Breakfast Joints

Einstein Bagels lacks genius

      We at The Enterprise are a forgiving people. We recognize the humanity of those with whom we deal. We all make mistakes. Anyone can have a bad day.
      So, when we visit a breakfast joint and it’s terrible, we give it a second chance before we post a review.
      We visited Einstein’s Bagels on Yankee Doodle Road more than twice. This Einstein’s is a joint operation with Caribou Coffee. Each time we visited, the service was so bad we’ve had to knock it down to a mere two mugs on our five-mug breakfast joint rating scale. (A rating of five is best. A rating of one triggers a call to the health inspector.)
      The only thing that saved Einstein’s from the dreaded one-mug ranking was the quality of the food, once it eventually arrived. The food was fine once we received what we actually ordered. But the process of getting it was so unbelievably frustrating we just can’t recommend this establishment, especially if you’re looking to grab a quick breakfast on the way to work. The wait times and service were terrible.
      Now, we realize, at this point, you’re probably thinking: “Service? At Einstein’s? Don’t you just stand at the counter and wait for your food?”
      Yes, that’s what made our visits so unbelievable. We gave our required first names when we placed our order. They called our names when it was time to pick up our food, so we know they didn’t mix us up with another customer. For some reason, this bagel shop just appeared to be incapable of delivering an order correctly.
      On our first visit, we ordered a California nova lox sandwich and a coffee. The counter staff apologized as he told us they needed to make more coffee and said he would deliver it to our table when it was ready. He never delivered.
      Instead of the higher priced California nova lox, the staff dropped off a standard lox sandwich, on the wrong kind of bagel. When we realized the error, the staff was busying themselves with other activities and we could not attract anyone’s attention to report the error. So we were stuck with it.
      On our next visit, we simplified the order to a cinnamon-raisin bagel with plain cream cheese. “How could you mess up that?” we wondered.
      Einstein’s found a way. It was the elementary school student in our party who first noticed the error. “Why are the raisins red?” he asked.
      Because they were cranberries. This was no cinnamon-raisin bagel.
      OK. Anyone can make a mistake, although the odds of that happening seemed higher at this place than any other we’ve visited. When we brought the mistake back to the counter, the staff let us know we weren’t as important as what was going on at drive-thru, so we had to wait several minutes to report the error.
      After a few minutes, the staff member came back with another bagel, which was bluer than any cinnamon-raisin bagel we’d ever seen. She seemed to think we were imagining things. “Those aren’t blueberries,” she said, before leaving to attend to the drive-thru. We sought a second opinion from the cashier. “That’s definitely blueberry,” the cashier opined, seeming proud as he noted the purple aura surrounding the fruit inside the bagel.
      “We ordered cinnamon-raisin,” I reminded him. He brought the second bagel back to the kitchen.
      At this point, we wondered if we were going to have to cycle through all the dried fruits before we received what we actually ordered. But, alas, on the third try, Einstein’s managed to find the correct bagel.
      Unless you feel like playing this sort of breakfast roulette, you can skip Einstein’s It doesn’t take a genius to figure out how to serve a bagel.


   Taco Bell is Swell

   This website has a longstanding tradition (well, longstanding in internet terms) of reviewing establishments where people will actually eat.
   Anyone can head off to a 5-star restaurant and tell you they had a good meal, but we like to seek gold in the foothills. So, our latest venture in search of a good breakfast joint was Taco Bell.
   Yes, Taco Bell, which has been touting its breakfast on the airwaves with parodies of ‘70s coffee commercials. (If your morning is h---, head to Taco Bell.)
   We did and we found it to be delicious, if not nutritious.
   What’s not to love? The menu features various combinations of eggs, processed meats, and potatoes--the hallmarks of many a great breakfast joint. Taco Bell throws in some sugary items, too, giving us that addictive combination of sugar-fat former U.S. Surgeon General David Kessler warned us about in his book on overeating. (It’s not our fault. The food companies are worse than the tobacco companies.)
   Not every Taco Bell is open for breakfast, as we discovered at the Cliff Road location when we found the doors locked at 8 a.m. (Although there was a poster advertising breakfast on the front door, which was puzzling.) So we headed to the Town Center Drive location, which was much cleaner and brighter. You couldn’t find nicer people working in a restaurant. The staff at the Town Center Drive Taco Bell was extremely courteous and helpful. There was even a person outside cleaning up the parking lot.
   However, the counter staff seemed to have abandoned post when we went back for more Cinnabon Delights. (You wait, you’ll be going back for more, too.) But, overall, it was a positive breakfast experience. We had breakfast burritos and the steak crunchwrap. Delicious and under $10 for two people, with coffee and a milk.
   The coffee wasn’t quite up to par. We recommend stopping at McDonald’s for better coffee along the way.