watching with half an eye. I am sure that you have suffered from the same condition. You have on the TV, but really aren’t paying much attention unless something comes on the screen that commands attention.
So early one evening, I have on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, and Guy Fieri is visiting a diner in a town in Texas that I had never heard of and didn’t intend to visit. All I recall was his being accompanied by Matthew McConaughey (Yes, the actor who just won the Oscar for his role in Dallas Buyers Club, a movie that I haven’t seen and have no intention of seeing.) So I went back to reading my book without watching further. Well, to my surprise, here we are in Georgetown, TX, and having breakfast at Monument Café, the same restaurant visited by Guy and Matthew.
Since the café was almost empty during our visit, we didn’t have the opportunity to see these elderly couples (other than ourselves—although my hair isn’t blue), nor did we have—as David Letterman used to describe it—a “brush with greatness”—since Guy Fieri and Matthew McConaughey were nowhere to be found.
“The word ‘monument’ is based on a Latin root that means ‘to remind.’ Monuments typically remind us of special people or commemorate important events. Georgetown's popular Monument Cafe is a living testament to the classic roadside diner cooking of a bygone era, offering simply prepared fresh food, sold at affordable prices. The cafe opened in a small original location in 1995, and overwhelming success necessitated the move to a much bigger new building not far from the historic courthouse square in 2008. The new space boasts classic retro diner styling with accents of dark wood and chrome, Art Deco light fixtures alternating with ceiling fans,
“Monument is in some ways a completely typical Texas Diner. There's the black-and-white checked floors, the booths lining the windows, the specials chalk board with the day's pies, soups, and lunch features hanging above the counter. And the menu is pretty typical too: there're all kinds of burgers and fried chicken; there's meatloaf; there's fries, and onion rings and green beans; there's fresh lemonade.
“But that's sort of the tail end of the typicalness… Take the kids menu: nearly every time chicken strips appears on a kids menu, no matter how inspired the grown up food is, it's the same frozen crap from one place to the next. Here, the chicken was fresh, the breading home-made, and the taste was on an entirely different plane than is the usual… What it says to me is that local doesn't have to mean health food, that supporting organics can lead to inspiration in menus that have been deadened by years of increasingly industrialized food production. It says that just because food isn't fancy or exotic or expensive doesn't mean that it can't provide first rate eating” (grubbus.com).
For such a large restaurant, I found the breakfast menu to be surprisingly small. There were a few combinations of “yard” eggs with meats, two styles of pancakes, and a waffle. And there were two dishes that can be found on many Texas breakfast menus—Huevos Rancheros (fried eggs served on fried corn tortillas accompanied by peppered bacon or sausage and refried beans) and Migas.
I had looked at the on-line menu and was intrigued by the gingerbread pancakes. But to my annoyance, these were no longer on the menu as presented to us at the café. (I really do find this discrepancy between what you find on-line and what you find in person really maddening.) So instead, I opted for the café’s version of corned beef hash.
Instead of toast, I selected the biscuit, which I thought more resembled a roll than a biscuit. But our server added on a small bowl of cream gravy that, while it didn’t contain any sausage, had enough black pepper to provide real flavor.
Chuck chose the waffle plate with ham and added a side of hash browns. Michael Stern at roadfood.com wrote that the “(w)affles are elegant, not the big, dried-out Belgium-tread manhole covers served by so many cafés nowadays.”
As we were leaving after our 3.5 Addie breakfast, our attention was drawn to a chalk-board advertising Monument Market which adjoins the diner. So we took a moment to wander in and peruse their offerings.