Saturday, October 31, 2009

Oatmeal #5: City Cafe

Frankly, the sane among you should just stop reading right now, because this is the post that will change everything. (Literally. The entire universe will alter due to this post.) This is the post that will break all of the rules. (And by "rules" I obviously mean "standards to which I have until now adhered due to convenience.") After today, this blog will never be the same. Nor, I dare say, will your life. Some of you may call me a cheat. Some may call me a liar. Some may never look me in the face again. But I won't care! I spit in the face of your persecution! Just try and stop me from writing a post about an oatmeal NOT FROM CHICAGO!!

There. I said it. If you must break something in your anger, please refrain from making it one of your own body parts. (Someone else's are okay.) Anyway, yes, I have been bugging to blow this town since Chicago lost its Olympic bid on October 2nd (Obviously the third worst day in human history, right behind the day someone said "Twitter! That's a good idea!" and January 15,1919-I hear that one really sucked. (Sorry, MG, as I am aware that was your birthday.)), so last weekend I finally picked myself up from the Metaphorical Ditch of My Eternal Misery, changed out of my pajamas, had my "Chicago 2016" tat removed from my back, and drove down to Indianapolis to visit my "editor" EH. (I feel I should explain why I always put "editor" in quotes when referring to EH. I don't want you to think it's because she is not intelligent enough to be a real editor. Actually, she is pretty much extremely a genius. No, it is because, in order to be a real editor, you must have a real document to edit, and this blog is....less than that. So please, in the future, when I say "my "editor" EH," please think to yourself "that EH...what a Smarty McSmartypants.") Anyway, we visited an Indianapolisian restaurant specifically to try their oatmeal. What follows is the sordid tale.

We went to City Cafe, which I found by Googling "best oatmeal in Indianapolis." (I don't want to give anything away, but I think we can assume that Google was broken that day.) Anyway, their menu looked pretty decent, so we decided to try it out. It's this tiny cafe nestled in downtown Indy that just does breakfast and lunch, I believe. The FFA convention was in town that weekend (hick joke, hick joke! ok, yeah, so those aren't technically hicks, but...they could be), so it was kind of crowded, but we were seated fairly quickly in an exceptionally friendly Midwestern fashion (mean that the host approached the crowd of people waiting in the lobby and said "who is next?" and everyone else pointed to us and cheerfully said "they are!"). The restaurant was decorated with local Midwestern art, which actually means fence posts painted by local children to look like various Indiana-esque things (stalks of corn, Peyton Manning, race cars, the Brain Drain, etc.). I could have purchased my very own (quaint!), but unfortunately, my favorite was already claimed.

