The Hi-Tone Cafe
1913 Poplar Ave.
Through the magic of Facebook, I learned that the Hi-Tone is now serving brunch on Sundays from 11am-4pm. Sean Youngblood, who I'm pretty sure was back in the kitchen during my Wild Oats/Squash Blossom days, is the chef, so I figured it had to be good. One look at the menu (which I can no longer find online), and I immediately added "Hi-Tone" to my DWM short list. Today, after sleeping for a glorious eleven hours (that never happens!), I pitched the idea to Warren.
"The Hi-Tone? For brunch?" he asked a bit confused.
"Yeah, I saw the menu and I kind of know the chef..." I said enthusiastically.
"Can we bring the kids?" he asked.
"I don't see why not."
"Okay, let's go," he said.
I decided to call just to make sure they were still doing brunch, and they were. About an hour later, we were all in the car on our way over. When we pulled into the parking lot, Satchel (age 6) jumped out of the car as fast as he could (he's learned how to disable to the child-proof mechanism) and ran over to the side wall that is covered with vibrant cartoony like characters. "Look at this!" he shouted. "It looks funny!" Then he began scaling the wall.
Jiro (age 4), who was feeling less than 100% due (we hope) to a candy binge yesterday (and hopefully not a looming stomach virus) opted to admire the wall from afar. "Come on Satch," I said. "Remember our restaurant rules?"
He climbed down and we set about trying to determine which of the three doors would get us in the building. Of course it was the third door we tried. (Signs pointing to "use this door" are clearly targeted toward the evening crowd!) Once inside we discovered that we were the only people there. It was about noon. "It probably picks up later in the afternoon," I guessed out loud. "They serve until four."
We grabbed a table near the stage, with just a tiny bit of sunlight hitting it, and proceeded to look over the menu. A cuddly tattooed waiter came over and took our drink order. Warren went for coffee, me a Diet Coke, and pineapple juice for Jiro. Satchel surprisingly opted for water.
The menu looked amazing! Breakfast pizza, frittatas, huevos rancheros, French Toast...everything sounded yummy. The specials board featured a vegan scramble with home fries, grilled aparagus, and strawberry pancake. (Another specials board listed $4 margaritas, mimosas, and Bloody Marys--too bad we already ordered our beverages!) Fairly quickly I decided on the breakfast pizza and Warren decided on the huevos rancheros. "I hope I'm not jealous of your food," I said.
"I'll share," he said with a smile.
Jiro, who was looking puny-er than ever, said in a sad voice, "I'm not hungee."
"Let's get them a breakfast plate to share," Warren suggested.
"I"m NOT sharing," said Satchel. Then he demanded that I read him everything on the menu. There was a moment when he thought he wanted a frittata, but I steered him back towards the breakfast plate. He agreed to eat one as long as there were no cheese grits and if he could have bacon and home fries.
Just then our cuddly, tattooed waiter came over with our drinks. Jiro's juice was in a giant red tumbler--a welcome change from an actual juice (read TINY) glass that is used at most places. We put in our orders and optimistically added a side of bacon for Jiro in the event that seeing food would make him feel hungry.
As we waited we took in the ambiance. A few more people had filtered in by now, blues was playing on the speakers, and bowling was on TV. Warren took the boys on a tour of the video games and let them admire the art work on the wall in the back room. When they returned, Satchel discovered the silverware that had been delivered in his absence and started playing with it. After about 15 tries, he finally obeyed my order to stop. I got out one of my notebooks and let him have a pen, hoping to keep him out of trouble.
After working on Satchel's spelling list for a short time, our food came out. The food came out "hobo-style" in pie tin-esque plates. Everything looked delicious. "This is total hangover food," Warren commented. I imagined myself hungover and realized that yes, my breakfast pizza, a mimosa, and very little sunlight would totally hit the spot. But thankfully none of us was hungover and we all agreed that the food was yummy. (Excluding Jiro who donated his bacon to Satchel.)
I ate half of my pizza and a few bites of Warren's huevos and was stuffed. He ate all of his, the rest of my pizza, and a few bites of Satchel's toast. After eating six strips of bacon, Satchel was only able to pick at his home fries and eggs. At one point he said, "Why did they put onions in my home fries?" but that was his only complaint.
I had no complaints--the service was good, the food was yummy and reasonably priced, and no one seemed to bat an eye at the monkeys. But, I'll admit, I was glad that none of us had to go to the restroom!
In the past I have lamented the lack of break fast options--especially on Sundays--in Midtown. Never again! (If the Hi-Tone doesn't sound like your thing, don't forget Sunday brunch at Umai, Republic Coffee, and Cafe Eclectic is now open on Sundays too.)