Put it in your mouth

Nestled on the corner of N.W. 24th and Quimby sits my new favorite breakfast caf퀌�, Stepping Stone. With its affordable prices, bright atmosphere, name-bearing underwear and edgy staff, Stepping Stone Caf퀌� provides the perfect environment to yawn, wipe the sleep from your eyes and enjoy your morning meal.

Recently, I’ve visited Stepping Stone a lot, and have yet to be disappointed. Last Sunday, I ambled over with my sister who was visiting from Tucson, where the weather was seventy-seven degrees when she left … yup, that’s a lot warmer than it is here. She is a very picky eater, and she immediately asked if they would have lattes, fresh fruit, or bagels. I answered, “probably not,” but asserted that she should certainly be able to find something she’d like. She did.

My sister ordered something that I would most certainly never order. Ever. She got banana oatmeal with raisins and cinnamon.

“Exciting,” I thought to myself as she placed her order. I eat oatmeal from time to time but, whenever I do, I am reminded of a nanny I once had when I was a child and how she made me eat oatmeal every morning. I remember it being cold sometimes and generally disgusting. I felt like an orphan boy.

My sister informed me, much to my surprise, that the oatmeal at Stepping Stone is the best oatmeal she had eaten in quite some time. Doubtful of this ridiculous assertion, I inquired just how this could be. She responded, “It’s good because you can taste each oat’s individuality. The oats are ‘real’ and not all blended together; it’s not always like that, you know.”

“Wow,” I thought, “each oat’s ‘individuality.’ I never knew a synthetic oat, and God, my sister is insane.” Despite her ludicrous “individual oat” justification, I took a bite and, I’ll admit it, the oatmeal was surprisingly satisfying. For oatmeal that is.

I, on the other hand, enjoy the stability of a habitual ordering process at breakfast. Autopilot and minimal brain activity: that works best for me in the morning. Like a sleepy little robot, I order two eggs over-easy, sourdough toast, bacon, a large orange juice and a cup of coffee with cream. It’s always good. Always.

The only difference that sometimes comes into play is the style of my potatoes. If you get those shredded, probably frozen, brick shaped potatoes, (they serve these at My Father’s Place), the most likely scenario is that your orange juice is from concentrate, the bacon is too fatty and the service will most definitely be sub-par. But at Stepping Stone, you will find none of those things. The potatoes are sliced in-house and are delicious, the service is fine and the employees are quirky and seem to have good taste in music. Over the course of an hour I was treated to Twisted Sister, Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, and other well-considered tunes. I liked that a lot.

Now, I am fully aware that some people like to branch out at breakfast time. Order crazy things like scrambles, omelets and French toast. For you, Stepping Stone is prepared to provide contentment. They have quirky offerings, such as the Dilemma, consisting of a big pile of hash browns, covered with fresh spinach and melted cheese. They also have good selection of omelets ranging from The Cat Fishing, featuring shrimp, mushrooms, onion, cheddar cheese, avocado and tomato, to the Grazing Goat (a friend of mine always orders this … it’s quite tasty, too) comprised of spinach, portabella mushrooms, feta cheese and artichoke hearts.

Stepping Stone has Belgian waffles, cheese blintzes, blueberry pancakes and the like. And it’s all pretty cheap, too. I once ate here with my friend Holly and, between the two of us, we could only muster up a measly five bucks. We stretched that into a whole breakfast, albeit a small one, but a breakfast just the same. We ordered the Bird Watchers Special, made up of two eggs, hash browns and toast for only $3.50. I even had enough for coffee.

The staff is entertaining; the girl who was serving us kept making cute little jokes in her dry way. My sister really enjoyed that. She thought it was so funny that when she cleared the oatmeal she said, “Are you all done with that oat madness?” She laughed at that. I didn’t think it was that funny at all. My sister is odd, as evidenced by her belief in the individuality of oats. Anyway, go down there and check it out. It’s way cooler than B-Sauce, and Cameo is way over-priced. I think you’ll like it. So go put it in your mouths, alright?