This week’s breakfast at Mickey’s Roadside Cafe in Enfield, NH (link plays music… sorry) was the opposite of last week’s experience: good food and bad service.
For a moment I want to rant about the new maps in iOS6. I am an “eager upgrader”-I sit at my computer obsessively pressing reload until I can get the latest iOS updates AS SOON AS they are made available. I really like the feeling of having a shared experience with other people across the world where we all are downloading and installing the same piece of software. The point being – Like other iOS users, I am finding the world around me is a new place, when seen through the eyes of the map software on my phone. Now, my phone will talk to me and tell me where to go, but I no longer have any confidence that where I’m directed reflects realty. It was my quick wits that kept me from going the wrong way down a one-way street in Hanover, and I still can’t convince the map software that our home address is anywhere near proximate to our physical location.
Back to breakfast…
We got in the car and made an attempt to goto Enfield, NH, about 10 miles southeast of Hanover, to a place called Mickey’s Roadside Cafe. It had received good ratings from the Yelpers, and we had got a good review from a former waitress while in line at The Fort last week. Phone navigation was failing us, so we resorted to old-fashioned maps to get to Enfield.
We didn’t have to wait for a table to eat breakfast at 9:30 on Sunday morning. This can say either good or bad things about a restaurant. Too many people means breakfast is likely to be good, but very rushed. Too few people means breakfast may be new to the restaurant or downright bad. Or, it means the Packers are playing at 10am and nobody wants to watch at a restaurant that doesn’t serve alcohol. Sam and I try a bunch of different times to eat at a restaurant until we find the ideal time where we can sneak into a table or first-come-first-serve counter space, then watch from our vantage while all of the less-experienced and knowledgeable customers arrive on the hour or the half and wait in line for tables. While not waiting for breakfast at Mickey’s Roadside Cafe was a plus, we didn’t get the feeling of moral superiority for being able to get to the restaurant at the perfect time to avoid a crowd. (Hubbard ave Diner in Middleton. Either 8:25 or 8:50am. Lazy Janes: be in line when they open at 9:30.)
Since the Patriots (no comment) weren’t playing until 4, I suspect breakfast was new to this restaurant, because the food was pretty darn good. Sam had hash and eggs with homefries and sourdough toast. He was quiet while eating, so that meant it was good. The potatoes needed a bit more cooking from my vantage point. I got to have “redneck benedict” – english muffin, sausage patty, poached egg with sausage gravy – with a side of tater tots. The gravy was good. It was peppery and had small pieces of sausage, and was made with milk. I was very happy. With tater tots.
The service, on the other hand, was mediocre. Sunday breakfast servers (and Saturday too) need to act as if they are just as desperate and hungry as the patrons. Stopping to drink coffee, to nibble a piece of toast, to chit-chat with other staff – these are all the actions of the fed and caffeinated. Breakfast patrons DESPISE the fed and caffeinated until they themselves are fed and caffeinated. Waitresses should be efficient and expedient, not ask unnecessary questions, and deliver caffeine as soon, or before, butts hit the seats. I really feel for Sunday breakfast wait staff and I always tip well, even for bad service. Their job is hard. They must ease the transition from hungered to fed, and to navigate a slew of breakfast option questions that are unheard of in other meals. (How would you like your eggs: scrambled, poached, sunny side up, over easy, over hard, egg beaters, hard-boiled, coddled? What type of toast: white, wheat, rye, sourdough, cinnamon raisin? Potatoes: homefries, hashbrowns, mashed, tater tots, fries?)
The service at Mickey’s Roadside Cafe made two sins: they made people wait for caffeine (including Sam and I and the table across from us) and they chit-chatted among themselves while sipping coffee. I hate to damn someone for such minor sins, but at the time, I was HUNGRY, so minor things get exaggerated. In retrospect, the service was on-par with a restaurant that doesn’t often serve breakfast beginning to serve breakfast. The wait staff have yet to develop the ESP necessary to be good at breakfast. By the end, though Sam and I were both well-fed and didn’t feel rushed. The bill was $23 and some change, right on par with our expectations for what we “should” pay for breakfast.
We’re quickly running out of affordable ($$) breakfast joints, so we’ll be moving onto the more pricy options in the next few weeks. I’m sure there will be a carving station and lobster at breakfast in the upcoming weeks. We’ll see…