Monday, November 26, 2012

Where Everybody Knows Your Name - The Red Door Cafe

 Warning: Review may contain content inappropriate for readers under 18 years of age. Proceed with caution.

My friend AD loves brunch. It is perhaps his favorite way to meet new people. He'll invite total strangers into his home and by the end of brunch, they'll be hugging goodbye and exchanging inside jokes. He's sassy, has a great sense of humor and a giant heart. He is genuinely face value and he will not take crap from anyone.

His home is small but cozy, despite the 'unconventional' decor. If you come with an open mind, you'll realize it's the safest you've ever felt at brunch--but more importantly, you'll realize you didn't feel safe at brunch before.

AD's home is a 'be who you are, judge free' zone. It's extremely LGBT friendly, it's delightfully inappropriate and brimming with positive energy. Servers greet you with a genuine smile and if they ask you how you're doing, it's a real inquiry, not a obligatory question. The walls are plastered with love letters to the experience, complete with drawings of AD's fabulous legs. That may sound odd, but you'll understand when you see them.

His home is not a place you take your conservative friends or uptight relatives. They are likely to be rude without even realizing why it's rude and AD has no qualms telling someone when they're being an asshole.

Regardless if you think his personal style is bold, he is not a spectacle for you to take pictures without permission. He is your host and like every other human being, he deserves your respect. His home is not a place for bad attitude or gossip. His home is not a place for the impatient or self-entitled.

His home is the Red Door Cafe.

I'm telling you this because I need you to take every expectation you don't even realize you have about a cafe/restaurant and throw it out the window. It's imperative that should you decide to join AD for brunch, you remember it's his home.

Because when you're in someone's home, your demeanor is different. You don't order off the menu, you don't ask your friend to alter their recipe just for you--(unless you have allergies, then I can understand). And if you do treat your friend's home like a restaurant  you may find their invitation retracted quicker than you can say "Check, please?".

Most restaurants display a notice that they reserve the right to refuse service to anyone. At the Red Door, they actually mean it. And you can give him lip, you can get huffy and bitch (and it will confirm his suspicions that you are not the kind of brunch guest he wants) and you can even write a bad review because it will make you feel like you have SOME control.

But you don't. Your complaints will be drowned out, because those who see them will roll their eyes and know you were probably the asshole who metaphorically refused to wipe their muddy feet at the door.

On Saturday, I met AD on my first trip to the Red Door.  He gushed over my hair and we bonded over style and then both I and my brunch companion were handed some old  dolls (which had both a too-loved and Wednesday-Adams-tried-to-set-me-on-fire kind of charm to them) as we waited to be led to our seats.

We passed the time between ordering and receiving our food chatting with the servers, AD himself and even the rest of the cafe, as well as playing ring toss with colored rings and a strap-on dildo on the table.

If any of this even makes you slightly uncomfortable, remember you do not have to eat there. I seriously advise you just not to go. You'd be wasting your time and theirs.

Now let me continue to the food.

I'm glad I read reviews before I went because one was entirely about the chai. I love chai. It's perhaps my favorite caffeine source. So when I read a review that raved about it being just the right combination of spicy and sweet, of course I ordered it.

It. Was. DELICIOUS. First of all, not only was that reviewer right, but whoever was manning the java and caffeine supply knows how to make some damn fine foam. Soft, velvety, perfect foam. Oh, and did I mention it was served in a bowl?

Kiri heaaaaaven.

Then out of the MANY delicious items on the menu, I went for the french toast.

Fresh fruit, powdered sugar, excellent syrup and FABULOUS presentation.

Cinnamon swirl in every bite (hee hee), a hint of vanilla and sweet banana topping. The syrup itself, I suspect, is organic as it lacked that sickly sweet high fructose corn-syrup  tinge that most syrups can't seem to shake. Instead the mapley goodness drew out the sweetness of the fruit and made the perfect topping. The toast was cooked excellently, was moist but not soggy and still held its own against the syrup. Nothing worse than french toast that does a little too well as a sponge.

This dish did not disappoint. And I finished it off by chewing on some fresh mint.

While the food was amazing, my above all favorite was the environment. It was like meeting an entire group of new friends that I'd somehow known for years. When I left on Saturday, it was reluctantly. AD and I took a picture together (and I'm tempted to call the cafe to get a copy actually because they were wicked cute pictures), we hugged and kissed cheeks and said our goodbyes.

Would I go back to the Red Door Cafe?

I'm already planning my return trip.

Is it for everyone?

Nah, but few things are.

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