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Lions, Tigers & Beignets, Oh My!

Well.  This is a first.  Never have I ended up having more images of the venue than the food.  Thinking about it, that’s a good indication of how my first trip to Oddfellows went down.  Owned by the same peeps as the awesome Smith over on 15th Ave, I was pretty excited, and of course, had high expectations for it’s sibling cafe.

Oddfellows is adorable.  Facing east, the sun shines through the almost-floor-to-ceiling windows which open out over the sidewalk.  One of the cute little tables in the window, on a sunny morning, is just a fabulous place to sit.

And there ain’t much more adorable than the white painted tables and chairs, complete with cheery yellow & purple potted pansies, dotted along Oddfellows sidewalk.  Had it not still been a little brisk when I showed up, I would have {very} happily sat out there.

Inside was just as cute.  A large open space filled with pretty little wooden tables, industrial metal chairs & glorious rustic benches.  Long benches down two of the walls made it feel like a communal affair, where friends & neighbors might gather to catch up on all the latest neighborly news & goings on.

If you’re a regular to my little blog (THANK YOU for following along!) you will know that I am a Baked Egg Fanatic.  And aficionado.  I had them at Smith & darn it all, I was going to have them at Oddfellows.  Super tasty!  Extra cream – yum!  But, horror of horrors: the eggs were hard.  And, just like at Smith – TOO. MUCH. SALT.  Maybe the chef from Smith was over at Oddfellows doing double duty.  Or maybe it was the other way around.  Or maybe they just trained together.  There is salt on the table so that saltophiles (yes, I just made that up) can add extra if they want.  Whoa!  Go easy on the salt in the kitchen.  Please.

An eclectic mix of old & new including a counter reminisent of candy shops of old – brightly colored sweets bagged up ready to make any child’s eyes shine with delight.  With a warm, bustling vibe, this is just a great place to hang.  And popular?  Oh my.  While I sat & people-watched I made note:  Beards are “in”.  At least on the Pine / Pike corridor of Capitol Hill.  And black.  Black is definitely “in”.

Despite all the goodness I got grumpy real fast.  I got grumpy as soon as I figured out that I couldn’t get any real food until 9 am, when it was only 8:05.  Lovely people – your website does not make that clear and I was hungry!  And another thing: give us a sign.  A sign that says, “Hello, beloved customer.  Here’s how it works.  Grab a seat – any one’s a winner – and then, when you’re ready, mosey on up to the counter & order whatever you want.  Once it’s ready, we’ll whisk it to your table.”

I got grumpier still because I had to line up twice.  Once to get a cup of cha when I got there at 8:05 and then again at 9:00 to get some grub.  By which time I was almost ready to gnaw a leg off my table.  The line at 9 am was L – O – N – G.  Some folks wanting to eat a meal in, & a bunch of folks wanting to grab and go.  Running the whole joint this way made things interminably slow. Plus I had to do the whole credit card thing twice.  I actually wanted dessert after my eggs, but I just didn’t have the heart to do the whole line & credit card thing for the 3rd time.  Sigh.

The regulars, of course, all knew what to do.  I’ll know better for next time, but I do wish my virginal Oddfellows experience hadn’t felt the way that it did.

Oddfelllows have collected accolades up the ying-yang over the last year, so I know that a lot of my discontent was more likely me, not them.  Nevertheless, I was discontent.  While I am at it…I didn’t want an ecotainer.  I wanted a cup, a mug, a something made of china.  I was drinking in, not running out.  To-go cups make me feel like, well, like I have to go, and I wanted to stay.  Just sayin’.

I wanted to *love* Oddfellows.  I am sure I will, soon.  There was nothing major wrong…just lots of niggly little things.  I am sure it will be different when I go back.  When I know what I am doing.  When I turn up at the right time.  When I order everything the first time I line up.  When I get china & to add my own salt.

I am certain that Oddfellows is a fabulous place to brunch or lunch or just grab a coffee & cake.  Hundreds of happy Capitol Hillers can’t be wrong.  The stars just didn’t all align for me this visit.  I’ll be back!

PS. Thanks for the great post title, Oddfellows peeps :-)

Oddfellows Cafe & Bar on Urbanspoon

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