Thursday, October 9, 2014

Jines Restaurant

Maybe it's just my recent binge re-visiting of the Sopranos, but Jines' radio tagline "Sooner or later everybody dines at Jines" sounds more like a threat than a catchphrase to me, or at best a resignation that there are only so many places to eat in a small town. No matter how you interpret it, it's true. On this chilly but sunny morning I made my way over to Park Ave to get strength for grading sketchbooks.

It was a little after eight and moderately busy as I stepped up to the front counter and took a look at the menu. I didn't notice a breakfast sandwich section or even one listed among the regular breakfast items but on the well-worn specials page I found the Sandwich Special: "one egg, cheese, and your choice of bacon or ham served on a croissant." A croissant? Sure, why not! I started my order and the hostess opened up her central command computer to enter it:
"How do you want your egg?"
Presented with choices I realized how sleepy I still was. "Fried!"
"Fried. Over hard?"
" Not over hard."
"Just fried?"
"Wait, no, soft. I mean easy. Runny is good."
She smiled and repeated: "Runny is good."

I thought the hard part was over but then we got to the cheese. "Uhhhhhhmerican," but as soon as she hit the button on her terminal I started an elaborate thought process about croissants and what cheese goes best: Do they have brie? Is that too cliche? Is that too delicious? Have I ever had brie with bacon? Is that going to send me into cardiac arrest? I asked her for the cheese options. There were a bunch but the ones I remember were American, Swiss, crumbly blue, and our mutual mispronunciation of Gruyere. Even slurred and sleepy that sounded like it would be good on a croissant. "That's like a hard Swiss, yes?" She checked with someone behind her. "Yes, like a hard Swiss." After all this I decided to keep to my usual diner routine and get American. At this point she had every right to be annoyed but thankfully seemed entertained by this whole process. I appreciate that.

Lastly: meat. Although I haven't reviewed a sandwich here with ham on it, it's a pretty great salt delivery system and I have it all the time. Ham and croissant seemed like the obvious choice. And some home fries. She hit send and I took a seat to wait.

A few minutes of playing on my phone and I remembered to go take a picture of the menu so I'd remember how much it was and just as I snapped it the hostess walked out with my bag. She looked at me askew. "I need to remember what I ordered," I sheepishly offered in the hope that it was vague enough that she would leave it alone.
"Oh, you're getting this for someone else," she concluded. She had been so helpful up 'til now I couldn't let it go.
"No, the jig is up, I'm going to review this."
"Oh! In that case, enjoy it!" We smiled and I headed out the door. Quite possibly the most pleasant breakfast sandwich ordering exchange ever.

I got home and took a look in the giant take-out container: Top of the croissant offset to showcase the cheese and ham, a little garnish for color, and some golden, delicious looking home fries. I dug in. Oh man, the struggle to make decisions, converse, and get home were worth it: buttery bread alongside melted cheese, slightly chewy sweet/salty ham, and an egg that was not too hard. I was hungry and kept eating until I got to the yolk which exploded all over my hand. And then I kept eating. I was very hungry and it was really good. I finished the sandwich quickly but before disappointment could set in I hit the home fries: crispy edges, seasoned to perfection. This was a great breakfast, so much so I have written all this instead of grading sketchbooks. Oops.

Jines Restaurant
Sandwich cost: $3.95
Rating: It's a really delicious egg sandwich

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