Like mama used to say, don't fix what's not broken. In the kitchen, after requisite recipe fine-tuning and repair, after you have it tasting wonderful, slowly step away from that mixing bowl. Don't keep tinkering with the formula; carve that sucker in marble.
Not long after Slice of Heaven, the promisingly named from-scratch bakery and café, opened eight years ago, Steven and Maria Liebhauser established a menu of locally beloved breakfast and lunch items that has remained largely intact to this day.
|SLICE OF HEAVEN | 401.423.9866 | 32 Narragansette Ave, Jamestown | sliceofheavenri.com | daily, 6 am-3pm | major credit cards | BYOB | sidewalk-level accessible |
This might have been mostly for self-protection. Yankees can be an ornery and tradition-bound lot, and the insular folk of Conanicut Island might have begun glowering when passing the proprietors in the street (there's mainly just one) if they had stopped serving the vegetarian wrap — homemade hummus and tabouli with Portobello mushroom as well as the veggies — or other favorite offerings.
In that spirit, on a recent late-morning visit my mate and I, not normally unadventurous, chose to have a couple of the things we'd had the last time, between what we now chose for brunch and took home for lunch.
When you walk into the place, they tempt you with fruit tarts and cookies in a display case and muffins and more cookies on the counter. But lest you think that it's just a bakery, numerous cards are plastered along the ceiling, calling attention to the sandwiches and their fixings.
The adjoining room is large and flooded with natural light, with lots of sailing photographs and paintings, by locals and for sale. A gas fireplace stands in a corner, promising coziness in cold weather. In front of it is a clever surfboard coffee table — an actual but protectively glossy surfboard perched on the curl of a wide, sea-green wave, the creation of Newporter Ron DiMauro and the product of Jamestown's Endless Wave surf-stuff company. While I was checking out the decor, Johnnie placed our orders at the counter. They gave her a number marker, so that we could be found at our table.
I love eggs Benedict, but only when the white isn't runny, which is so common in busy breakfast places that I rarely order them. This time I took a deep breath, then took a chance, going for the eggs Copenhagen ($10.99) There were also the veggie and the traditional versions, available only for weekend brunch. It was wonderful. On the premises-baked English muffin, there were not only two nicely cooked poached eggs, only the yolks still liquid and a well-balanced hollandaise sauce, but also scads of smoked salmon, more than I would have gladly settled for. With both our brunch orders came little containers of fresh fruit, pineapple, and melon.
Johnnie hungrily grabbed a chocolate-banana muffin to begin her meal, but her first bite apparently contained a clump of baking powder or baking soda. The rest was okay, though. She certainly did better with her breakfast burrito ($6.99), which I'd had and enjoyed on our last visit. Wrapped in a tortilla, the scrambled eggs and black beans also contained salsa, guacamole, and cheddar cheese. Usual construction, and well done. I'd been hoping to talk her into getting the Grand Marnier French toast ($9.99) — the "toast" actually a croissant, enhanced by the orange liqueur, plus berries, whipped cream and maple syrup (from Vermont, not Mrs. Butterworth). Maybe next time.
Other breakfast choices include both a lumberjack and a "lumberjacques" special — pancakes and French toast, respectively. The above salmon is also available on a sourdough bagel with cream cheese ($10.99).
The sandwiches we ordered to go included my favorite: the Virginia ham and brie panino ($7.99), containing those items plus caramelized sweet onions, on a baguette. Mmm. My future lunch partner had the grilled Tuscan panino ($9.99). She got lots of mozzarella on the ciabatta bread, which had pesto slathered on both halves, and she wasn't charged extra for the grilled chicken (normally $2) because she didn't want the prosciutto. The clam chowder ($4.25) was dreamy creamy later, even reheated.
Our visit ended on a sad note. No gelato. Steve said he was waiting for warmer weather before making some. Oh, well. That just means we'll have to come back sooner than usual. I can look forward to the Grand Marnier French toast.
Bill Rodriguez can be reached at email@example.com.