfast destination.

J and I went a couple of weekends ago, and alas- we didn't see Reggie who must have had the day off. The space was so cute with little embroidered chairs and etching on the walls. J and I stood at the counter perusing the large menu and finally decided on a southwestern-style omelet made w/ egg whites and a veggie platter. The veggie platter said "brown rice served with your choice of two salads." The case had several different kinds of brightly colored offerings and J chose the beets and the roasted vegetables. We got our iced coffee and iced tea and chose a table by the door.

Bland omelet with bland salsa. The toast was pretty good though.

My iced coffee was nice and strong but J's iced tea was infused with so much cinnamon that he took it back. Some people might like spiced tea but J isn't one of them and the menu made no mention that it was anything other than plain. Luckily the counter guy was very accommodating when J asked to order a juice instead. Shortly thereafter, we got our food. Mine looked fine but once again- J's plate had the beets, the roasted veggies and some greens. No rice in sight. When we asked the waitress, she seemed extremely confused so we reminded her that the menu said it was brown rice + 2 salads. She said "Oh....right....well a lot of people don't even want the rice, they only want the salads so that's why I got confused. I can take the beets off the plate and replace it with the rice if you like." Um, hello? After further explanation from us she finally "got it" and brought a side of the brown rice.

Bland veggie platter, sans rice.

The verdict? Bland bland bland. I know that an egg white omelet is annoyingly healthy but does it mean that it can't be properly seasoned? Even the accompanying salsa was tasteless. The same can be said for every single thing on J's plate except for the roasted vegetables which were good. We had to liberally salt and pepper everything to get some flavor. It's one of those times where you kick yourself for not just staying at home and making your own darned omelet- at least you would have added salt! I know this sounds simplistic but I hate paying money for mediocre food that you could have made yourself. Of course I have no one to blame but myself for being too lazy to do so on a Sunday morning! By the end of our meal, we were too defeated to even try one of Reggie's gigantic cookies which, I must admit, looked scrumptious.

The missing rice. Looks tasty, no? It didn't taste, actually.

Overall, it wasn't an awful experience. The staff is so friendly, the place is adorable and the food LOOKS great in the glass case but that makes the lack of flavor even more disappointing. I may go back for another try after a month or so, but with so many breakfast and brunch options in Los Angeles, I don't know if I want to bother.

Comfort Cafe
2520 Hyperion Avenue
Los Angeles, CA


carlyn said...

hmmm...everything looks good, too bad it didn't taste the same....
Well, you had a nice time out and about...I'm a slug on Sunday. I just mull around, read the paper, and dread the coming work week...ha ha

Santos said...

bland food and sloppy service is such a disappointment. i have to say that even though i sort of liked reggie, i really didn't find anything appealing about any of the food he cooked, so really never wanted to visit comfort café. now i really don't have a reason to trek out there.

Jonah said...

I am with you on the Hell's Kitchen opinion. That show is unwatchable. We tried, but the other night we actually deleted it from the TiVo permanently. Oh Top Chef, when will you return?