Saturday, May 24, 2008
Cafe Marie, Toledo Ohio
Breakfast at Marie/Scrambler Marie/Cafe Marie has been a Toledo institution for breakfast for years and speaks soundly to the lack of quality breakfast joints in Toledo. While some of the omelette options seem interesting, I can make better eggs at home for less money. Wanting pancakes, I ordered pancakes. A big breakfast fan and especially a fan of pancakes, the concept of "bottomless" pancakes seemed perfect to me. Bottomless pancakes and french toast in a multitude of flavors for under $8 an order, even better......or so you would think. So, how does one make bottomless pancakes not amazing? By making not-amazing pancakes!
To keep this brief, while the options were certainly better than the transfat laden bellybombs at Bob Evans or IHOP, the flavor wasn't. My mother opted for the pancakes with strawberries and whipped cream which arrived just as described......3 dry pancakes made with Bisquick like batter, topped with frozen strawberries (thawed) and canned whipped cream. Lame. My sister selected the Berry Nutty cakes which had craisins and walnuts baked into the lifeless batter while I selected the almond and honey granola option. While both were better than mom's choice as the batter was slightly improved with the additions, neither were palatable without the addition of copious amounts of syrup (likely a storebought brand, certainly not 100% maple) from a glass pitcher.
Not digging the pancakes, my aunt selected the special "Stuffed" french toast with strawberry cream cheese. White bread wrapped around a smear of less-than-Panera-quality creamed cheese, and only griddle fried on the outsides (aka, white bread in the middle) and topped with powdered sugar. The dish tasted merely 'okay' but not even good enough for me to finish the one slice given to me to taste.
While the breakfast items were mediocre, I will give Marie's credit for their stunningly good coffee and tea service. 10+ different varieties of herbal teas plus large pitchers of hot water, plus two quality coffees (regular and a suprisingly good creme brulle) were served for only $1.50/person. Alas, our server was either new or simply bad at her job and completely forgot to return with refills, prompting us to ask a neighboring server for more coffee when the restaurant was less than 1/3 full.
All told, I'd not return to Marie's. While Toledo seems to lack good 'original' breakfast spots and I strongly dislike Bob Evans, IHOP, and Cracker Barrel, all provide better tasting pancakes and better overall service. For good pancakes in Toledo, check out Uncle Johns or Original Pancake House out towards Westgate. For good pancakes on the east side.....get on allrecipes.com and head over to Meijer for ingredients.