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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Grapevine Cafe Revisited

My hubby and I wandered over to the island Sunday, a little before noon, looking for some breakfast/brunch.  We were low on funds and looking pretty grubby...so needed something really casual.  I suggested we check out the renovations at Grapevine Cafe.  I hadn't been there since their renovations were completed... and I noticed it went through some fairly extensive work, both inside and out, over the late Fall and early Winter months.  So, off we went.

I must mention that going over the causeway Sunday morning was glorious to behold.  After days of frothy, choppy, muddy looking water...it was smooth and deep blue, without a cloud in the sky.  Just sunny and gorgeous.  I was in a great mood!

When we arrived, we both commented that the outside of the building looks really nice (it needed a face lift) and the inside was significantly different as well.  The addition of booths on the front and back walls, a move of the cash register counter to the same wall as the kitchen entrance are the most major changes.  Everything looked clean and fresh. 

It was PACKED.  Several large groups made it noisy and happy sounding.  The hubby and I wound our way back to a table for two by the window.  After all the cold gloomy weather, the sunshine beaming in the window felt wonderful.  Well, it did for me.  My husband rapidly became hot (as were some other customers who asked for the ceiling fans to be turned on) and he took it upon himself to close the blinds.  Oh well.

This was the first time I've ever been there that I didn't see the owner on site.  I heard other tables complaining about slow service, but our service was okay considering the crowd.  Our orders were taken within a reasonable time, our drinks served fairly quickly (although, I'll say it would have been considered slow if I had been waiting for my morning coffee :-p ).  One down side was their acquisition of a soda dispensing machine.  They used to serve a glass of ice and a can...I personally liked that.  Now, they only serve Pepsi products.  I am a Coke girl...I'm not a fan of Diet Pepsi.  My husband ordered just water.  They gave him a tiny little kid-size glass of water.  He's a big man.  That was irritating.  Strike two, folks!

For the first time ever, I could see into the kitchen through a glass door.  It looked hectic as you would expect a busy kitchen to look.  Things appeared clean from a  distance, and I didn't observe anything gross happening in the food preparation that was visible.  I really like being able to see into the kitchen.  There are a world of food preparation ills that can lurk behind the closed doors of a commercial kitchen...but not today that I could see.

My husband and I eagerly ordered the giant Texas-sized breakfast taco - both of us with eggs, bacon, and avocado.  They arrived in a reasonable amount of time.  The waitress bringing them to the table said the cook had over-toasted the tortillas, did we mind or did we want them re-done?  Personally, I like a little crispiness to the edge of my tortilla if it is griddled...as these are.  So, I told her mine was fine.  My husband just shrugged so she set them on the table.  The salsa on the side was really good, but was served in a very small little plastic cup. Before it came in a decent-sized plastic bowl. Today's serving wasn't enough for the huge breakfast taco.  When I opened the tortilla, I was really disappointed at the reduction in size.  The huge tortilla remains the same size as before, the price remains the same, but the inside portion was about half as much as previously provided in the order.  Where before, the avocado was beautifully presented on the top, this time it was mushed up under the eggs.  The bacon was in stringy strips...where before it was in bite sized pieces incorporated throughout the eggs.  The whole thing, with the over-cooked tortilla, went from an A-list breakfast taco, to a B- in both appearance and size...but still tasted "okay"...but that taste also moved to just okay because the mouth feel was not as awesome as before.  I was incredibly disappointed.

I hope it is just a new cook, getting used to a new kitchen, or something like that.  It doesn't mean we won't go back.  My son loves to go there when he comes for a visit, the husband and I generally find it in the top 3 on our breakfast list because of the good prices and old-school coffee shop atmosphere...so I hope they fix the snafus we encountered.  I don't consider $15 plus tip a good value for two breakfast tacos and one soda.  If it isn't "fixed", it will be sliding downwards on our breakfast list!

My final comment is on traffic flow.  There is no sign that says "please seat yourself" and there is no one waiting by the door.  Waitstaff is busy.  I noticed two groups just standing there and tables were available in the back.  No one said anything to them.  When we first started going there, we didn't know to just sit anywhere.  Now we do.  It's still a problem though.  Also, the new traffic flow is not an improvement.  You have to wind through tables filled with people to pay...there is no path to the cash register.  Since you don't pay at your table, and there was a line at the cash register, I found myself standing directly behind some people's chairs...as a customer, that would have been irritating to me if I was in the chair!  Just sayin'.

Anyone else having feedback on their visits to Grapevine since the renovation, please leave a comment...I'd like to hear what you have to say!

Bon Appetit, Y'all!!!

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