Anyway, obviously their menu gives very little information about their oatmeal (it just says "oatmeal our way"), so I asked the waitress about it. She said it was "basically a big bowl of granola." Well, clearly I was confused, because their next item on the menu WAS granola, so one had to they use them interchangeably? Alas, my important position as Head Oatmeal Tester requires me to ignore any misgivings about ordering the oatmeal, because if I won't try it, who will? Some fool who WON'T blog about it, that's who. THEN where would you be? Basically dead. ("Which way to the ground?") So I gathered my courage about me and ordered it with my head held high. Here are the results:
  • Price: The oatmeal alone was $5, then I got coffee, a scrambled egg ("Umm, we can't hard boil eggs." Seriously? Because scrambling an egg is so much EASIER? And the first time I saw that clip, I cried with laughter.), and an English muffin. With tax and tip, my total was $12.90. It's the most expensive oatmeal I have had, obviously, but it was also a restaurant setting as opposed to taking it to go. I think for restaurant oatmeal, that's a pretty good price. (6)
  • There was only one size, and it was indeed a whole bowl of oatmeal, as promised. I am guessing 14 ounces? Decently generous for the price. (6)
  • The toppings were interesting. They gave me milk and brown sugar (both of which I used liberally), and cranberries, blueberries, and some nuts (pecans, I think) were already mixed in. There may have been some raisins too, but it was kind of hard to tell. A fair selection, but mildly bothersome that most of it is already mixed in. Not to mention the fact that it was hard to tell what was even in it. And apparently they didn't want me to know, given the information on the menu. I did appreciate the milk, however, for reasons soon to be revealed. I suppose any restaurant oatmeal will be similar in terms of toppings already being included, but I find it annoying. (3)
  • Texture/appearance: Well, it certainly does look like "a big bowl of granola." As you can see, it is very...brown, and I have no idea why. The oatmeal was brown, the toppings were brown, everything was brown! Did they dye it? Who knows! And it was incredibly dry (hence the milk). Part of me is suspicious that a major ingredient IS granola. Because, even up close, it's very difficult to tell if there is any actual oatmeal included. I swear it was mostly Grape Nuts. Maybe they include the milk because there is no actual liquid in the oatmeal? Who knows. It was the strangest oatmeal I have eaten so far, that's for sure. Perhaps instead of "steel cut oats" or "rolled oats" these were...I don't know..."oats pulled from Paul Bunyan's pocket after roaming the woods for two months (wood included)." (1) (Can someone please explain to me why Paul Bunyan A) wears Uggs B) need suspenders AND a belt, especially since he apparently pioneered (HAR!) skinny jeans C) has a beard that not only threatens to encompass his entire face like some sort of ape man, but ALSO seems to have overtaken the bill of his hat (or it's just a really bad attempt at some sort of Bible times disguise), D) is trying to make someone explode with his eyes, and E) is doing that to that man. I am pretty sure that is the worst statue/monument/thing ever. Or maybe not. I should mention that I was born 3 miles from that Abe thing.)
  • Temperature: It was hot enough (and it should be, given that they just have to walk it seven feet from the kitchen to my table), but I would have liked it to be hotter, and once you add the milk, it obviously cools down. (5)
  • Taste: Not only did this oatmeal look strange, it tasted really strange, too. (Change "strange" to "bad," and you'll have a more accurate idea.) It had an inexplicable, very heavy, bran-y sort of taste. Kind of like...burnt raisin bran mixed with Grape Nuts and milk. Basically, it didn't taste like oatmeal at all. Or anything good, for that matter. Well, I suppose in the interest of full disclosure, I should say that the first couple of bites were at least okay, and then from there it was an Epic Death March To Mr. Disgusting. (Before you try it don't do a Google Image Search of "disgusting." You'll regret it.) I didn't even finish half of the oatmeal, a first for me. So the fact that someone called this the "best oatmeal in Indianapolis" means that either a) that person has horrific taste or b) Indianapolis is the oatmeal cesspool of the world. I am rather disappointed in the 14th largest city in our country (bigger than Atlanta and Boston!). (1)
  • I am not even going to try to guess the caloric content. Let's just say seven, so I can feel better about myself. Something so not tasty must have next to no calories.
  • Intangibles: The rest of my food was pretty good, as was what my "editor" ordered. I wore this shirt (don't look if you haven't seen/read Harry Potter 6!) to the restaurant, and I have found that every element of my life is dramatically improved when that shirt is present. Perhaps because if people treat me rudely, I can just threaten to reveal my shirt to them and therefore ruin their cinematic lives for ever. ("Your oatmeal is an embarrassment," I cry. I unzip my track jacket with a flourish so emphatic, my thumbs begin to bleed. The waitress throws her hands over her eyes and starts to scream. The man in the booth next to me begins to weep hysterically, shouting "how could you?!?!" over and over. Someone grabs the locally-painted fence post and stabs it into their eyes. I calmly stroll out of the restaurant as lightening strikes the lamp post right outside the door. End scene.) SPEAKING of HP VI, I went and saw it while I was in Indy, and it has to be one of the most interesting movie experiences of my life. Exhibit A) The person talking throughout the movie on their cell phone on SPEAKERPHONE. Exhibit B) The man who fell asleep halfway through and snored louder than I had previously thought humanly possible. C) The man who leaned forward to check on said Sleeping Man by waving his hands in front of his face, prompting EH to say "I thought for a minute that he was going to smother him!" (It was just that kind of atmosphere.) D) The boy who, prior to the movie starting (it started 30 minutes late) asked each and every person "are you a Harry Potter fan?" Clearly he was patrolling for posers. E) EH and I getting hit on by several 19-year-old whippersnappers. I warded them off by crying, "You, sir, are no gentleman!" then slapping them across the face with my leather glove and threatening to reveal my shirt. All of the above, combined with many other Stories That Would Make Your Toenails Curl, lead us to sprint from the movie theater and across the parking lot as soon as the credits rolled, while EH wailed "why did I park so far away?" I was fairly certain at one point that we were going to be shot. Fortunately for you, I was not, or else you would have been left forever wondering if anyone would unseat Cosi. Also, I feel that I should note that I smacked my knee on the booth as I was leaving. Moral: get a table. Especially if you have clumsy knees. (1)
TOTAL: 6+6+3+1+5+1+1=23

Another fairly weak showing. I was rather disappointed, though I suppose the phrase "oatmeal our way" really does leave the door open for taking all sorts of liberties. And City Cafe stormed right through that door and then slammed it in my face!

Well, I hope you have a great Halloween. I am going as Lucille Bluth, and my sister said she saw someone dressed as a giant wedgie, so I sense it is going to be a good day all around. Not so much for this guy or this guy. (Oh man, that last one gets tough to watch about halfway through. But still worth it.)

Oh dear. I apologize. How did this post get so LONG?

1 comment:

  1. shame shame on city cafe. next time you come to down we're taking you to THREE SISTERS! i haven't had their oatmeal, but the rest of their breakfast is excellent. we must vindicate indianapolis as a happenin' spot for oatmeal lovers.