Whole Wheat Pancakes -- The Little OwlThe Little Owl
If there is one time we generally hate to eat, it is Sunday at 9:30am. Not because it is relatively early, but because due to some outdated prohibition-era law, New York City restaurants are not supposed to serve booze before noon on Sundays. Needless to say, this is not a policy that sits well with us.
|You Expect Us to Leave Our Hermit Caves and You Won't Even Give Us a Drink, NYC?|
However, being that we've been at this blog for over three years, and until now, we have never before been able to secure a convenient reservation at The Little Owl -- the place we have to go in order to consume Alton Brown's favorite whole wheat pancakes from the CAKE WALK episode -- we decide to suck it up and deal with the fact that we might be forced to have a sober breakfast.
|We Won't Be Happy About It, But We'll Do It|
Of note, forty-five minutes before our reservation time, Vodka receives a text from a Little Owl employee, "confirming" our reservation. Naturally, Vodka's instant response to this happenstance is contempt, immediately forwarding the screenshot to Ginger with the caption, "Don't text me, Little Owl. We are not friends."
|Every Restaurant Should Be Placed on a Nationwide DO NOT TEXT List|
"They want to see how early they have to show up for work," Ginger quips by way of response, and less than an hour later, as she approaches the corner where the restaurant is located and sees Vodka hightailing it in the opposite direction, she assumes something must have already gone down with the waitstaff.
"Where you going?" she yells from thirty feet away through the silence of the West Village. Vodka, somehow correctly surmising that this question is meant for her, does not break stride as she calls back, without affect, "Instagram." It seems rather than doing anything blog-related for the past six months, Vodka has preferred to wile away her energies on her new favorite photo app, and she sees some ivy-covered townhouses across the street that she is eager to capture. When Vodka turns back around to take a picture of Little Owl's exterior, she finds Ginger hovering in the doorway peering at the menu.
"Get out of my frame!" she yells at her, and Ginger stumbles back into the street obediently.
It is only at this point,
after squawking back and forth at each other three times, that we deign
to greet one another and enter the restaurant.
|Because, You Know, Heaven Forbid We Reveal Our Identities|
|THIS Is the Place Where We Couldn't Get a Reservation for Three Years?|
The completely empty restaurant. Thanks for texting the confirmation, Little Owl, or else we don't know how you would have spared the table.
|Quick, Go Steal a Bottle of Wine Before They Prevent Us from Having One|
We settle into the corner by the windows, completely content that we have the place to ourselves. And then, like something out of a cartoon, the front door opens, two more brunchers enter, and are told to sit wherever they like... and they sit DIRECTLY NEXT TO US. Like, within spitting distance.
|Please Note the Stray Arm Getting in the Way of EVERY ONE OF OUR PICTURES|
Now, please keep in mind that the entire place is DESERTED. There is another window-view table one over from where they have chosen -- SIT THERE. But no, instead, these two feel the need to figuratively settle directly in our laps.
|Would You Like to Sample Our Coffees While You're At It?|
We are annoyed, because of course. But mostly, we are perturbed because we now think there is no way we will be able to sweet-talk our waiter into supplying us with some under-the-table pre-noon booze.
"What are you going to do?" Vodka whispers to Ginger when she sees her reading over the cocktail list.
"I'm going to order a bellini and and play dumb," Ginger answers. And when our waiter comes back with his notepad in hand, that is exactly what she does. And guess what? Instead of relaying the usual answer of "We can't serve alcohol before noon on Sundays," our waiter merely nods and jots down "bellini," along with Vodka's prosecco and grapefruit lemonade.
This is our new favorite place in the universe.
|We Take It Back, Little Owl -- You Can Text Us All You Like|
Along with our alcohol, Ginger asks for an iced coffee, and Vodka, a regular black coffee. When said caffeine arrives, Ginger insists that Vodka take a picture of her pouring the cream into her concoction. Vodka does so as quickly as possible... and then Ginger proceeds to pour practically the entire container of cream into the glass.
|And Two Days Later, She's Still Pouring|
"I like the sense of urgency you created about the picture prior to dumping in all of the cream," Vodka tells her. "I had hours to take that shot." Our cocktails arrive soon after, and we are so giddy from their mere presence that we temporarily grow less hostile toward our dining "companions" (of note: restaurant still empty).
|Perhaps We Can Move This Party Outside So We Will At Least Have Some Elbow Room|
For brunch, we order the whole wheat pancakes and the bacon cheeseburger, because if we're going to drink alcohol before 10AM, we might as well wash it down with some ground beef and French fries.
|Totally Normal Breakfast|
|Let's Just Pretend These Are Hashbrowns|
While we wait, we supply our next-door table neighbors with some gems of entertainment ("Well, how good of friends are you?" "We're good friends. I don't like her, but we spend a lot of time together.") Luckily for them, our mouths soon become occupied by our food, and of the two choices, one is a clear standout over the other.
And unfortunately, it's not Alton Brown's choice.
|Nice Try, Alton|
The whole wheat pancakes, which come in a stack sprinkled with powdered sugar and a smattering of fresh berries, along with bourbon maple syrup on the side, are good. I mean, they're pancakes -- even we can make pancakes, so we're not overly impressed.
|They're Also Fourth of July-Appropriate|
These patties are dense in texture but manage to stay light, with a certain melt-in-your-mouth quality about them. They're good, definitely. But for the most part, they're just pancakes.
|Also, We Don't Usually Eat Pancakes in a Stack, but We'll Try Our Best|
The burger, however, is about ten-times more interesting -- juicy and smothered in a generous helping of cheese, along with a couple slices of bacon.
|We Have a Future in Cheeseburger Photography|
|Portrait of a Pickle|
The French fries are crispy and mildly spicy, and we all but lick the entire platter clean (to be fair, we also completely decimate the pancake platter, but more because we don't like to be wasteful).
|Not to Be Outdone, Vodka Takes Four Days to Pour the Syrup|
However, the thing we are most taken by is the individual containers of ketchup and mayonnaise The Little Owl has supplied us with, along with a tiny bowl of sea salt -- after all, we always have a soft spot in our hearts for some condiments.
|We Did Not, Though We Were Tempted, Salt Our Pancakes|
We each down another cocktail while deciding that we will be generous in our debate over whether these pancakes deserve 3 or 4 stars, allowing The Little Owl to benefit from the fact that they got us tipsy.
|Double the Breakfast Pleasure|
As we leave, we continue to be flummoxed as to why this place so willingly handed us spiked beverages, while so many other locales have refused to do so.
"I think we just looked like we needed it," Ginger surmises, and indeed The Little Owl has just brought a whole new meaning to the phrase "It's not even noon [on Sunday] somewhere."The Little Owl's Whole Wheat Pancakes: 4 stars