>My visit to The East Lake Cafe
>Sunday, after learning that my newest favorite restaurant was no longer in business, I had to find a new restaurant for breakfast. My stomach was rumbling, my daughter was starving, and my boyfriend had a suggestion. He suggested the East Lake Cafe. It was close to where we were, so we stopped in.
We walked in the door and were seated promptly. The restaurant was clean and comfortable. Not long after we were seated we ordered our drinks. We ordered coffee and my daughter ordered Apple juice. I did not try the juice my self, but I was assured it was good. Our coffee arrived, and though we loved the large colorful mugs, the coffee was very watery.
I ordered the The Cafes Southern Special which includes eggs, 1 biscuit & gravy, grits, and sausage patties. I ate the sausage patties first and they were good. They were juicy and what you would expect in a sausage patty. I then ate the biscuits and gravy.
I should probably note that I have been making biscuits and gravy for a long time. I make it about 3 times a month and it’s one of my favorite breakfast dishes. I think it’s usually incredibly flavorful. When I received the biscuits and gravy from the kitchen it was lukewarm and completely devoid of any meat flavor. It was actually slightly sweet. I found that really confusing. The “meat” itself could actually be mistaken for sawdust because the pieces are so incredibly tiny. The biscuit was a very dense flavorless lump. I ate half of it and gave up. It was very disapointing.
A note about the grits. I never order grits in restaurants. I’m a real Southern girl and the majority of the grits I have eaten were made by my Grandma, who could outcook Emeril in my book any day of the week. Her grits are cooked through and are soft and creamy in your mouth. No matter where I have ordered them outside of her house they are hard, gritty, and raw. This restaurant was the exact same, but I beg you to not hold that against them since nearly every restaurant in the area makes them the exact same way (unfortunately.)
My daughter got a waffle which she actually devoured. I am going to assume she liked it because getting her to eat anything is generally a giant pain and a long process and she finished before I did.
The plates were garnished with a large leaf of something that I am assuming is parsely and an orange slice. We gave my daughter the oranges and after one bite she refused to eat them. Since oranges are one of her favorite foods I became curious and took a bite. It was very sour. I am of the opinion that nothing should ever go on a plate that is not expressly meant to be eaten. The food should speak for itself.
Bob got the Traditional – Canadian bacon – Eggs Benedict. He said that it was very bland and had very little flavor.
We found ourselves saying at the same time that we were off the opinion that very little, if anything other than the eggs, were cooked here. The kitchen is silent. There is no rushing of hot food. There are no clanging pans in the kitchen. It really was confusing as they have a sign in front that claims that they are they best in Palm Harbor.
Their website makes the claim that “All of our selections are made to order with the finest ingredients & the greatest of care, and trans fat free! Your patience is appreciated!” However, there was about 4 minutes between the time we ordered and the time that we recieved our food. I would argue that the previous statement is blatantly untrue.
The one bright spot in this trip was the service. Every staff member keeps a watchful eye on your table and they are quick with coffee refills and anything else you might need. I feel terrible about what I have written because I felt that the staff worked hard and were genuinely kind, but the food was not acceptable.