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Morning Edition Cafe

k
Kelbell Feb 25, 2008 01:13 PM

Finally walked over to Morning Edition Cafe (corner of N Patterson Park Ave and Fairmont) with some friends yesterday. A cutesy little neighborhood place for brunch.

The decor: it goes for garden and rustic look, which my friends found charming, and I found to be slightly over the top. In particular, the chairs have wooden ropes on them, and there is not much room between tables. Then again, the cramped environment makes the conversation at the table that much cozier.

The service: patience is a virtue. They take reservations, and the place seems to be quite crowded. We were fortunate that a group left as we were coming in, so we were seated right away. Our waitress had a few problems pouring our cups. Two cups were filled to the brim, and the other two were filled halfway. These were bottomless cups of coffee, so each time that she came back (and I won't embarrass myself by admitting how many cups I consumed), she did the same thing! She never stayed long enough for us to ask her to come back, and tracking her down was difficult at best.

The food: The menu suggests that it can take up to an hour to make the omelets, so read the fine print on the menu and ask about the ETA for the food. We were on a slightly condensed time schedule, so unfortunately we shied away from the omelets. While we waited, the waitress brought out complimentary banana bread, which was delicious. Thickly sliced and dense without overpowering aromas of sugar or bananas.

One friend ordered the fritata, which was my favorite. The egg layer was thin and held a plethora of canadian bacon, provolone cheese, and onions. Warm and rich without appearing too heavy. Another friend ordered the peach studded pancakes, and my sister ordered the french toast with walnuts and maple syrup. Both were very tasty, but I don't really recall much about either dish.

I ordered the broccoli and cheese quiche with chicken sausage and a croissant. The quiche itself tasted fresh with a good balance of vegetable and egg. Crust was thicker than I usually enjoy. Really enjoyed the chicken sausage and the fact that it tasted like sausage without being heavy.

All of the platters come from fresh fruit in generous portions.

Summary: ample portions, good bargain, go if you have 2 hours to eat.

  1. JonParker Feb 25, 2008 01:20 PM

    An hour to make an omelette? Do they start every morning with three eggs and raise more chickens from those? I'v wanted to try this place, but the time it takes to eat there sounds uniformly insane.

    10 Replies
    1. re: JonParker
      aussiewonder Feb 25, 2008 01:42 PM

      And you'd be right. I've not been in three years but I do remember the last time: friend was leaving baltimore for greener pastures and we wanted 'one last local brunch' we went with four hours to spare and left full, but very annoyed that brunch took 3hours. Yes, they were busy and yes, one of us had an omlette but come on! Every time I've gone there for brunch it's been a minimum 1.5hour for two people. More people? Expect it to be longer. I usually have not had to wait to be seated, it's more sat and waiting for food. That bakery basket they bring? It's a good sign that you'll be sitting waiting for food a lot longer, the little offerings are to keep the hunger pains and fainting at a minimum!

      1. re: aussiewonder
        h
        Hal Laurent Feb 25, 2008 01:45 PM

        It's been that way for at least fifteen years. And yet they're still in business. I don't get it.

        1. re: Hal Laurent
          aussiewonder Feb 25, 2008 02:01 PM

          As i said, it's been 3years since I last went and i may go again before i leave town. So perhaps between those in the 'know' checking it out every few years (hoping for change) and then those 'new' to the scene going once, having a good enough (timely) experience to go back again there's enough people coming thru full circle to keep them in biz?

          1. re: aussiewonder
            ko1 Feb 25, 2008 02:22 PM

            I've never understood the allure of Morning Edition, either.

            1. re: ko1
              Bob W Feb 25, 2008 02:34 PM

              There aren't many restaurants where you could read much if not most of the Sunday New York Times while waiting for a table and then for your meal.

              Sounds like nothing has changed at the Morning Edition.

              One factor is the size of the kitchen -- about as big as that in my brother's kitchen in NYC (read: miniscule).

          2. re: Hal Laurent
            c
            charmedgirl Feb 25, 2008 02:36 PM

            The food is good. If you go knowing and expecting that there will be a wait and sucky service, then it is easier to just let it roll off your back. My meal last time was good enough, and I love brunch enough, that I would certainly go back on a day when I had nowhere to be.

            For what it's worth, while the service was slow and apathetic, I didn't find it any more so than my one time at Blue Moon. I'm not sure why Blue Moon gets such love and Morning Edition such angst. Both are small and cute, with an insanely long wait, pretty bad service, but good food. And actually, now that I think about it, I would definitely say I enjoyed the taste of my breakfast at ME way more than I did at BM. Interesting.

