Tag Archives: Cafe

I went to Zoe’s Cafe for Help

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to escape the isles of junk food at the supermarket
and the processed and chemical food
in my cupboard.

I went to Zoe’s Café for help
to be treated as a friend, neighbor,
and community member,
not a commodity

now my stomach begs
to be distracted from the pain

by sex with another stranger,
another swig of mad dog,
another rerun of Friends,
another cigarette teasing the forearm
with a searing kiss.

I went to Zoe’s Café for help
and was given a smile
along with buttered bread,
oily hash browns,
processed cheese,
and a dull ache in my belly.

I went to Zoe’s Café for help
like a young boy who seeks the Lord
but instead gets acquainted
with a horny priest.

The great cathedrals and parishes
have begun to be cleansed of devils
in priests’ garments.

Cafes are temples
to Mother Earth’s edible abundance.
It is time
to cleanse the cafes
of processed and chemically
altered food
disguised in omelet garments.

It is time to help Zoe’s Café.

Simba’s located in Chiang Rai, Thailand

Omelets Shouldn’t have Breasts
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From the street, Simba’s kitschy décor is what initially attracts me to try an omelet. Inside, I head straight for a comfy seat on the couch. A Thai woman hands me a menu while an American-looking man switches off the TV. I feel suspiciously like I’ve just walked into their living room, especially when I notice the furry cat running around.

The beautiful, Thai woman in her strappy sundress and heels is the server, and she’s also the cook. The older, American man laments that he can’t help out for fear of being deported. He grumbles that he has no work permit but seems perfectly content to leave his wife/girlfriend to tend to our omelet needs.

The surprise omelet bonus at Simba’s is the really friendly cat. Recently, I have been trying to pet more cats and dogs while eating omelets. This is in preparation for my upcoming trip to Laos. I figure if I can be comfortable with a pet beside my omelet, then the next step of a pet inside my omelet will be easy to swallow. Today my omelet experience is going smoothly, and I feel really comfortable about going to Laos to try my first dog or cat omelet.

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Everything is going well until I notice the art on the wall. In Thailand, where it is rare to see women bare their shoulders, posters of bare-breasted women seem out of place. Like a TV blaring a football game can distract a person from their buffalo wings, the art on the wall detracts from the omelet experience.

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The art is a strange mix of children and topless women, which starts me wondering about spatial relationships in the definition of child pornography. Some people might consider a photograph of a nude woman standing beside two children kissing to be pornographic. What about a photograph of a nude woman next to a photograph of two children kissing–is that pushing the envelope? What happens when you add an omelet to the picture?

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Additional note: As a society, we despise child pornography. Why do we uphold a standard of beauty for women to appear pre-pubescent by shaving their legs and armpits?

 

Riverside Bamboo Restaurant located in Chieng Khong, Thailand

This Omelet sings the Blues
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Eating Mexican food in Thailand is like eating a tomato during an Idaho winter— out of season, out of place, lacking color and flavor. That’s what I think until I order a burrito at the Riverside Bamboo Restaurant in Chieng Khong, Thailand. I ask the barefoot owner/waiter how he developed such a talent for creating a dish out of beans, cheese, and tortillas that one bite can send a gringo back to the taco stand on 42nd Street.

Instead of talking about refried beans and lard, the owner starts to sing the Blues. As I sway a little to the rhythm, he stops singing to inform me that he can also play the guitar like B.B. King. I ask, “Did you visit Mississippi through a study abroad program and sell your soul to the devil?”

Changing subjects, the owner starts talking about food again. With a twinkle of love in his eye, he says the chef, his wife, doesn’t use recipes or measuring cups. She has never been to Mexico, never kissed a Latino, nor used peyote to inspire her fine Mexican cuisine. He explains the secret in one word –SOUL. He then eyes the Lonely Planet in my hand, asks if I’ve got travel in my soul, chuckles and walks away.

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After dinner, I thumb through my trusty guidebook. Tired from a long bus ride, I just want to find a guest house that fits my two basic travel needs – inexpensive and with a hot shower. The Lonely Planet reads like highway signs. When the sign says food, restroom, and gas in 2 miles off exit 69, I can trust that life’s little creature comforts will be taken care of.

