Friday, June 26, 2015

Breakfast Sandwich #28 - Plaka Taverna aka I'd Like A Second Opinion

Sandwich: Egg, Bacon & Cheese
Location: Plaka Taverna
Date: June 21 2015
Cost: $3.75

Before we get into this review it's important to note that my friend Max came with me to do a breakfast sandwich "ride along" and act as guest reviewer. The idea of having guest reviewers popped up a few weeks ago and although there have been no criteria established as to what credentials are needed to be a guest reviewer, I know that Max has enough clout to act as such. First, he asked if he could come along. Second, and this is probably what really earned him the right, he named his dog Bacon. We'll get to his review in a minute. 

Plaka Taverna serves breakfast in the style of it's previous incarnation, Cleveland's Diner. The rest of the time it's a Greek restaurant. Everybody knows this, but did you know they have a small patio area out back that you can eat on? They do, and it's adorable, although you run the risk of getting pooped on by a bird, which actually happened while I was there. That could happen any time you leave the house, but the fact that it happened when I was there to write a review is pretty hilarious. Also, I realize that my previous review featured a gross story about veins and this one is starting off with bird poop. These things happen when you sift and winnow for the truth. Maybe I'll get Rachel Ray to be a guest reviewer, she probably writes about nice things. It would probably be a lot more fun to have Anthony Bourdain do a ride along, although we would likely end up vodka-drunk in the Ukraine eating fish eyeballs stewed in Dodo Bird eggs. I don't know, that doesn't sound so bad. 
I like the variety here and the fact that the sandwiches can be ordered individually or with the potatoes.  

It's looking "All American".

Obligatory cross-section photo.
The Sandwich - Egg, Bacon & Cheese. I went with the cheddar cheese. I was tempted by the egg & gyro on pita but I decided to go with a classic sandwich for review purposes. My first reaction was that I would have liked the muffin to be more toasted on the outside. It was a little under toasted for my tastes. Other than that, the bacon was crisped well, the cheese was melty, the egg nicely cooked and folded although I prefer eggs a bit runny. I probably don't have to keep saying that. Really, this sandwich was right down the middle of the road - it was good, not fantastic. Nothing stood out about it but there was nothing wrong with it either (other than I would have liked the muffin to be more toasted). The potatoes were perfect. I generally find breakfast potatoes to be ho-hum and not exciting but these hit the bullseye with me. Nicely crisped on the outside, hot and steamy on the inside but not soggy.

The Result - 3.42 bird turds out of 5 bird turds. More than a few people have extolled the virtues of the Plaka Breakfast sandwich to me but I found it to be perfectly adequate. There could be a few things at work here, for one, my expectations may have been set too high coming in. I don't think they were but I'm not sure I can accurately judge my own preconceptions. There is also the chance that I'm getting jaded. I've eaten a hell of a lot of breakfast sandwiches in recent months and it's hard to keep them all straight and try to balance their ratings against each other. I occasionally go back and look at previous ratings to try to slot a new rating in the proper place. I don't always do that though. My final theory is that the Plaka sandwich is generally better than the one I received and my personal sandwich just didn't have that extra spark of sandwich love. 

Having said all that, let's find out what Max had to say about his sandwich.

As stated above, Max is 9 years old and has a dog named Bacon. Max wanted to do a ride along on a breakfast sandwich research mission and it came together very quickly, so quick that I was probably underprepared. I wasn't sure how it was going to work - if I was going to take notes on his thoughts, or maybe record his comments, or perhaps even have him write his own review. That last option seemed unlikely, asking a kid to write a review sounds like summer school. In the end I just made mental notes of his comments because that was pretty much my only option.

Coincidentally, Max ordered the exact same sandwich I did - Egg, Bacon & Cheddar Cheese. He didn't get the potatoes. At least we were talking about the same kind of sandwich so I knew where he was coming from.

The first thing I asked him about was the bacon, which he said was "chewy". The muffin was "crunchy at first" and the egg was "good". He thought the sandwich was kind of plain and could use some spice. When asked what might make it better he said "spice". He didn't specify beyond that, I don't know, maybe cinnamon and wasabi?

OK, he is a man of few words. Blogs didn't exist when I was 9 years old so there is no evidence of what I may have said about breakfast at that age, but I suspect it would have been similar.

His final rating was 2. Wow. That seems kind of harsh to me. There are hungry kids in Africa who would gladly give that sandwich a 4.88 and when asked to rate the glass of clean water that came with it they would give it 5 Cholera out of 5 Cholera. But, that's his rating. You can't chew a mile in another man's taste buds so I have to take him at his word. 

Perhaps the biggest take away from this is that we all have to experience our breakfast sandwiches on our own terms. One person's bacon is another person's forbidden swine. 

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