The experience

Black Walnut CafeWe stayed at The Woodlands overnight before we would head to the Texas Renaissance Festival. Not wanting to feel rushed about needing to head to a reviewable restaurant for dinner today, we decided to go somewhere for breakfast to write about.  Ogre did some online research before we left and found the Black Walnut Cafe, which we discovered was just a hop, skip and jump from our hotel.  It worked out perfectly!  We actually got on the road early, which would serve us well since when we arrived at the restaurant, it was not packed and we’d need all the time we could have at the Texas Renaissance Festival.

We walked in and found it was a seat yourself kind of deal.  I let Mina pick our table.  She wanted to sit at a small table with two oversized chairs, but that obviously would not work, so she settled on a booth.  The restaurant decor is pretty cool with large booths and doorknobs to hang your jackets and hats on.  We hung ours up and sat down.  We sat around trying to figure out how the restaurant works and were finally tipped off when we noted some people standing and holding large menus in line.  Ogre grabbed a couple of menus for us to peruse and then he headed up to the bar counter to order our breakfast.

Last picture of Benji reading his favorite book


While he was gone, Mina and I played “I Spy,” which was fun to play in such a vibrant restaurant.  Benji entertained himself with his “Are You My Mother Book” and every once in awhile, we’d chime with Benji’s interpretation of various pages of the books such as “meow” for the page with the cat and, of course, “sno!” for the pages with the red crane.

The light

I spy something yellow!


When Ogre returned he had his coffee and the kids’ drinks.  He had decided on the grapefruit juice for the kids.  Hmmm.  Not sure that would’ve been my first choice.  He then got my coffee and the Chantilly Strawberries.  The Chantilly Strawberries were a huge hit with Team Phipps and roused a dance from Mina.

Chantilly Cream and Strawberries


He gave juice to Benji, who drank it and shuddered.  Then he pointed at the cup and said “uh uh do” (apple juice) and refused to drink any more of it.  Mina thought at first that she had guava juice because it was pink.   When we told Benji no “uh uh do” so, he said “muh” (milk).  Ogre complained that whenever he asks for milk, he never drinks it.  I said, that’s because “muh” means chocolate milk, not milk.  We looked at the menu again and didn’t see any chocolate milk, but I figured they could whip some up since they had all the ingredients for it.  Ogre went off on his mission and returned with bottled Schepps chocolate milk.  Easy enough. 

The table was spared any more of my rendition of Chantilly Lace as our buzzer went off and Ogre left to get our breakfast.  He and another guy (some waiter, I suppose) came back with everything.  We cut up Mina and Benji’s pancakes and dug in.  I gave some eggs and bacon to Benji and when Mina saw that, she wanted some, too, so I also doled out some to her leaving me with “small potatoes.” (Ha ha.)  Anyway, I was left to concentrate on my french toast while Ogre ate his strange Huevos Rancheros, he even commented, “Now, what did I order?  Oh yeah, the Huevos Rancheros.”  He still said it was good.  Meanwhile, Benji is eating up eggs, pancakes, strawberries, bacon, corn, black beans and thoroughly enjoying himself.  Mina is giving up all her pancakes to Benji and concentrating on her strawberries.

We notice that Benji’s book is getting totally covered in ketchup and eggs and Ogre hands over the nastiness to me and I wipe it down.  Of course, Benji, starts to whine that his snort book is now missing, so I hand it back to him and he pipers down.  Mina, on the other hand has stopped drinking her grapefruit juice and tell us she doesn’t like it.  We give her the rest of Benji’s chocolate milk and she manages to knock it over it short order prompting a stern warning to watch her elbows. 

We finish up dinner without any further messes, or so we think, and get ready to head out.  I tell Mina that we should head for the restrooms before we go.  There are no changing stations in these bathrooms and when we get back Ogre and Benji are already up.  I grab my jacket and Mina grabs her Papa’s hat and puts her unicorn and the medicine Papa brought for himself in the hat and carries it out.  Ogre goes back for the chair and we all head out to RenFest.


