Sunday, June 08, 2008

Hoaglin's: good. Spaghetti Factory: bad.

Laura and I tried a new restaurant (new to us, at least) for breakfast this morning: Hoaglin's Cafe on Mass Ave downtown. We were highly impressed -- the room was welcoming and cheery, the staff was friendly, and the food was excellent. I had the vanilla challah French toast, and Laura had the heaping bagel sandwich with bacon and cheese, and both were yummy. Hers came with a pile of au gratin potatoes, which were also good. Everything's apparently made in house, with none of their menu coming prepackaged or pre-prepared, and their recipes are great. It was a bit pricey for breakfast, but I suspect that Hoaglin's will be a nice occasional treat for us when we feel like spoiling ourselves with a nice breakfast out. In almost every respect, Hoaglin's is a lot like our other fancy breakfast haunt: Cafe Patachou. Hoaglin's has better coffee, I think. But they don't have Patachou's granola-encrusted croissant French toast, which might be the perfect breakfast food.

And, the Old Spaghetti Factory has been crossed off our list of restaurants. I've always liked it; it's a cheap, good meal, and you really can't go wrong with pasta. You could get a complete meal at OSF for about what you'd pay for a comparable food-court pasta dinner at the mall, and the quality and ambience was much better. But I found out Friday that they've re-done their menu. They did it for the traditional restaurant reason: they wanted to raise their prices. And they really raised their prices. The $6.75 Manager's Favorite plate (spaghetti with two sauces of your choice, bread, salad, and spumoni) is now $9.75, and you've got to pay extra for the salad. It's more than a 50% price increase. And it's officially pushed the price for a dinner for two from $20-ish, to $35+, before beverages. For the money, there are a lot of other restaurants with better food and better service. Because really, OSF doesn't have a lot to recommend it over the other restaurants downtown, once you remove "inexpensive" from the equation.

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