            1. re: charmedgirl
              m
              MDicecreamguy Feb 25, 2008 03:20 PM

              Can anyone suggest a better breafast/brunch place with similar ( i.e. interesting breakfast fare) that doesn't have the service problems.
              Haven't neem to Morning Edition in a few years, but I remember it being slow BUT the food being good ( and interesting!)

              1. re: MDicecreamguy
                ko1 Feb 25, 2008 03:48 PM

                Blue Moon and Miss Shirley's. There's a wait at both, but I find the service and the food better than ME at each once you are seated.

                1. re: ko1
                  k
                  ktracy Feb 25, 2008 06:22 PM

                  Miss Shirley's, for sure. They have a kitchen large enough to sustain real brunch traffic. The food is creative and high quality, and their servers recognize that this is not a hang around for 3+ hours kind of place. I've never felt rushed there, but I appreciate that the servers are buzzing around keeping things moving.

                  We had great food at Blue Moon once but appalling service so we just haven't had the desire to go back.

                2. re: MDicecreamguy
                  aussiewonder Feb 25, 2008 08:22 PM

                  The Harvest Table in Locust Point. I love their brunch plates and the price is good too! yes, it does get crowded but the service (pay at the counter) is fast and the food is GOOD. It's even better in the summer time when you can get a pastry and coffee to go and sit out in the hammocks!

        2. m
          MJ2010 Jul 14, 2010 10:01 AM

          MORNING EDITION CAFÉ
          153 N. PATTERSON PARK AVE.

          Submitted July 14, 2010

          I went to the Morning Edition Café this past Sunday, arriving at about 11:30 AM. When the host found out that I had ridden my bicycle there, he offered to house it for me inside the building. WOW! I frequently ride from the I-70 park-and-ride to have breakfast/lunch somewhere in the city, and rarely do I encounter such hospitality. This was the beginning of a great experience.

          The interior of this small, rustic, 10-12 table restaurant features old wood – lots of it, and enough decorations and newspapers to occupy the eyes. I was seated immediately at one of the two tables that were open. And it was quiet, blessedly quiet, with conversation being the auditory backdrop - a welcome change from most restaurants.

          Before I could read the handwritten menu that was specific to today, I was served a piece of banana bread and offered a cup of Zeke’s coffee. The banana bread was soft, warm, and outstanding in its multi-level flavor and consistency. Zeke’s coffee, if you haven’t had it yet, is strong and flavorful with no bitterness in its aftertaste.

          The menu was extensive, with everything you could imagine as a breakfast meal. I found the accent on the fruited choices irresistible, and I chose the berry French toast. It arrived in about ten minutes, just after my coffee was topped off. Garnished with cantaloupe, strawberries, cherries on the stem, orange segments (and a tootsie pop!), the entree looked so beautifully prepared that I had to take a photo of it. (My brother and I send photos of the best foods that we either make or encounter outside of our homes to make each other jealous. This one will have the desired effect.) The browned toast array was topped generously with blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries – all fresh and each perfect. The toast pieces were hot, having been well-dipped in an egg and light seasoning mixture and fried gently. The taste combination of the berries and the toast led me to conclude that I really didn’t need the maple syrup that accompanied this dish.

          My server checked on me shortly after I began, and my coffee cup was never allowed to get low. I overheard two ladies at a nearby table telling their server that they had read about this restaurant, noting unfavorable service comments. I have since found a couple of such reviews. Maybe there was slow service and preparation when these reviews were written, but I found no current evidence to support that evaluation. Maybe it’s because even the Citypaper’s review dates back to 2004. I couldn’t find any indication of inadequate service, there being three servers working the floor. The coffeepot was frequently brought from table to table, and the servers were always in sight and available when not actively offering further assistance. Appreciative of the quality of the food and the level of service, I left a 50% tip.

          A final note: I asked my server to pass on my appreciation to the owner for letting me stow my bike inside. (Baltimore is second only to New York in bike thefts.) To my surprise, I was invited to the kitchen to meet him. Having been around the restaurant business for many years, I know that this is quite unusual. Introduced to me as “Brian,” he told me that he was glad to be able to extend the offer and that he hoped my brunch was satisfactory. It was, and I’ll make this a future destination.

          -----
          Morning Edition Cafe
          153 N Patterson Park Ave, Baltimore, MD 21231

           
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