7 Gorgeous Girls & a Grumpy Server

Maybe Kent isn’t a morning person; although 10 am is hardly early.  Could it be that it was destined to be the hottest, sunniest day of the year & he was inside, working?  Maybe he just needed another cup of coffee.  Or, perhaps a mimosa would’ve done the trick.  While we can only hazard a guess as to the cause of his discontent, one thing we knew for sure: he was grumpy.

I mean, we weren’t trying to be PITAs.  Truly, we weren’t.  Heck, we were happy – all 7 of us.  How could we not be?  7 gorgeous girls gathered together for a leisurely brunch in a beautiful, rustic Spanish eatery in Madison Park.  On the most beautiful day of the year so far, no less.  In the scheme of things, this was shaping up to be a brilliant day.

 It’s almost 2 months since Elizabeth, Nazy, Laura and I  met over brunch, and boy, did we have a great time.  Not so surprising then, that for this brunch, our little gaggle of gal pals has almost doubled.  Lori, Caryn & Paula joined us today.  The common denominator is still that chick Julie, who I still haven’t met.  Look, Julie, we know you live in New York, but are you really going to let a few thousand miles keep you from a gorgeous gal-pals gathering?

I’d been awake since 4 am, up since 5:30 and had my first breakfast at around 6:15, when I realized there was absolutely no way I could get all the way to 10:30 without eating.  It was a wiser move than I thought at the time.  Harvest Vine serve brunch “Tapas Style”.  And this, dear readers, is what started our *server situation* on a slippery, downhill path.  Who invented this whole tapas thing  anyway?  I blame them, whoever they are, wholeheartedly.

 Harvest Vine is a truly adorable place to hang out.  Seemingly tiny upstairs, it opens out to a huge space downstairs with a wall of windows providing us with a stream of sunlight.  The decor is brilliantly executed down to the last detail.  Maybe we would have fared better with Kent if we had talked in Spanish?

Excited about the rave reviews that Harvest Vine has garnered for it’s food, we opened the menus.  Oh.  So.  Hang on.  Elizabeth wanted Huevos a la Flamenca (Baked Eggs).  So, frankly, did I.  But…if this is all served tapas-style…that means we have to share?  Yes.  Share.  As Elizabeth pointed out, “I’m already bitter.”

The rest of us just couldn’t work out how we would share a dish of two baked eggs between 7 of us.  Or how big each dish was.  Or how one dish of Baked Eggs could be enough for 2 people or 4 people or 7 people all for the same price.  Clearly, we were missing something.  Desperate to make sense of it all and also get some food on the table, we looked to Kent to enlighten us.  Alas, Kent was clearly not in the mood to dish out anything even close to enlightening.  “No”, we could not break the rules & chose one dish each.  “No”, we could not get everything all at the same time.  “No”.  Just “No”.

So, we voted Elizabeth in as chief spokes-gal & she ordered a pile of dishes, hoping that once the food was on the table, all would become clear.

Huevos a la Flamenca - baked eggs with chorizo, jamon serrano, asparagus tomato frito & bechamel ($11)

Tortilla Espanola – potato-onion omelet & ali oli with mixed green salad ($8)

Plato de Jamon y Queso – jamon serrano, cana de cabra goat cheese, & honeydew melon ($11)

Caracolillos – carolina’s sweet buns, vanilla bean sugar (2 for $5:50)

Espinacas – slow roasted tomatoes, spinach, lemon bechamel & poached egg ($13)

And just for Elizabeth…those Huevos a la Flamenca, again.

 Given that the idea of tapas ”is to encourage conversation because people are not so focused upon eating an entire meal that is set before them” this was a brilliant idea for a large gaggle of girls all wanting to bond.  Except that I came away feeling like I’d had missed out on the foodie experience.  Sharing each dish between 7 means that you literally get one bite of each, aka not enough to know whether you liked it or not, whether it was good or not.  Thinking about it, I’ve decided that maybe breakfast is not a good meal to serve tapas-style.  Between 2 people I can totally see it working, but we still don’t know how to split the dishes pictured above into 7.   And we are still confused about why the kitchen couldn’t just rustle up 7 dishes all at the same time and let us pick one each that we didn’t share.

The presentation was beautiful.  I suspect, from the bites that I had, that the food is *really* good.  But I need to go back there again, with just 1 other person, so that we can eat our way through several dishes and get a real taste for it all.  I do think, though, that had Kent not been grumpy, or had we had a different (jolly) server, the whole experience would likely have been very different.  Which just goes to prove that dining is simply not all about the food.

 At the end of the day, we had a wonderful time anyway.  We chatted the hind legs off of several donkeys, laughed a LOT & reminded ourselves how pets are so much easier than children.  Tall tales were told about various new forms of exercise that people had tried & Lori shared how she regularly meets with dogs the size of ponies in the elevator of her condo.  Big dogs, it seems, are very popular in Kirkland.  It is amazing where the conversation can go when you get 7 excitable women out for a Sunday brunch.

Harvest Vine – I really want to love you.  I’ve heard so many good things about you.  I am sure I will. I already like you a lot, but I am just holding back a little before I jump in with both feet.

Que sera, sera.

 PS. The Caracolillos were ridiculously good.  I’d go back just to eat 4 of those with a big mug of hot chocolate.  Yum.

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*SANE™, inSANE, SANEity – terms used in Jonathan Bailor’s books, The Smarter Science of Slim (out of print) and The Calorie Myth.

What does SANE mean? Click here.Want more scrumptious recipes? Click here to check out my SANE Cookbooks!

Natasha - I’ve been to Harvest Vine twice and have eaten there never. That’s right, never. Once when the group of people I was with decided that it didn’t look like it was hearty enough for the appetites and the twice? The unfriendly server. I’d really like to try it, but if I don’t feel welcome, I ain’t staying. Maybe you and I can go and eat, because I, too, want to love it. It’s such a beautiful place. Mmmmm, tortilla con papas y cebollas! En un bocadillo, es increible. With ketchup.

Natasha - And that IS the fanciest way to serve a tortilla I have ever seen. And I’ve seen a lot of tortillas!

cb - Yes! Let’s you and me go and share a bunch of stuff. With or without the ketchup. As long as your there. Really is a shame about the grumpy server…

Deidre - can someone please talk nicely to kent or the chef and get me the recipe for the eggs, ham and bechamel sauce tapas. I had it in spain once and have lusted after it since.

we have our own girly clique here where we live in Northern Ireland. We call ourselves the alternative WI because we are SO NOT twin sets and pearls if you get my meaning.

Go back and get that recipe please…. and try to enjoy yourself whilst doing so ;)

Dee

cb - Dee – I will see what I can do! Thanks for stopping by….and Hello, Northern Ireland!

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Adolph Idol - Hi! I’ve been reading your blog for some time now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Dallas Tx! Just wanted to say keep up the fantastic job!

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