Saturday, August 20, 2011

Triple D Time-out: The Coffee Cup

Location: Boulder City, NV
Date: Aug. 9, 2011

This mini culinary adventure was my second Triple D stop during my recent trip to Vegas. I'm a huge fan of breakfast cafes with great tasting food sans all the hoopla often inherent with finer breakfast establishments. The morning meal is supposed to be the most important meal of the day, so why not enjoy it comfortably without worrying about your wardrobe or blowing up your wallet first thing in the morning? Now, I have no problem splurging on fine dining for dinner, but nothing beats the comfort of a hearty meal in the AM from a great cafe where you can just show up as you are and fit right it. Don't take my word for it though, ask the cyclist who was enjoying a steaming cup of coffee and some nutrient dense mid-ride fuel at the inviting bar decked out in his fitted spandex (which, by the way, is infinitely more comfortable on long rides than drag-inducing loose attire) and helmet nestled on top of the adjacent comfortably cushioned bar stool.

It's right across the street!
I find the best cafes off the beaten path in tranquil locations where leisure trumps the fast paced bustle of the real world everyday. Located in the historical district of Boulder City, NV, and neighbored only by Mom and Pop souvenir and antique shops, The Coffee Cup undoubtedly fits the mold. It's situated in a setting reminiscent of a time long, long ago...a time I can't personally relate to, but my grandpa may vividly remember. Despite the fact that my birthday occurred much more recently than times when a setting like this was the norm, I do appreciate opportunities to pause and step back in time. The pleasant camaraderie constantly looming in these low key eateries makes me wish more existed, and keeps me coming back to similar places anytime I can.

License plates from near and far
  The decor inside was put up with the classic throw-anything-and-everything-on-the-walls-and-it-will-work mentality. Knickknacks from surfboards to pictures to old water skies graciously adorned the walls, giving costumers a vast variety of interesting objects to gaze at while waiting for the main event with friends and loved ones. The wall that caught my attention first, however, was their wall of old license plates. It instantly took me back to my favorite place in the San Diego area to get a big, juicy bacon cheeseburger. Hodad's, like The Coffee Cup, also utilizes old license plates as unconventional interior decorations. Thus, associating this cafe to one of my favorites had my mouth watering, and taste buds ready to indulge minutes before I had even peaked at their menu!

Upon gazing at the menu, my eyes instantly gravitated towards the boxed "South of the Border" breakfast items. My only question for the friendly waitress: How is the Pork Chile Verde different from the Pork Ranchero Sauce? The Pork Ranchero Sauce has a few added ingredients and a little more spice. More spice?! Spicy food is my favorite...I'll have the Huevos Rancheros! How would you like your eggs? Poached!

Huevos Rancheros
Yeah, I know! The menu claimed the Huevos Rancheros are "smothered in our Pork Ranchero Sauce." They weren't kidding! I could have just eaten a bowl of the Pork Ranchero Sauce on its own. The huge chunks of pork were fall-off-the-bone tender...if I may use an old culinary cliche. There actually wasn't a single bone on my plate though, so maybe I should save that line for another day. However, I can attest to the delicious meat being fork tender. All I had to do to get a bite-sized piece was simply touch the top of the pork along the grain with the side of my fork and, seemingly instantaneously, the pork separated. Carefully poking the exposed pork with the prongs of my fork (so it wouldn't separate further, of course), I took that first bite, and found myself immediately at peace knowing that I had just embarked on a "South of the Border" culinary adventure that would not soon be forgotten.

The pork was juicy and tender on its own, but the flavor was brought to a whole new level after soaking in its ranchero bath. The spiciness of the sauce never came on too strong (I can handle some spice though, so some may think its a little spicier than I did), but the mildness of the tomatoes did help cut through the spice to switch up the flavors and keep me interested. Refried beans were buried at the bottom of this palette pleasing pyramid, and helped thicken some of the juices while also bringing a desired salty element. The tortillas brought a nice crunch to the party, preventing the texture of the dish from becoming too one dimensional. The eggs were perfectly poached, and, by "perfectly poached," I mean once I cut into the egg, its runny yolk spewed out in lava-like fashion, adding a whole new rich saucy element. Oh, and who doesn't like gooey, melted cheese? It's like the cherry on top for any hearty egg dish! The hashbrowns were good too, but my sister ate most of them, as I was too enthralled eating bite after bite of the delicious Huevos Rancheros without stopping. In fact, when I took my last bite, I could've licked the residue left behind on the plate, but, uh, that would've just been plain gross! Instead, I figured it best to maintain my dignity, and simply finish sipping my coffee.

For those of you who enjoy a morning sugar rush by devouring sweet, dessert-like meals, try this on for size...

Chocolate chip and peanut butter waffle
If you're a waffle lover like my sister, you would quite possibly be in waffle heaven at this place. They have a diverse list of just over 10 ingredients ranging from sweet to savory, including fruits and nuts, to choose from, and encourage you to build your own waffle. Well, this place isn't a build-a-waffle so you don't actually build them...just choose your favorite ingredients, tell the waitress, and a cook will build it for you. My sister chose chocolate chips and peanut butter for her mix-ins. She also requested it be piled high with their fresh and fluffy whipped cream. I took a bite and it was very good. Chocolate and peanut butter are an epic sweet and salty combination. The waffle was crisp on the outside, but warm and a little chewy on the inside...two desirable qualities for any waffle. The whipped topping was very light and never tasted too heavy. Sweet breakfasts are my sister's thing though, as I prefer hearty, savor dishes like the tasty one featured above. My sister really enjoyed this though, so, if sweets for breakfast is your thing, you'd be undoubtedly satisfied as well.

The Coffee Cup has a lot to offer and I encourage any of you to stop by next time you're in the area. The drive from Las Vegas is a breeze, the quaint setting is a nice change of pace from crowds constantly congregated up and down the strip, and the food, well, I already told you about the food, but if you need a reminder scroll back up the page. If you can't stop by anytime soon, you may learn all about The Coffee Cup here, and wish that you could!

1 comment:

  1. The wife's family is from Vegas and we visit all the time. We may have to make a trip to Boulder City and check this place out.