Cool Hand of a Girl
Alyssa and I arrive at Cool Hand of a Girl via those luxurious new bike lanes on Dupont. After a hot (but refreshingly smooth) bike ride, we're hungry and have something pretty specific in mind. I'm craving a big breakfast and want something hearty, while Alyssa's looking for cheese, as per usual.
The place is quiet with the remnants of a lunch crowd, and the décor is minimal: totally bare walls, dim lighting, and blue linoleum flooring. Energetic jazz tunes are coming out of an old-school stereo. "I don't know why, but I was expecting this place to be a little more rustic, " I say to Alyssa. I'd passed by the place so many times and always noticed the name. "I think I had Cool Hand Luke in mind." This is the first time I (consciously) make the connection and I figure the assumed allusion is probably the cause of my egg craving.
As it turns out, Cool Hand of a Girl is most definitely not an allusion to the southern prison film starring Paul Newman, but to Albert Camus' The Myth of Sisyphus. (Although, to my credit, Cool Hand Luke and Sisyphus are indeed connected somewhere out there in the world of theory.) But I order the all day breakfast anyways.
Alyssa chooses a cheese and chutney sandwich and we sit down at one of Cool's retro tables. The lunch crowd seems to stand up at exactly the same moment and heads out into the sudden downpour of rain. For a second I wonder why they wouldn't wait the weather out inside, but I remember that the lunch crowd usually has jobs.
We sip organic coffee until our food arrives. Aside from the (much appreciated) watermelon garnish, the breakfast ($7.75) is rather boring. I lavish it with tabasco. For an extra two bucks I add spicy chicken sausages, but they're dry and I think they make my stomach hurt. Alyssa's cheddar and chutney sandwich ($7.50) is a bit better. The tomato and apple chutney is tasty, but the bread is soggy and the cheddar (white and organic, at least) is halfway between melted and cold.
Our meals are disappointing, especially since we'd overlooked the achiote stew featuring tofu marinated in Mexican spice, and the braised tofu sandwich that I'd heard good things about. I want to put it down to poor choices. I want to blame Paul Newman and Camus.
Thankfully, Alyssa is still hungry and goes in search of dessert. She chooses the strawberry, raspberry and blueberry pie because a woman has just ordered a slice to go - with conviction. It's topped off with freshly whipped cream. The crust is hearty with spelt flour and the fruit bleeds out into the cream, colouring it dark red. This is the rustic thing I was looking for and it goes down well. And it's pie so it's even kind of southern, minus the spelt.
Photos by Alyssa Bistonath