The next morning at the Namkhong Guest House, I order a dish of Pad Thai and an omelet. The noodles swam in oil, and the omelet looked like a yellow piece of dog shit.

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Until I ate in the city of Chieng Khong, I was a racial food profiler. Several times I passed up Mexican, Italian, and Indian food in Thailand because the cooks didn’t have the right skin color. At the Riverside Bamboo Restaurant, I learned the hands that make a delicious quesadilla do not have to be Mexican. From the quality of this morning’s breakfast, I learned that not all Thai people make edible Pad Thai and omelets.

At one time in my life, I believed that omelets shouldn’t look like shit, and shit shouldn’t look yellow. Now I believe as long as it’s made with soul, then everything’s good.

Did George W. Really Eat Here?! (guest omelet review)

by Jeanne Huff, Treasure Hunter for the Idaho Statesman and Boise poet

Bob and I stopped in for Sunday breakfast at Moon’s Kitchen Cafe, 815 Bannock St. in Boise.

It’s a cute spot, shaped kind of like one of those skinny houses, not very wide, but way deep. And it has a kind of mullet mentality: business in the front — there’s this weird gift shop full of knick-knacks and jokey adult toys; party in the back — the cafe.

I say party in the back where the cafe is, because really, that’s where most everybody is. The only time I’ve ever seen folks in the weird gift shop part is when they’re waiting for somebody or waiting for a seat or waiting for their bill.

In the back then, is the restaurant. It feels and looks like a 50’s style mom and pop cafe or diner, straight out of a novel by that guy who wrote “The Grapes of Wrath.” Seating is cafeteria-style with rows of long tables covered with plastic, oily tablecloths and place settings.

Signs cover the walls. One sign proclaims Moon’s has been a tradition since 1955. A good omen, I thought, since that’s the year I was born. Other signs with pithy sayings — Danger: Men Cooking, Notice: Prices Subject to Change According to Customer’s Attitude — here’s my favorite: Cows may come and cows may go, but the bull in this place goes on forever. There are old automobile signs and John Wayne is EVERYwhere! In paintings, photos, posters and his image is even on a U.S. flag. There are also signed photos of local celebs and legislators — a few on the national level. (Did George W. and Barbara Bush and Dick Cheney really eat here?!)

By the way, the milkshakes here are legendary. I even brought my chocolate-loving son Tyler here once for lunch, hoping to impress him on the wonders of Boise.
And if you do order a milkshake, or anyone does for that matter, avoid sitting at the third stool from the north end. There’s a sign there that reads: Sit Here At Your Own Risk — Milkshake Machine Sprays. The sign is perched in front of an ancient-looking monster of a mixer. Hmm, I think. Although a milky-sweet shower could sound appealing at times, today it is snowing outside. The chill in the air puts a damper on thoughts of fun, frothy frolic.

Because of the seating, you get to sit with a variety of breakfasting neighbors. Over at the next table, we see a group of wildly-clad party people. Are they still up from last night’s midnight mayhem? They do look a little wilty around the edges.

Bob and I agreed that it’s nice when a breakfast restaurant can offer entertainment by way of people watching while you wait for your breakfast.

Our omelets came to our table, sharing space on the
overladen plate with a mountain of hash browns and a pile of toast. Um-mm.

We both agreed, the three-cheese and mushroom omelet was good; much better after you peeled the squares of processed orange American cheese off the top so you could then enjoy the new two-cheese and mushroom omelet. The two cheeses — real cheddar and real swiss — complemented the freshly sliced mushrooms folded inside a thin egg blanket perfectly.

The service here is also 1950s-style: your server is a waitress and she’s probably going to call you “hon” no matter what your gender is. She looks a little rough around the edges — but you just know she has a heart of gold.

We gave it a “Double Yum” rating.

Zoe’s Cafe located in Kendrick, Idaho

Kraft-inspired Omelet
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If this were an apple pie review instead of an omelet review, we could recommend Zoe’s in good conscience. The pie was good. On to the omelet!

