"No matter what happens in the kitchen, never apologize." - Julia Child

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Friendly Toast

So... The Friendly Toast! At last I can sit and write about it for a few minutes. Apparently this place is legend in New Hampshire, where its original restaurant is, and they opened a few months ago near Kendall here in Cambridge (a handy 10 minute walk from my apartment). I've been meaning to go and finally just went this past Sunday to celebrate a friend's new job in Baltimore.

There were 6 of us waiting for a table on a Sunday at noon... which was a problem. We had to wait over an hour and a half to be seated, because not only was there a 20-top in the restaurant that just wouldn't leave, but the emo-hipster doofus host sort of forgot we were on the list and had to put us back on. I was feeling wary about the place, having read mixed reviews on Yelp (most of the bad ones indicating that the service was terrible), and also having to wait so long, so I had low expectations.

The service actually wasn't that bad once we got in there, just a touch slow because there were quite a few people still in there eating at 1:45 pm. I got an herb omelette that had roasted peppers and brie in it. It was big for an omelette, and pretty good... not too greasy, still a bit moist inside, and just a tad browned along one edge (I'm an egg slut and I tend to judge a place on its capacity, or lack thereof, to make good eggs). The home fries are sliced red potatoes with seasoning, not really super fried, which was nice because that keeps them from sinking like a rock in your gut. The coffee is expensive. $2.15 for a cup of non-fancy, regular old coffee is ridiculous, but at least you get refills. My friend got the black tea, which comes in a cute individual teapot and is brewed loose in a metal filter. It was filled with almonds and smelled delicious, so I might actually get that next time I go.

Most of us got an order of toast included with our meals, but of course my toast (cinnamon raisin) didn't come out with my meal because the waitress said that "the machine" (did she mean toaster, maybe?) was acting up. Or some such thing. And by this point I was nearly done my meal and said it really didn't matter, but she assured me it would be out soon, and it was.

And oh my, am I glad that I didn't forgo the toast, because it was easily the best part of my meal. A huge slice, thick as a pillow, swirled with cinnamon and covered in sweet, melty butter. It was like eating a lighter, fluffier cinnamon roll. Oh, so delicious. So delicious! Really, that toast saved the place for me. The interior has all this diner-y, kitschy design, but so much so that you feel like the place is trying too hard. And everyone who works there seems too cool for school, though our waitress was very nice.

But the toast! I will go back for more of the toast. I would literally just order toast at that place. Not even French toast. Just toast. Just bring me two slices of delicious toast and some tea and I'm set. MMMM.

So in closing: it's not a bad place to go, and the food is decent, if a tad expensive, but the toast is amazing! Don't go if you're in a rush to get seated; better luck might come later on a weekend (like after 1 pm, when the brunch rush seems to be dissipating) or even on a weekday or an evening. But at some point do go, if only for the toast.

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