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Wednesday, November 23,2011

A hipster visit to Boulder’s Snooze

By Clay Fong

A couple months back, I was chatting on the phone with my sister when I mentioned my fear of becoming a hipster.

“Becoming?!” was her incredulous reply. Granted, I hang out with people that drink Pabst Blue Ribbon and wear kilts, ironically, and I even own a few fedoras and have volunteered at the roller derby, but moi, a hipster?

My hipsterphobia made me leery of one of the new additions to Pearl Street, Snooze, a self-described “a.m. eatery” emphasizing breakfast. Hipster acquaintances lauded Snooze’s original Denver locations, and the contrarian made me leery of the Boulder spot. Nevertheless, I felt compelled to see if it was all it was cracked up to be.

It’s a bright and airy space, furnished with yellow seats, orange tabletops and vinyl banquettes. These touches create a retro space-age atmosphere that makes you think that if George Jetson had an Airstream trailer, it might look like this. The only thing missing was an Esquivel! bachelor pad soundtrack. Alas, this comment might be a symptom of incubating hipsterness.

While waiting for friend Zoe to arrive for a midweek brunch, I surveyed the menu, which features a variety of Eggs Benedict interpretations ranging from $8.50 to $11. There’s also a proverbial smorgasbord of $7.50 pancakes, which includes the usual suspects, like blueberry, as well as more unique selections like a sweet potato variation. Of course, a full complement of egg dishes, ranging from omelets to huevos rancheros, are available, as are oatmeal, granola and French toast. Lunch choices include a BLT salad, as well as numerous sandwiches, such as grilled cheese with tomato soup.

Our friendly and informative server started things off with a cup of $2.25 organic Guatemalan coffee. This brew was definitely smooth in flavor, but I wanted to like it more than I did. Perhaps I’ve been spoiled by the java from other locally owned Pearl Street locations, but I had an expectation of something more full-bodied than what I wound up with.

Fortunately, no one could dispute the robust flavor of Zoe’s gluten-free choice of the $7.75 Snooze spuds deluxe. These cheddar and jack cheese-covered hash browns came topped with her selection of a Niman Ranch cage-free egg, green chile and, for a $1.75 up-charge, pulled pork. The chile possessed mild heat and a surprising depth of flavor for a restaurant version. The tender and darned tasty pig resembled an expertly prepared carnitas, making for a satisfyingly rustic dish that can keep one sated all day.

Similarly, the $10.50 Upstream Benedict filled both the bill and the stomach. This dish swapped out the traditional English muffin for a delightfully crumbly herbed biscuit and the Canadian bacon for a moist, honeyed and perfectly seasoned hunk of smoked salmon. One of the better Hollandaise sauces I’ve sampled topped this dish, adroitly balancing buttery and citrus qualities. If you have only one Benedict in town, this might be it.

We ended with a $4.50 side portion of the pineapple upside down pancake. Frankly, it would have been better with more of its namesake caramelized fruit, but there wasn’t much to complain about regarding the amount of cinnamon butter. The crème anglaise also enhanced what was essentially dessert, happily concluding a meal that you don’t have to be a card-carrying hipster to enjoy.

Respond: letters@boulderweekly.com

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