Our trip to the Capri began badly. We were to meet two cohorts at 9 a.m. at the restaurant. We woke up at 9:04. After a period of profrane-laden psycho-babble, we managed to make it to this well-established downtown eatery only a half hour late. Sloth was our sin, but our friends—known from now on and ever after as The Reverend and Saint Jane—had waited. A godsend, these two.
The first thing I tend to notice about breakfast places of any worth is the smell. If it smells too clean, too perfumy, or too curio-shoppy, I get an immediate bad feeling. The Capri smelled like a well-greased breakfast joint. Bacon and toast, with hints of coffee and Naugahyde. A good start. Sound, too, is important, and should consist of low-octave mumbling sounds, the clink of silverware on plates, the rustle of newspaper pages. Again, the Capri came through. If you pay attention to ambiance, you practically know what to expect before eating. I knew, four seconds in the door, that all would be fine. And so it was.
The Capri menu has my four favorite words printed right at the top: breakfast served all day. From there, it just gets better. Egg breakfasts (is there another kind?) offer the one or two egg beginning, hash browns and toast, then a plethora of meat additions to meet every meat eater's needs—bacon, sausage, ham, ground beef, corned beef hash, chicken fried steak, steak or pork chops. The rest of the breakfast menu works its way through the benedicts, the French toasts, biscuits and gravy, omelets, hotcakes, waffles and about two-dozen side orders (including Egg Beaters). The Rev had already ordered a homemade cinnamon roll prior to our arrival (an upstanding and professional consumer, the Rev) and noted that, while a bit dry, the generous size and sweet frosting (he was practically describing himself) made it a good choice.
We ordered and started some good breakfast conversation that began with yard and house work and ended with a discussion of the American worker frenzy versus Eastern European cafe culture (where it is not uncustomary to sit and spend a few easy hours sipping an espresso while the world goes by). I had only been awake for 39 minutes, and was feeling a tad anti-American, so I was glad our meals arrived so quickly after we ordered.
The Capri offers good-sized helpings. The Rev's eyes grew big at the sight of his bulging Meat Lovers omelet. Bacon, sausage, ham and cheese literally packed to overflowing into a three-egg omelet. My dining companion, face still pillow-creased, worked her way through the sourdough French toast, which she proclaimed delicious and filling. Saint Jane and I both had a morning hankering for corned beef (which, lamentably, seems to be working its way off of many breakfast menus—for shame). The helping of corned beef was ample, and St. J. also noted with pleasure that the whole admixture had not been blended into a kind of beef paste as sometimes happens. This corned beef came with recognizable chunks. I poured a generous side order of gravy over my hash browns, excited to find actual pieces of sausage in the gravy. I might live here, I thought.
The Capri's lunch and dinner menu is chock full of sandwiches, burgers and "Super" burgers. If the Rev and St. Jane accept penance for our sloth, we'll be back at the Capri some afternoon—after we've had our sleep.
—Chuck McHenry knows corn, from corns, from corned beef.