Café Selmarie

I have been a woman of forgiveness lately. An embracer of second, even third chances. And so, deciding to save a fancier brunch place for better company in the coming weeks, I headed up to Cafe Selmarie this morning to offer it one last opportunity to impress me after some initial bad luck.My wait at 10:30 was only about 15 minutes, which surprised me on such a beautiful late summer weekend. The hostess, who referred to me by name every time she addressed me (big points!), thanked me for waiting and led me to my table outside, overlooking Lincoln Square's Giddings Plaza, the epicenter of my Maclaren-pushing, NPR-listening, LL Bean-wearing neighborhood. My server, Jim, was lovely to behold and gave me plenty of time to peruse the menu before I ordered. By the time he returned with my coffee and mimosa -- with a splash of Triple Sec, garnished with a fresh strawberry -- I was ready to bite the bullet and order my chocolate banana griddle cakes. Jim assured me it was OK to indulge; it was Sunday, after all. Yes, good boy. To put this lightly, my meal made me rethink all my grievances with Selmarie. Thick and perfectly cooked, studded with miniature chocolate chips and topped with perfectly ripe, fresh-sliced bananas. Smothered in hot melted semi-sweet chocolate. Sweet Jesus, those pancakes could have ended a war. I...couldn't stop eating. The clinking of silverware, the sounds of shrieking children playing outside the restaurant's patio faded away. Just me and the pancakes. I caught a couple across the patio looking at me intently for a moment; I smiled and went back to eating. They apologized for intruding and told me they knew exactly what they'd be ordering next time they came -- the happiness on my face was a living advertisement for whatever it was I'd ordered, they said. "It's crrrrrrrazy good!" I replied. And went back to it. Jim checked up on me a few times throughout the meal. He even brought me some extra bananas to garnish what was left of my pancakes. I wanted to take him home with me for spoiling me so. My self control got the best of me, and I stopped with a few bites left. The melted chocolate had congealed over what remained of the pancakes, and I was ready to keel over and die anyway. I lazily finished my coffee and mimosa, basking with my book in a brunchy afterglow and never feeling rushed to give up my table. This is what Sundays are all about.