Stepping Stone Caf퀌�: Discover the individuality of oatmeal

Nestled on the corner of N.W. 24th and Quimby sits my newfavorite breakfast caf�, Stepping Stone. With its affordableprices, bright atmosphere, name-bearing underwear and edgy staff,Stepping Stone Caf� provides the perfect environment toyawn, wipe the sleep from your eyes and enjoy your morningmeal.

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

My sister ordered something that I would most certainly neverorder. Ever. She got banana oatmeal with raisins and cinnamon.

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

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

“Wow,” I thought, “each oat’s ‘individuality.’ I never knew asynthetic 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 orderingprocess at breakfast. Autopilot and minimal brain activity: thatworks best for me in the morning. Like a sleepy little robot, Iorder two eggs over-easy, sourdough toast, bacon, a large orangejuice and a cup of coffee with cream. It’s always good. Always.

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

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

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

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