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I heart The Mixing Bowl cafe

April 24, 2016

Regular readers of this blog may have noticed that I pretty much stopped reviewing restaurants.

It got to be too much trouble updating the reviews for the cute little places that didn’t make it. There started to be more societal criticism of photographing one’s food, and I was feeling more self-conscious about pulling out my phone to take a picture. There’s also the fact that I live in a small town where honest reviews of poor experiences do not fly well – sometimes it’s best to say nothing at all.

But none of the above are excuses for why I’ve not yet posted about The Mixing Bowl. Maybe because I didn’t feel like I could do it justice. It is one of my favorite restaurants.

I love the ambiance of the little place – casual, colorful and friendly (owner / operator / chef Jamie Meisner often comes out of the kitchen to say hello).

I love the commitment to using local and from-scratch ingredients – not an easy or cheap method of doing business, but a traditional and neighborly one that helps strengthen the community.

And I love the authenticity and changing variety of the food – a focus on family-favorite Midwest German comfort food (it was from Jamie that I learned what a cabbage burger should taste like), but with sparks of Mexican flavors and room for the flair of other international cuisines as the menu changes.

Here is a quick photo of my standby luncheon favorite, the (meatless!) grilled cheese chile relleno sandwich, in this instance served with a fresh side salad and my favorite Mixing Bowl dressing, caramel basil vinaigrette:

grilled cheese chile relleno

And, the reason for this blog post today: Sunday brunch. Ever since The Mixing Bowl changed its hours – closed on Tuesdays to enable being open for brunch on Sundays – I’ve been meaning to hit the rotating brunch menu, but it’s out of my routine since I usually make from-scratch whole-wheat waffles on Sunday mornings. On this particular morning, I was out of milk and thus prevented from making waffles, so I decided to venture out to The Mixing Bowl instead.

I tried the green chili biscuits and gravy: “Hash browns, flaky cheddar biscuits, and eggs your way smothered in green chili sausage gravy.” After a visit to a Louisiana diner some years ago, I learned that I liked from-scratch biscuits and sausage gravy. Given that a local culinary tradition is to smother one’s burritos, tamales, etc., in green pork chili, I felt it was my patriotic duty as an assimilating western Nebraskan to try the breakfast version of “the smother.” It did not disappoint.

smothered biscuits

 

I am glad Bugman was open to my suggestion to try the shakshuka. I have been intrigued by this eggs-plus dish ever since I read about it in the New York Times’ Cooking section. The Mixing Bowl’s version (another meatless option!) is described thusly: “A traditional Israeli breakfast of roasted peppers, tomatoes, onions, and spices served with poached eggs and toast.” The poached egg looked to me like a huge dollop of sour cream. Bugman enjoyed the unique dish, which left him quite full. His comment: “If you don’t like peppers, you won’t like this dish.” He let me try some of the stewed bell pepper – the hearty flavors of paprika and cayenne predominated. Good stuff!

shakshuka

On the occasions when I have a dinnertime burger craving, I wish The Mixing Bowl served dinner, too. They have a small but good variety of unique burger flavors on the menu. I’m partial to the Big Mac burger (it has Sriracha!).

Long may The Mixing Bowl . . . mix!

Copyright 2016 by Katie Bradshaw

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