Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Jack 'N Jill's: Is the pail half empty or half full?

I fancy myself a bit of an optimist. I like smiling, always truly believe that the perfect parking space will be open when I arrive at my destination, and I wear loads of bright colors like pink and orange and yellow. My glass isn't just half-full, it's half-brimming -- preferrably with iced green tea like the subtle, slightly minty (it comes with a mint leaf) variety offered at Jack 'N Jill's, the popular Beverly Hills lunching and brunching eatery on Beverly Drive.

Minty Green Iced Tea

Despite my inclination to blanket the world with kindness and love, my sunny disposition can only extend so far. When my optimism and high expectations come colliding with the big bad bullies, disappointment and suckiness, I just can't keep my smile from evening itself out. Or worse, doing that horrid upside down trick!

This past Sunday, during brunch at Jack 'N Jills, the frown came out from hiding for a few brief moments. And not just on my face. On my friend's too! Though that wasn't so shocking. He's a little more pessimistic than me, wears darker colors and tends to give nasty looks to people who try to get him to sign petitions on the street. (Okay, maybe I do that too. It's so obnoxious!)

As big fans of brunch, my friend and I had high expectations for the morning fare at Jack 'N Jill's. Particularly when presented with so many appetizing choices on their lengthy menu. Cinnamon roll french toast, a scramble with goat cheese and sun dried tomatoes, and chocolate chip pecan pancakes beckoned me with promises of tongue satisfaction. I blinked in confusion, blinded by hunger and the light from my aura, and suddenly found my savor: Rob's Big Combo, a $12.95 breakfast steal of a deal that included two pancakes of my choice, three eggs any style and my choice of meat. I settled on the Savannah Strawberry Oatmeal Pancakes, scrambled eggs and bacon that I promised to my counterpart who was only ordering the Blueberry Belgium Waffle. (I know, so generous of me! Don't tell him that it was only because I'm pretending to watch my girlish figure. I may be an optimist, but I still don't really like to share my food!)

I was super excited for my big old plate of Mister Savory Eggs and Miss Sweet Strawberry Oatmeal Cakes. I love fruit, I love pancakes and I love scrambled eggs! Could my smile be any bigger or wider or more Cameron Diaz-like? Maybe. If the food hadn't taken a few more minutes than necessary to get to our table, and maybe if the STRAWBERRY oatmeal pancakes had come with more than the three measly slices of strawberry that were most certainly NOT heaped on top of my fluffy cakes. Hey, Jack, hey, Jill? Just what exactly happened on that hill? Me thinks that somebody dropped the pail... of strawberries.

Rob's Big Combo - Strawberry Oatmeal Pancakes, Scrambled Eggs, Bacon

When our waitress returned to check on us, I asked her if the pancakes typically come with more strawberries. She shook her head and responded, "No, that's all we usually do. Do you want me to bring you more?" I nodded eagerly (after discovering she would bring them without charging me extra), and immediately felt my frown start to turn back up into its usual happy shape. I dug into my breakfast and delighted in my thick, seriously oaty cakes that made me think I was being healthy, and the perfectly cooked scrambled eggs. I even thought the half piece of bacon I tried was a decent chew of pork. And the real maple syrup? A superb way to de-nutritionize my fabulous oatified pancakes. Things were looking up. The birds were singing! My stomach was purring!

Blueberry Belgium Waffle

And then I noticed it. My friend was not making yummy noises. He wasn't rubbing his belly. And he most certainly was not turning down my offers for bites of my indulgently proportioned pancakes. I paused, mid-smile. "How is yours?" His face remained stoic. "Eh. It's okay." I frowned. It didn't sound "okay." It didn't sound "okay" at all! Especially when he told me that it was soggy and devoid of blueberries embedded in the batter. Jack and Jill seemed to have dropped the pail again. Don't they know that waffles are supposed to be crispy on the outside and soft and doughy on the inside?

When the check came, complete with tootsie pops that neither my friend and I took, I couldn't help but notice that the level of green tea in my glass was not quite brimming any more (and not because I'm a thirsty girl). I enjoyed my Rob's Big Combo, but did not like the disappointment I felt when I saw the single strawberry that graced the top of my plump pancakes. And while it was overall a pleasurable meal once I got the proper amount of strawberries to allow for my bites to have both carb and fruit in tow, I struggled to get past the almost frown on my friend's face. Mister Jack and Miss Jill need to bring down the water that they went up the hill to fetch. A promise for water does not mean presenting the thirsty parties with a half-empty pail. A promise for a golden Blueberry Belgium Waffle does not mean presenting a hungry patron with a soggy, under-blueberried waffle. And a promise for strawberries means a mountain of berries -- or at the very least, enough to keep the integrity of my smile intact.

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laurmm said...
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