Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Lunching al Fresco Again: Crumpets

The patios at Crumpets
I wrote the other day that La Fogata has the nicest patio in town. I had forgotten about Crumpets'. I had lunch there today, and was reminded of just how nice it was. Not at all the same ambiance of Old Mexico, but relaxing and refreshing none the less.

Crumpets has an undeserved reputation for high prices. I probably shouldn't say anything to undermine that, because one of the things I like best about having lunch there is the thinness of the crowd. The patio areas, where I always sit in fine weather like today's, has about a dozen tables, and today there were only two others occupied. The artificial stream that runs through the grounds was empty today --- their pump was damaged by a fallen tree that was washed into it in the recent heavy rains --- but somehow that didn't detract from the setting at all. It was still like being in the Hill Country, pleasantly quiet and green, instead of in the city.

Service at Crumpets is really, really good. Everything is attended to, every tedious customer request fulfilled expeditiously. I'm sure the wait staff are back there talking about how many baskets of bread we asked for --- the croissants they offer are almost tasty enough to excite a Frenchman --- or how much water we took in, but when they get to the table they are professional, polite, cheerful, thoughtful, informative, prompt and caring; yet not overbearing. This is something I've observed every time I go to the place, which isn't as often as it deserves.

Today I decided on a light lunch: I'm going to the beach next summer, and don't want people trying to roll me back into the ocean, so I need to start now losing some weight. I went for the tortilla soup and a house salad. My lunch partner was miffed, because that's what she was going to order, so just to keep from copying me she ordered the "special" salad, which had, I don't know, shrimp on it? She said they smelled fishy, and was not being ironic, but didn't ask me to try them, so I don't know. It might've been her; maybe she was in a mood. Anyway, she didn't bring it up with our waitress; but I've marked the "food" rating down half a chile pepper just in case it was the shrimp, and not her.

What does that mean?
The tortilla soup was full of big chunks of chicken, and the tortilla strips had an excellent texture to them, neither crisp nor flaccid (both being functions of how long they'd been in the broth). The other ingredients are served on a separate plate, so you can take as much or as little as you please. A little pretentious, maybe, but I liked that touch. 

Serving sizes are adequate for real people, nothing like the overblown things we're getting so used to, now that food is so cheap in this country. The salad, with just the right amount of delicious creamy house dressing, was large enough to cover the entire plate, and the sous-chef who prepares the salad seems almost to remember that nothing in a salad should be bigger than a lady's mouth (one of my pet peeves). When the soup was first brought to me, I was disappointed not to have been given a bowl big enough to swim in, but by the time I was finished I was certainly satisfied with what I'd had. 

Maybe the restaurant's location, just off Harry Wurzbach and almost invisible from the road, is why so few people seem to go there at lunch. Maybe it's not the undeserved reputation for pricey food. Or maybe they just left something off the bill by mistake, because I was out of there for about ten bucks, including tip, and I'd had a goodly amount of excellent food for that money. I don't now recall the prices of other things I've had there before, but I do know that I've never felt cheated after dining there. That's probably why I keep going back when I'm in that part of town.

Crumpets on Urbanspoon

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