The food

Overall, I’d say average to above average.  I think this is one of those restaurants that likes to spin the traditional, if that makes sense…

Huevos Rancheros?Ogre ordered Huevos Rancheros.  He had to think a minute about what he ordered when he started to eat it.  I don’t think that’s a good sign, but Ogre takes it in stride.  He said that the sauce that they put on it, which wasn’t Ranchero sauce, was very good “whatever it was.”  The menu calls it chipotle Pavia sauce -Ogre says it tasted like a spicy hollandaise.  I even asked him if he really got what he ordered and he said, “yes,” but then proceeded to say that the eggs weren’t over easy and sort of were like poached eggs, but weren’t (the menu says they bake the eggs).  Who knows what the heck he was eating, but he said it was good.

I ordered the “Frenchie.”  This had a slice of french toast served with a large egg and bacon with new potatoes served homestyle.  I planned on sharing my egg and bacon with Benji.  The french toast was very good, but, of note, it had a pretty strong lemon zest flavor, which at first was a good idea, but then became a little overpowering.  Also, the outside part of the french toast was nice and moist, but the middle was too soggy.  The eggs and bacon were good, what little I had of it.  Eggs were your standard scrambled and the bacon was crisp and lightly peppered.  Benji and Mina devoured it all.

Chantilly Cream and StrawberriesFor the kids, we ordered the Strawberry Chantilly.  Ogre and I wished we had ordered some for ourserlves because it was so good!  The cream sauce atop the strawberries was very good, not too sweet, but complimenting the strawberries very nicely.  Again, the kids devoured it.

We also ordered the Tradtional Pancake Stack for the kids to split.  The pancakes were nice and fluffy, but nothing to write home to mom about.  Mina was not overly excited about the pancakes and gave away most of hers to Benji.

Mina and pancakes


Yogurt ParfaitLastly, the parfait.  It was good up until I ate a dried cranberry, I suppose I don’t like dried cranberries because once I had a bite of that, I was done, I couldn’t get the taste out of my mouth.  The parfait had kiwi, strawberry, and what looked to be not fresh peaches (it looked like the stuff out of the del monte cans) in plain yogurt with granola, raisins and dried cranberries atop it. 


The service

Well, this is one of those places where you order at the counter and they hand you a buzzer that lets you know your food is ready for you to pick up.  This works fine when there’s two people who are capable of either watching the kids or picking up the food.  I’m not sure how this would work if you were by yourself.  I guess you’d make it work by sitting where you’d see your kids at all times when you had to pick up the food or ask one of the waitstaff to help you.  Anyway, Ogre was our server and, as usual, he was attentive, charming, and polite.


The kids

I’d say it’s kid friendly enough, but not truly kid friendly.  By that I mean, no kids activities and no kids menu, but it’s casual enough that I had no reservations about having the kids there.  They also have lots of kid friendly choices, they’re just going to be in adult portions.  We also discovered out of near desperation that they do have chocolate milk (in fact, they have bottled Schepps chocolate milk) as opposed to what is on the menu -either fresh squeezed orange or grapefruit juice being the most kid friendly drinks going strictly off the menu. 

There were lots of families eating brunch this morning so go ahead and bring ‘em if you want to try this place for breakfast.

The total: $38 and some change (we also somehow lost the receipt)


Rants, Raves, and Ramblings

So the major screw-up, or should I say screw-ups?  That would be Ogre and me, who left Benji’s beloved book behind many, many miles away.  We did not even realize it until we were headed home and Benji was asking for his “buh” (book).  It took us a few minutes to realize that it was at breakfast that the book was forgotten.  We plan on calling the restaurant in the morning and had already planned to get him a new one anyway since this one was so filthy.  But all the teeth marks, scratches, and old caked on food has sentimental value, doesn’t it??  All won’t be lost if the book is gone forever, but I did buy that for him before he was born to be part of his book collection (reading is a HUGE part of our children’s lives and this book just happens to be the first book Benji fell in love with).  SNORT!

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