Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Is Opening An Umbrella Indoors Unlucky?

According to legend, opening an umbrella indoors provokes the wrath of the sun good and is an invitation for bad luck to rain (pun intended) down on you.

So what were we to make of the open umbrellas inside of Polly’s Bakery in Hemet, CA?
It was laundry day and one needs to be nutritionally fortified before engaging in this necessary but unpleasant task. A Google of “Breakfast in Hemet” led us to the Hemet outlet of this regional (Southern California) chain. Polly’s is a small privately-owned family company doing business for over forty years with fifteen Polly’s outlets. The two owners are the Sheldrake brothers, Don and Eddie, who grew up in Los Angeles.

“Established in 1968…, the first Polly's was opened in Fullerton. The name Polly was chosen, in part, because the front doors of the restaurant had handles shaped like the letter "P," and we wanted to use those handles. Eddie's wife suggested the name "Polly's" in honor of Polly Martin, who was the newborn daughter of the restaurant's first manager…Later we adopted the name Polly's Tasty Foods and Pies, then Polly's Bakery Cafe and currently we are known as Polly's Pies Restaurant. But our guests often just call us Polly's or Polly's Pies” (from the restaurant’s web site).

Having run two errands before breakfast, we arrived at Polly’s shortly after 10:00 a.m. We marveled at the number of cars in the parking lot and decided that there must be a sale at the Penny’s just across the shopping center. Then we walked through the doors and discovered that all of these cars belonged to Polly’s customers. After a short wait we were seated and our server mentioned that we “had missed the rush.” If this wasn’t the rush, I didn’t want to have been here earlier.

This is a breakfast menu with too many wonderful sounding choices. There was the Spinach Scramble with seasoned sautéed spinach, bacon, mushrooms, and sausage blended with three fluffy eggs and topped with shredded jack cheese. There was Ms. Polly's Premium Scramble made with diced oven-roasted turkey, bacon, tomatoes, green onion, and bleu cheese crumbles and topped with avocado. There was the Fiesta Omelette with mild green chiles blended with tomatoes, onions, and Jack and Cheddar cheeses and topped with salsa. There was the Country Tater Breakfast with grilled hash browns topped with country sausage gravy, two large farm-fresh eggs, green onions, and melted cheddar cheese plus your choice of a fresh bakery item. (Chuck briefly flirted with this.)

I made my choice from the sheet of monthly specials—two eggs with grilled kielbasa and potato pancakes. And with this came my choice of a bakery item. Having read that they are known for their giant cinnamon rolls, I felt an obligation as the chief food researcher to order this and received a five-and-a-half-inch square of warm, soft, sweet, and yeasty wonderful-ness. I offered Chuck a taste, and before I knew it, he had eaten half of my roll. Is that the thanks I get?

Then my plate of breakfast arrived, and I realized that Chuck had done me a favor by eating half the roll. In addition to two perfectly cooked over easy eggs, my plate contained at least a half pound of diagonally sliced and grilled garlic kielbasa.

But the highlight was the two potato pancakes. These were a cross between the soft pancakes both of our mothers made using left-over mashed potatoes and crispy Jewish deli potato latkes seasoned with a bit of grated onion. I could make a meal out of a plate of these alone.

After deciding that the Country Tater Breakfast was too much, Chuck looked at the French toast options. (The toast is made with slices of the same giant cinnamon rolls minus the vanilla icing.)

There was the Cinnamon Roll French Toast by itself; there was the Cinnamon Roll French Toast Combo with two eggs and the choice of two Applewood smoked bacon strips or two sausage links; and there was Fruit Topping and French Toast Combo that added fruit topping to the Combo.

He finally decided to eat “light” with the French toast minus the eggs, meat, or fruit, but with a side of home-style potatoes. (This is eating light?) The French toast was light and fluffy and the combination of the cinnamon with the maple syrup helped to reduce some of the sweetness. Still, his need for savory led him to spear some kielbasa from my plate. His cubed home-style potatoes had been grilled with chopped bell pepper and onion and were above average, but not exceptional.

The open umbrellas proved to be a portent of good luck and not bad, and we enjoyed our 4.5 Addie breakfast.

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