Over Easy Cafe: May 18, 2008

Two words: Bendy. Straws.
Bendy straws say a lot about the spirit of Over Easy Cafe. It says they take nothing too seriously. They're all about being playful, but they still get the job done. (Unlike swirly, curly straws...too much time and effort involved getting that liquid to your mouth, if you ask me.)

I strolled over solo to this bustling Ravenswood joint on a chilly May morning (grr) with a tote bag full of magazines I needed to catch up on. I fully expected to spend at least an hour outside, reading, enjoying free cups of Julius Meinl coffee and listening to the street musician who'd set up camp next door.
But ah, the joys of dining alone: I walked in, held up one finger and was immediately seated at the brightly lit breakfast bar. Score.
The restaurant itself has all the trappings of a Chicago brunch hotspot. Exposed brick, mirrors on the wall to make the interior seem bigger, tables practically on top of each other, multidecibel sound rating, servers tripping over themselves.
I was handed two menus when I sat down, one with loose-leaf tea choices and the other with my food and beverage choices. I settled on a "freckled" orange juice (plain ol' OJ blended with strawberry puree), a bottomless cup of coffee, blackeye French toast and a side order of bacon. I knew it would be too much food, but honestly, I see the word Applewood and simply cannot resist.
The French toast was fresh blackberries and an orange cream with the consistency of pudding (Jesus) sandwiched between two slices of French toast. With some sort of orange marmalade reduction-y type syrup. And whipped cream. And orange zest. The bacon was delicious, though bacon's pretty tough to screw up. I am sad to report, however, that the French toast looked much prettier than it tasted. Give me plain ol' Victory's Banner French toast any day. Or my mom's. Man, I miss her cooking. Umm.
The best part of being at Over Easy by myself was the opportunity to converse with strangers. It's the best part of life in Chicago, really, if you're me. I was seated next to a lovely redhead named Samantha who'd just moved into the neighborhood. We talked about jobs, plants, suburban work and city life, and I pimped Yelp as I always do.
Meeting another like-minded local resident made me so happy that I wayyyyyy overtipped and practically skipped out of the restaurant. So though I would give the place four stars for my particular experience, I can't offer it much more than two for food and overall specialtude. So three it is.
That's not to say I won't be back, though...