Saturday, February 13, 2010

A Saturday Morning in Portland: Breakfast at Cup & Saucer

I was upstairs, looking through some Kodaks that had come back from the drugstore when I heard "Western Union" float through one of the double-hungs that Dolly-girl had open to air out the house. "Western Union for Fiora D'Mestiere!" I heard the water stop in the kitchen--Dolly-girl was peeling some parsnips to put in with a roast--and then some rustling in her purse to get a tip for the boy, then the door. The envelope ripped open and a whoop came out of her. "Kay Anthony and Anthony Kay are coming to Stumptown for a visit. This wire is beating them by about 3 or 4 hours. They must have stopped in Yakima to send it." That was good news; a visit from Kay and Anthony was always a treat.

It so happened that Kitty was out of town on some business south of two borders south of here, so Kay and Anthony set up shop at her place and kept and eye on Kitty's cats. They arrived after the evening feedbags were put away, but we had a couple knock-em-backs to welcome them to town. We did some hand waving--Kay's a hand waver if you follow--around a plan and settled on a dose of bird seed at Cup & Saucer, up and avenue from where me and Dolly-girl set the brake. We'd been there before.

Cup & Saucer is a joint that makes their business tending to your lunch and breakfast without giving you the business over some fancy whadda-ya-want or "Do you have reservations?" I always want to say, "Yes, but I'm going to eat here anyway..." Dolly-girl shoots me one through the wave for that. Anyway, they got all the standards and plenty of never-thought-of-doing-thats that they scribble on what would have been a black board back when boards were black and chalk was white instead of boards being white and chalk replaced by some foul smelling marker.

If you get to Cup & Saucer too late on a Saturday, say like if you'd been having some knock-em-backs with friends from out of town and maybe you just didn't feel like getting out of the sack at the crack of dawn because say you felt like maybe the night before was a little to close in the distant past... Anyhoo, where was I, oh yeah, so maybe you're going to have to wait a little bit and just have a look at someone else's feedbag and that's pretty sure to get you thinking about what you might want in yours. It does me.

The place was hopping and the missys were showing up at the hash slingers' pass through and he was hitting the bell with a spatula and they were taking the feed bags out to where people were sitting, drinking a couple a cuppas and bumping gums about this and that and whatever. Missy poured two blonds and drew two in the dark. We toasted the day. "Your tables being set up right now, Jack, won't be two shakes." I smiled. It was good to be known. "What's yours, Jack?" he said to a guy at the register. "Here you go, Jack" as he handed another guy a cuppa. Oops.

So Missy called "Jack--four, follow me. Bring your joe." We did. She put us down at a table that couldn't have been better. Back of the joint where I could see Trouble where ever he might be. I slipped my heater into my jacket pocket and hung it on the back of the chair. Close enough. Four of us quit flapping our yaps and started on the whadda-ya-wants. Missy came by, hooked her thumb at the board behind us and said, "Specials. Yours?" She was looking at Kay. "Pass, Anthony?" "Wreck me two, chop a leg zeppelin, toss it in there, and that'll do it." "Got it, soy sausage in the nest. Yours?" "Huevos revolvos, ranch style," was Dolly-girl's choice, one I'd had myself from time to time. Back to Kay. "I'll do the same except flop mine easy." I went for a cowboy from the Andes with Noah's boy in the alley. "OK, on it." Missy headed to the kitchen. I heard her yell, "Four walking in," as the spatula hit the bell. "ORDER UP!

"[ding] MISSY, ORDER UP, TWO HAT DANCES, A SPINNER WITH NO OINK, AND A FRENCHMAN WITH PEPPERS." Missy was there in a jiffy. "Dig in, folks. I'll be along with a refill on the joe and Bull Run." Dolly-girl's Huevos ranchero looked like whoever was sweeping the grill back there made these like his mama used to. Kay and Dolly-girl looked down, looked at each other, and purred in unison, "We got it right!" Anthony dug in and pronounced the veggie sausage to be just what set those hen fruit to cackling. My cowboy was riding high in the saddle with plenty of wax and chilies in there. A little hot sauce topped it off just fine.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. If you need a feedbag between 8 and 3, there's no better place to tie it on than Cup & Saucer. Don't plan on eating again for a while, their business is to fill you up and send you on your way smiling. We headed out onto the street through the crowd that was waiting for our table. I heard the counter man one last time, "What's yours, Jack?" Mine's Cup & Saucer, thanks.


Jen Z. said...

Jack, you are fast on the uptake! So glad to see this on my internets reader this fine night after we slid on our date with some glowy pins. There was some cow feed and a radio sandwich calling our name, asking to be washed down with some balloon juice. Sad we missed throwing balls around!

Ronna said...

I want!