Tuesday, November 17, 2009
The Omelet to End All Omelets
It was 2005. I had graduated from Taylor three months prior and my old roommate, Shadow, one year before me. We flew into Seattle to begin our road trip down the Pacific Coast and rented a car at the airport. After a two-hour detour in downtown Seattle, we drove another 10 miles north -- with the windows down and the sun setting -- to our first real destination. He parked on a hilly residential side street.
Around the corner was Beth's Café. I had read about their infamous 12-egg omelets in a book called Road Food and couldn't pass up the challenge. It was a modest-looking restaurant, painted blue. Inside were a wide variety of people. Hipsters in flannel. A retired couple. Teenyboppers in black. Mexicans. The walls were covered with taped-up scraps of paper with crayon illustrations from customers. A mellowed-out waitress with several tattoos seated us and poured me coffee.
Giddy, we explained how we had sojourned 2,500 miles for a pair of 12-egg omelets. I felt like I was in a Monty Python movie hunting down the holy grail. She didn't share our enthusiasm, and threw down a fistful of crayons to keep us distracted. Fifteen minutes later, they arrived:
They were served on a veritable mountain of hash browns. It wasn't really my plan to conquer it all at once, but we did our best. I ate a little more than half of my plate. We boxed up the leftovers, dropped them in a cooler -- which didn't help much -- and finished them off over the next couple days as breakfast outside our tent. It was the first of many adventures on that trip. (That same night, in a tent about 50 yards away from ours, a tripped-out woman screamed through the night that her leg was broken and she needed a medic.)
Last night I was talking with Shadow on the phone and the topic turned to the Seattle leg of our trip. Turns out, his brother tipped him off that Travel Channel's Man vs. Food featured Beth's Café and the very same "throw rug of eggs" earlier this year. In fact, they held an eating contest between two guys to see who could finish it first. It should be noted that their Southwestern omelets -- loaded with beef brisket chili, salsa, and sour cream -- are a slightly different animal than our more traditional plates. (If the video below doesn't work, follow this link.)