Posted by Tegan O'Neill
How can you resist feeling cheery while at Sweet Mimi's Cafe? You are surrounded by 360 degrees of pink and your ears hear nothing but mellow jazz. The coffee comes to the table quickly in generously sized mugs, and though it might not be as strong as you would like, it holds the promise of eventual caffeination. What's more, your server is perpetually peppy, and, evidently, does not believe in frowns.
With the decor, the wall decals and the garden party wicker chairs, Sweet Mimi's feels a bit like the setting of a little girl's birthday party. Choosing from the temptations offered on the menu feels like selecting between fetchingly wrapped presents. Both the specials board and the regular bill of fare are jumbled with long titles of scrumptious sounding choices. Specialty items outnumber the humdrum--a rare occurrence on menus. When you are deciding between the likes of lemon ricotta or bacon pancakes, it is like having the devil whisper in both of your ears.
You can feel satisfied with your decision to settle on the raspberry streusel-baked French toast, served with raspberries perched on an oversized pillow of whipped cream. Even though raspberry season is far over, one taste of these raspberries and you can picture the bushes right over yonder, brimming with fresh berries. Maybe expectations for the toast itself were too high at the first forkful; couldn't it use a smidgen more cinnamon? A little more orange zest? And wouldn't some kind of creamy filling stuffed inside make it that much more satisfying? Nevertheless, you are more forgiving the deeper you get into it, and before you know it, it's all gone.
The strata, on the other hand, is love at first bite. Fluffy squares of peasant bread hold sausage, peppers and onions which have been caramelized to the point of transparency. Soft sprigs of asparagus peek out here and there. The creation pays homage to savory bread pudding, quiche and Thanksgiving stuffing. It's eggy. It's golden. It's homespun, and yet still utterly flavorful. It's the compilation of best hits: breakfast edition.
After you have polished off your plate and swigged the last of your coffee, you still must make it past a display case of sweet, gooey confections before reaching the door. Thank goodness you are filled to the brim; otherwise, these sweets would be too tantalizing to pass up. You will just have to come back later to try one of the chocolate
chip cookies. In fact, you might even come back later today.