This morning I woke up unusually early for a Saturday and scrapped plans to do a post about ice cream spots (probably next week now) and instead headed down to Window Box Cafe after the gym for breakfast. This cute little cafe is located on Five Star Blvd, not too far from Costco. Although the open sign facing the street was on, when I pulled into the very empty parking lot I wondered if they really were open or not (looking at their posted hours now I see they run from 7:30a-2p every day). The doors were unlocked and I stepped into a quiet lobby, where I could see part of the dining room, empty, just beyond. Within 10 seconds a woman came around the corner, greeted me and grabbed a menu as she told me to pick any table. She would end up being not only my server and cashier but also the only worker I saw during my visit.
She offered coffee to get me started as I settled into my seat near the open patio entrance, which let in a nice cool breeze now and then. The menu is a pretty general breakfast menu, nothing too fancy aside from a handful of crepes and eggs Benedicts. The lunch side is equally standard with burgers, sandwiches and salads. I sipped my coffee while my eyes ping ponged around the menu trying to find the right item. With a packet of sugar and a little French vanilla creamer it was totally fine. I think It came hot but cooled off rapidly in it’s mug, likely due to my proximity to the open door.
I ended up deciding on the Corned Beef Hash & Eggs (2 eggs any style served over house made seasoned corned beef with country potatoes, bell peppers & onions)[$15]. Most of the items in this section of the menu come with a choice of hash browns, country potatoes or fruit. This dish effectively makes that choice for you, but you also get another selection of either toast or mini pancakes. That was an easy decision since I had considered ordering a short stack anyway.
My order took just about 10 minutes. By this time about a half dozen parties had arrived and the quiet atmosphere was replaced with the bustling kitchen and conversation that echoed around the room easily. The kitchen appeared to have a long window with some light folding shutters to block it off, but it let most of the noise through. I think it would get very noisy here when they are packed.
I had ordered my eggs over medium, which is always hit and miss nearly everywhere, and I think they did a great job on them which lifted my expectations a bit as I started buttering up my pancakes. The breeze made me work quickly through everything so I could enjoy it while it was hot. The pancakes were nice and fluffy. The maple syrup didn’t seem to be “the good stuff” but it was heated up which sort of made up for that a bit.
As for the main dish, I found myself pretty disappointed with it. While the potatoes, peppers, onions and eggs were all perfectly good, the main attraction of this dish really fell short. It was supremely dry, stringy and chewy. Nothing like that almost melt-in-your-mouth ultra tender corned beef, edges crisped up a bit on the griddle, most places serve up. The flavor was ok, just difficult to enjoy through the unpleasant texture.
Portion-wise this was just right, even with the mini pancakes. I ate every last bite and left satisfied without feeling like I needed a nap. The service was fast, efficient and polite. Ultimately though, I would rather brave the crowds at Four Sisters just a few blocks away, even if they might be slightly pricier. Which is a shame because I had heard good feedback about Window Box.