332 N. Spokane Falls Ct. * 455-6690
Sometimes girls get hungry. This time, we decided there would be no delicate pastries or lifted-pinkie china cups for us -- we sturdy Northwest women want substantial yet comfortable morning fare. And the Chalet is a great source for comfort food. It's one of the few true old-time neighborhood joints left. The breakfast menu at the Chalet encompasses just about everything anyone could want in the morning: egg combos with your choice of eight different meat options, pancakes, French toast and waffles (gussied up or minimalist), omelets and even eggs Benedict (traditional or Chalet-style, with white sauce instead of hollandaise). With meals like these, we'll keep on truckin'! -- AC
Buckwheat Pancake Combo
Nothing says stick-to-your-ribs like a stack of three buckwheat pancakes, served here with an egg and a couple of bacon strips. For sheer quantity, it doesn't match the other two entrees, but the buckwheat cakes add a certain gravitas. While heartier than standard buttermilk pancakes, these dinner-plate-sized discs keep the fluffy consistency of their lighter cousins while giving me the illusion, at least, of high-fiber healthiness. I order the egg over medium -- an order that flummoxes many cooks -- and it comes that way, much to my delight. The bacon is standard issue -- could have been crisper, but I hadn't issued any specific directions. I can't finish the whole meal, but I enjoyed what I ate.
Corned-Beef Hash and Eggs
After cycling up the South Hill from downtown, I'm ready for the mountainous portion of hash browns, generously buttered toast, eggs over medium and meat. The eggs are cooked perfectly, the deep orange yolks just the right consistency for sopping up with potatoes. The hash browns are everything hash browns should be: hot, salty, the edges crispy. Looks like this breakfast is going to hold me for the ride back down and then some. But now I come to the corned-beef hash. Its appearance does not bode well. Pink mush with white bits that look like mini marshmallows (potatoes, actually). I brace myself and take a bite. I'm no corned-beef connoisseur, but unless you like the taste of tin cans, stay away.
Eggs Benedict is a classic that hangs on because it is such an inspired combination. At the Chalet, with its row of counter swivel stools and glass-front pie case, this uppity breakfast loses its pretentious attitude and gets down to the basics. Two crispy, buttery English muffin halves are topped with a nice moist slice of ham, two poached eggs and plenty of rich hollandaise sauce. While the sauce is probably from a mix, it supplies the requisite tangy richness; and although Canadian bacon is the standard, the ham is tender and moist and does its job of adding that salty smoky flavor. A big serving of crispy hash browns made this a most satisfying -- as in, I didn't eat again till dinner -- breakfast.
1228 S. Grand Blvd. * 456-0500
We next visit Just Jerry's, the newest venture by Jerry Schrader and Robin Riemcke, of Cannon Street Grill fame -- just down Grand, yet a world away in so many ways. The d & eacute;cor, menu and presentation are all a step up from the hominess of the Chalet, but Just Jerry's doesn't sacrifice that neighborhood hangout ambience. Regulars and newcomers alike trickle in as we dine. Jerry and Robin know how to make a space comfortable and friendly while maintaining the standards of casual bistro-style dining. The cinnamon-toned walls echo the pale orange-pink rays nipping the top of the bell tower of St. John's Cathedral across the street as the sun rises in the east. It's a Grand Boulevard, indeed. -- AC
Before you sneer, let me assure you: this plate o' food is massive. We're talking a customizable kitchen-sink scramble -- I chose Italian sausage (tender, lightly spiced), bacon (thick and still crispy), tomato, onion, green pepper and mushrooms, stirred into three eggs and topped with cheese -- piled onto a grilled crescent-shaped sandwich bun. The flavor and texture work well with the scramble, even if it's not a true flaky croissant. The flavors blend happily, and the eggs are just right. A side of Jerry's famous red-potato home fries -- browned and seasoned outside, white inside -- and a wedge of watermelon round out the platter. And don't forget the fresh-squeezed OJ and Craven's coffee.
Corned-Beef Hash and Eggs
After yesterday's disappointment, I'm on a quest for good hash. Corned-beef, that is. I place my order and wait apprehensively, downing a glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice ($3.25) in the meantime. When the food arrives, my nose tells me I've made the right choice. Fragrant potatoes, caramelized onions, parsley, pepper... and a dark, smoky smell. I pause before tasting to admire two poached eggs atop of the hash. I prick open the eggs and let the yolk run down, then take a bite. The custardy egg, crisp potatoes, sweet onions and small pieces of tender meat blend in a taste-and-texture sensation. Ah. With an English muffin and a dollop of homemade salsa, this is all the high I need.
French Toast Special
French toast, two eggs and bacon was the daily special, and I'm a sucker for a deal so I ordered it. The eggs were scrambled in the pan, which made for a pleasant and uncommon separation of yolk and white, and the thick slices of bacon were nice and crisp. The French toast could have lingered longer in the egg-mix to really saturate the bread and give it that eggy flavor, but it was still tasty with a nice hint of cinnamon. I thought the watermelon wedge on the plate was a nice, colorful gesture, and the selection of little containers of freezer jam was a delight. The coffee was strong and hot, and my mug never emptied. Fresh squeezed OJ and the view of the Cathedral made this a breakfast to remember.