I've never been one to hold a grudge. If someone makes me mad, causes me pain or inflicts damage upon my taste buds, I may fume and fester for a few minutes, but more often than not, I'm willing to give the foolhardy deviant a second chance. I may possess a seriously potent evil eye, but once I've released the anger out into the universe, I'm all happiness and light once again.
Approximately two months, Cici's Cafe in Tarzana was the source of a grave brunch time disappointment. At the time, I claimed that I would henceforth be exclusively committed to receiving my pancake-lovin' from my favorite brunchery, the Griddle Cafe. I knew that it was likely I might return to Cici's again, but I no longer felt enamored with the bustling Valley eatery like I did in the early months of our carbohydrate-fueled courtship.
This past Sunday, I planned to meet my dear friend Lauren for a long over-due brunch after my church service let out. Because Cici's is just down the street from her, and merely a 15 minute drive from my church, it was the logical choice for our reunion. I set aside my ill-conceived feelings about the inadequate Pink Lady pancakes I received on my last visit, and made the very adult decision to let bygones be bygones.
When I pulled up to the popular restaurant on Sunday, I was dismayed to find that it was oozing impatient couples and families who were all waiting for tables. My stomach lurched with hunger and irritation. This did not bode well for the future state of my Cici's relationship. I may have a forgiving soul, but when my belly is empty, a lion comes out!
Fortunately, my prescient friend knew that a weekend brunch at Cici's inevitably means nerve-rankling crowds, so had arrived early to put our name in. We were escorted to our table within 15 minutes of my arrival on the premises (a 45-minute wait for her), and as I settled into my seat, the lion momentarily went back into his cage. I knew what I was getting before I even opened the multi-page menu. From past quizzes with the Cici's servers regarding the best items, I had learned that the pumpkin pancakes are a major hit with both the staff and clientele. I eagerly selected a short stack of the "Bewitched" pancakes that includes two pumpkin cakes topped with baked apples and walnuts. With a side order of scrambled eggs and a pot of Mighty Leaf white peach tea, I was all set for my redemption brunch.
Though the service was rushed due to the aforementioned hungry/impatient crowds, my "Bewitched" pancakes rekindled the dying flame in my previously broken heart. The spicy buttermilk cakes were fluffy bites of carbohydrate nirvana -- especially paired with the baked apples and crunchy walnuts. Because the apples were simply prepared without much (if any) sugar, they didn't overwhelm or compete with the flavor of my pumpkin-spiced cakes. The flavors all complimented each other perfectly, and by the end of the meal, the lion in my belly was purring like my roommate's cat Rocco (he's a charmer).
Heading out into the blustery fall air that afternoon, my heart was warmed with the renewal of Cici's and my relationship. The road ahead may be a bumpy one-- perhaps one that is lined with "Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!" -- but those bewitching pancakes have bedazzled my heart once again.