The body wants to feel loved instead of teased. We’ve been cruising the Palouse countryside (some of the best farmland in the world) in an omelet adventure that has left us feeling not only teased but abused. Zoe’s Cafe served us a chemically induced bellyache. These sort of omelets only taste good after a lousy one night stand, debilitating hangover, or making it through another night of depression. When a person feels good, they naturally do not seek out buttery bread, oily hash browns, and processed cheese. After eating a Kraft-inspired omelet, the belly is once again begging for another kiss from a stranger, another swig of mad dog, and more depressed thoughts that bring about living tears.

People who eat processed/chemical food nourish a dull pain. They are probably trying to escape their neighborhood supermarkets and their own cupboards. When people reach out to the cafes for help and are served fabricated lies, the owners need to be held accountable. Much like the young boy who seeks out the Lord but instead gets acquainted with a horny priest. The great cathedrals and parishes have begun to be cleansed of devils in priests garments, and so must the cafes. Cafes are temples to Mother Earth’s edible abundance. They must be cleansed of processed and chemically altered food disguised in omelet garments.

After eating at Zoe’s Cafe, we realized that what started as an innocent flirtation has turned into an abusive omelet relationship. Wanting to believe that next time really will be different, we visit another cafe, order another omelet, and get smacked with processed cheese once again. We’re packing our things and leaving town. Maybe in Portland we’ll be able to find the omelet love that we deserve.

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Donnie Mac’s located in Boise, Idaho

Trailer Park Cuisine
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As we climbed into the hoisted-up car at the brightly colored Donnie Mac’s, it was the closest thing I’d felt to an acid experience since my drug experimentation days. It may have had something to do with Holly’s transformation from the 80’s disguise she’d been wearing the night before. In the morning, with the teased-up black-haired wig removed, her plastic dangling earrings remained as evidence of her previous identity. Holly shifts her appearance between decades from one day to the next for self-entertainment, and Donnie Mac’s shifts its identity between middle class eatery and low-income cuisine for the entertainment of its patrons.

According to Donnie Mac’s website, this is what Trailer Park Cuisine means: “It is really what America is all about… Motorcycles, palm trees, cowboys, pickup trucks, bright colors, blue jeans, chrome, rust, barbwire, freedom, nostalgia, recycling; all wrapped up to present the finest comfort food your lips have been tasting since childhood… only better!!”

When I hear Trailer Park Cuisine I don’t think of good times not like hearing the word Jamica. Say—Jamaica—to a young or old-blooded American, and the first thing they think—sun, beaches, and resort. Try the word Mexico and you’ll probably get the same answers. When I went to Cabo San Lucas, I paid middle class prices for an American-style bean burrito in the 3rd world. I think Donnie Mac’s is onto something with the trailer park theme. The food is reasonably middle class priced. The omelet had fresh, not canned, mushrooms and was lacking that American processed cheese flavor. The omelet was defiantly a step above the average trailer park styled omelet such as you might find at Tom’s Cabin Cafe. Furthermore, Donnie Mac’s is neither located next to a trailer park nor within walking distance of a Money Tree, Dollar Store, or Smoke Shop.

Donnie Mac’s should use a Club Med model for good business. With some stepped-up marketing by the people at Donnie Mac’s, when people hear trailer park, instead of thinking low income, meth, and pit bulls—their first thoughts could be hot waitresses with all their teeth, pepper jack cheese, sautéed mushrooms, and Harley Davidson motorcycle parking. No one imagines a Mexico vacation with the realities of Juarez women murdered along the US border, unrest in Chiapas, and a corrupt political system. I believe Donnie Mac’s can rake in even more money by moving their location to the American version of the 3rd world. With a little marketing, soon people will say, “Hey, after church let’s eat at the trailer park.”

I can’t wait to say on Sunday morning, “Hey Amy, let’s call Holly and visit the trailer park. I’m hungry for a middle class omelet at a middle class price. Ooh, I haven’t lived this middle class since I went to Cabo Wabo (Van Halen’s Club) in Cabo San Lucus, Mexico. I love 3rd world middle class livin’.”

More food for thought: Middle class livin’ in the classless wilderness. I hear the best way to experience the great outdoors is in an RV.

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Donnie Mac’s
1515 W. Grove St.
Bosie, ID 83702
(208) 384-9008