My roommate has lived in Eagle most of her life, and the one thing she complains about over and over in regards to my site is the fact that I’ve done very few reviews of Eagle eateries. In particular, she’s been fixating on The Blue Moose Café for a while now, despite the fact that she’d never actually eaten there. As for myself, I was dubious. To be certain, some of the things on their menu certainly sounded appetizing, but I’m leery of any restaurant that would review one of their own dishes on Urbanspoon. Still, the other day when I had to be home all afternoon waiting for the cable guy, I could no longer use their very limited hours as an excuse. We perused the sandwich menu, chose two we could both agree on, and I called in the order…
I was told my order would be ready in twenty minutes, so that’s when I showed up. My first thought on arriving was that the building was charming, especially the main dining area which is mostly enclosed in glass to allow for a lot of natural light. Seemingly a perfect place for a breakfast or brunch setup, I couldn’t believe that it was instead a sandwich and salad eatery open only a few hours a day.
Things got decidedly less charming when I approached the counter. I told the guy that I was there for my take-out order, and was advised it would be a few more minutes. While I waited, I watched the staff at work in the kitchen (such as it is). The long counter was lined with many varieties of store-bought bread. As in grocery store. Behind it, two men and one woman worked on putting together the lunch orders. If you order a hot sandwich, it’s being made on a small counter top electric griddle like you would find at Target for about $25. A big container of Country Crock sits nearby. On a wall-mounted shelf above sits a microwave, which seems to be used to finish every hot item that’s ordered (look at the stains). I’m pretty sure I overheard the younger man ask the elder at one point if he should put a sandwich in the microwave since they were running so far behind, even though the bread was not yet as toasted as it should be. Oh, and about that older man: sitting on top of the microwave is a picture of him, sitting shirtless in a hot tub. I just can’t even begin to describe how I feel about that. Next to that picture is a picture of a cat, if I recall correctly.
After fifteen minutes, I texted my roomie and let her know that the food was still not ready and that I was seriously considering leaving. I hadn’t paid yet, and nothing I’d seen so far convinced me in the slightest that I was going to get anything worth twenty bucks out of this place (a sandwich is $9.95 here). She told me to go with my conscience, and while I was still debating in my head my order came up. I asked about the sides since the website said there was a choice of pasta salad or chips, and I was informed that all they had at the moment was their vinaigrette coleslaw. I very, very reluctantly handed over my money and then headed home.
Despite the fact that there were some interesting options available, I decided to play it safe since it was my first time trying the place. I ordered the Catalina Club, described on the menu as “turkey, bacon, Swiss cheese, avocado, tomato, lettuce and mayo grilled on our delicious garlic cheese bread”. Unfortunately, the little foil cradle that had been crafted for the sandwich to rest in did not save it from runoff of the very moist slaw, which had basically rendered the bottom slice of bread into mush. The slaw itself wasn’t bad, but it’s also not something that’s going to make me rush out in search of a recipe. As for the sandwich, I tasted no garlic or cheese in the bread. The veggies were fresh enough, but the turkey was essentially flavorless. The only flavor came from the bacon, Swiss cheese and avocado. Oh, and the vinaigrette that wasn’t supposed to be there.
The roommate made the decidedly bolder choice of ordering the Hillbilly Ham, which is “ham, cheddar cheese, mayo, honey mustard, Granny Smith apples, grilled on good ol’ cinnamon-raisin bread for that hillbilly in you”. Oy. Also a little soggy from the slaw, this at least packed a fair amount of flavor, and had the added benefit of being a combination that I would never have thought of making myself. This was definitely the standout menu item of the day for both of us.
At the end of the meal, we tallied up the experience. One decent but leaky side dish, one utterly forgettable sandwich and another that was surprisingly good. The best part of the experience will be when I recreate that sandwich at home, better, faster, much cheaper, sans vinaigrette and without the use of a microwave.
Food: Overpriced and disappointing for the most part. A few standouts that you could do better yourself. C-
Value: The word value doesn’t even come into play when you’re talking about a sandwich a monkey could make better and for a fraction of the price. D-
Service: Slow and uncommunicative. Nobody gave any updates about the status of my order or apologized for the fact that it took twice as long as I was quoted until I was on my way out the door. C-
Atmosphere: Nice dining room, unsettlingly simplistic kitchen. C
Final Grade: D