Monday, March 07, 2005

Cup 103: Monday Breakfast at the Friendship

Where: The Friendship Café, Portland, ME
When: 10 am, March 7, 2005
Who: Jessica Brakeley
Coffee: unknown
Mood: relaxed

In 1998, Portland, Maine had the highest per capita of both lawyers and restaurants in the USA. I don't know if this still holds true, but I do know that Portland has one heck of a lot of places to dine. That's one thing I miss most about Portland. What I don't get, though, is why everything is closed on Monday. Our first choice for breakfast was The Porthole, currently my favorite breakfast spot in the city. The Porthole is out on a wharf and the walk to the front door is skanky, filthy and has an air of danger... or is that just rotting fish? The Porthole used to be a depressing mediocre diner, but it is now under new management and has new cooks. You can actually get an omelette with brie and portabello mushrooms there. The food and service are consistantly great, but the city doesn't seem to have discovered how much the place has changed, so you can usually get a table without a wait. Just not on Mondays.

Fortunately, The Friendship Café is open Mondays. The Friendship is a great restaurant on Congress, but I always forget about it since it is past all the useful things on Congress. I do it a disservice. The Friendship has never let me down. The food is always good, and they seem to want to make the "Friendship" part mean something. At least, the waitresses seem to be a degree friendlier than most other restaurants, a genuine friendly, not the "I'm being nice to get a better tip," friendly. The Friendship is a clean, well-lighted place, always bright and cheerful, even in this winter's bitter cold dreariness. Today's breakfast was an asparagus omelette with green coconut curry sauce. I never would have thought to make anything like it, so it was an exotic twist to an old standard. I think the chef might have felt a little insecure about it, because I heard the waitress saying to her, "He really likes the omelette a whole lot." Props to the waitress for knowing the vanishing art of proper coffee timing. Too often, and you're an interrupting nuisance. Not often enough, and the diner winds up drinking cold dregs. You have to be able to sense when there's about half a cup left, and be there to refil it. This keeps the coffee at optimum drinking temperature throughout the meal.

Today is a grand day in Portland because Jessie and I have nowhere to be, no plans to do anything but wander around and spend money and do the touristy thing in a city we both used to live in.

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