“Hey honey, want to try someplace new for brunch?”
I’m surprised lighting didn’t strike me as soon as I said those unassuming words. It turns out the fates had a much more insidious plan to ruin my weekend up their ethereal sleeves.
SUNDAY (the day of reckoning)
11am- We are joined by our friend Tiffany, who, being game, says that she would love to join us for a little dining adventure south of the city. I tell her that there’s this place on Yelp that has some great reviews. From the map, it looks like it’s on the river and features some mouth watering soul food. Basically all I had seen in the reviews were the words “sweet potato waffles” and I was sold.
11:30am- We depart for Water’s Edge Bistro at Moon River Inn.
11:45am- We arrive at the unassuming B&B on Freeport Blvd, a few minutes south of Pocket Rd. The exterior is plain, the back parking lot featuring an above ground pool and a hammock overlooking not the river but a furrowed field, well-muddied from the fall harvest. Undaunted, we step inside to find a pool table and a few families playing 9-ball. No one greets us as we walk in so we peek around a corner and find a small dining room with a large bar in the back of the “Inn.” We grab a seat and nod to the handful of other diners in the well-lit but rather charmless space.
11:55am- A friendly waitress sees us, grabs some menus for us and takes our order for coffee.
12:00pm- Coffee arrives, strong enough to clean up a crime scene. Delicious. We order three dishes, including scrambled eggs with bacon, another egg breakfast with potatoes and biscuit, and the aforementioned sweet potato waffles (served with fried chicken, and pecans “upon request,” you better believe I request it). The waitress (bless her heart) seems a little unfamiliar with the menu as if she was someone’s cousin helping out for the brunch rush. Nevertheless, we are happy to be out on a beautiful Sunday, sharing conversation, drinking high octane java, and trying someplace new.
12:10pm- We ask for a little cream with the coffee. It arrives, in a thimble sized jug just slightly larger than a Land ‘o Lakes Mini-Moo.
12:20pm- I notice the table next to us (a party of four gentlemen, looking like they’ve just come from golf, or some other fraternal activity) gets their food. Everything looks pretty good, except that at least two of boys have to get up and chase the waitress for a few corrections to their orders. The waitress stops by our table to top off coffees and tell Tiffany that the cheese she requested with her eggs (vegan cheese that was listed on the menu as on option) is not available. No worries, she says that leaving the cheese out is fine.
12:30pm- Someone apparently affiliated with the establishment turns on the hi-fi to fill the room with some fairly lurid smooth jazz. The waitress makes a tour of the room curiously refusing to make eye contact.
12:37pm- A baby screams. It makes eye contact. The waitress, again coming through does not.
12:42pm- EYE CONTACT AT LAST! Waitress holds up one finger in the universal “It’ll just be a minute” sign.
12:48pm- My stomach makes a rather inhuman sound. In response, the baby screams again.
12:53pm- Waitress cleans up table next to us vacated by the gentlemen. She again indicates that the food will be right up. I ask if this wait is usual, she says that there’s only “two cooks today” to handle the whole crowd. I look around and count 12 people. I’ve seen a short order guy in New Orleans serve 50 drunks at 3am and not one of them waited for more than 10 minutes. The words “I’m sorry” never escape her lips. I try to shoot lasers out of my eyes at her. The baby must sense my growing rage and wails inhumanly.
12:59pm- I discuss with my dining companions the feasibility of getting up and leaving, throwing a sawbuck on the table and never speaking of this again.
1:06pm- 66 minutes after ordering
our food arrives my food arrives, the delicious looking sweet potato waffles and fried chicken. My lovely companion’s food arrives a few minutes later followed by Tiffany’s cheeseless eggs. Just the eggs. In a saucer. No potatoes, no biscuit. The waitress brings it to the table as if it were plutonium, holding it as far away from herself as possible. She leaves as soon as she can. We are a bit stunned and don’t immediately understand that this is all she intends to bring.
1:10pm- We get the waitress’s attention and mention that Tiffany has no potatoes and neither she nor my lovely lass has anything resembling a biscuit. Not one biscuit-shaped object has come anywhere near our table, nor has one been spied on anyone else’s table to be honest. We do not mention that a) I have no pecans, b) the eggs of both ladies are cold, c) that my waffle is a bit on the cold side as well, and d) oh fuck it, the potatoes are cold too.
1:15pm- My lovely companion says three very frightening words (frightening that is when said with a look of disgust on her face as if she’s just come out of a Congolese public toilet), “Try this bacon.” The bacon, it can be said, looks like normal bacon. It tastes, however, like it had been cooked during the Carter administration and had spent its time since in an old wooden drawer, the kind of drawer in which one commonly would find junk mail, a gross of pennies, a few #2 pencils, a padlock forever stuck shut due to the owner’s forgetting the combination, a jelly bracelet or two, a hair tie with a few hairs still clinging on bravely, and a keychain holding the keys to locks and vehicles long lost to the past. There isn’t one vaguely bacon-y thing about the flavor coming off of that stuff, whatever it is.
1:20pm- We ask for the check and receive it immediately. No apologies, no mentions of tardiness with the food, no acknowledgment of there being anything amiss whatsoever. Check total: $36.50. I throw down two twenties and we leave as if the place were on fire. In the background we hear a baby screaming.
1:35pm- We pull into the parking lot of Dad’s Kitchen, ask if they have any biscuits left over from breakfast. They do. They give us 7 beautiful drop biscuits for $3. We take them home, slather them with pumpkin butter and stare at each other as if we have just been through armed combat.
2:00pm- I reread the Yelp reviews, realizing too late that there are only two of them, and each has the suspicious ring of being written by friends of the establishment. If I had had the energy, I would have tried to shoot lasers through the internet.
Water’s Edge Bisto at Moon River Inn- 8201 Freeport Blvd, Sacramento
Food * Service * Atmosphere- honestly? do these star things matter anymore