9 stars: January 30, 2010.
Prairie Ink Restaurant and Bakery.
1120 Grant Avenue (in McNally Robinson)
Breakfast Special – $14.43 after potatoes (which are extra), coffee & taxes
I love McNally Robinson, so it was funny that I’d never eaten at Prairie Ink before. I’d had their coffee and cake, but never brekkie. Well, evidently there has been some missing out.
The décor is a bit pretentious with faces of authors lining the walls watching you eat, and tiny little tables, but it was pleasant. As pretentious décor goes, this was the least grating.
The menu seemed suited for carb-watchers as potatoes were an optional side instead of a mainstay. The special was $8.75 without coffee or potatoes. It was potatoes, coffee and chorizo sausage for me.
The other meat options were back or side bacon. The toast came in French, multigrain or rye.
First off, the coffee was fantastic. Strong and tasty, it rung our bells which few places manage to do.
The chorizo sausage was a bit funny – I’ve seen it come in many different forms and while this one was tasty, it seemed a bit more like pepperoni.
The potatoes came in wedges which was interesting. They were very tasty as they had some seasoning on them. I chose the French bread which was thick and super dense. They serve the toast dry (another aspect of their nutrition sympathy) but give butter balls on the side. I usually don’t like to butter my own toast simply because by the time it reaches my table it might not be warm enough to melt. That wasn’t the case, fortunately. I buttered it up like it was a cob of corn.
Instead of jam packets from Kraft, Prairie Ink gave us little cups of home-made jam. Our batch was very saucy, leading us to call it compote rather than jam, but jam is what they said. Regardless, the raspberry spread was tasty and the fact that it wasn’t full of pectin made me happy.
The eggs had super dark-orange yolks, leading me to believe they’re Omega-3 eggs. (Good thing too, I felt a little low on Omega that day.) They were fried on a hot grill, making it so some of the white was flash-cooked, leaving it thin and transparent. Egg windows, as we call them.
They had Frank’s hot sauce to top it off, which I adore, and a fruit cup to please the palate. The fruit cup was as fruit cups are in January – devoid of freshness; passable. Melon, cantaloupe, pineapple and grapes – a nice way to finish a meal.
So, Prairie Ink is more expensive than your average greasy diner, but the quality is apparent. Prairie Ink is owned by McNally, so you also get the satisfaction of supporting local business. Don’t forget to wear a turtleneck and snap yo fingers beatniks!
Bonus Omelette review by Chantal Guénette
Prairie Ink: Ham, mushroom, chorizo sausage & cheese omelette
Bouquet: You got to choose any two fillings from the following: Julienned smoked ham – mushrooms – blend of mozza, cheddar & swiss cheese – chorizo sausage – spinach – onion & sweet pepper – tomato – crisp bacon – scallions. I splurged and got 4 fillings because I was curious about the chorizo sausage (they kind of tasted like Hot Rods). Everything was delicious and to top it off, they had Frank’s hot sauce!
Boeuf: I have no beef to report. It was a perfect omelette!