Just want to holler out a big noisy THANK YOU to the folks who recommended Pann's coffee shop. Didn't make it there on Tuesday, but managed to land there exactly at 12 noon today. Busy of course, but still plenty of parking and counter space.
They do what I love most about a good coffee shop: prepare ordinary food very well and very carefully, and serve it with a smile. The split-pea soup I started with was emphatically not from a can, very deep pea flavor with maybe some good chicken broth underneath, and pureed but still kind of grainy. The meat loaf was three big slabs of fine-grained, firm-textured meat, well seasoned if a bit more done than I like it, dowsed with some genuinely good gravy. I picked mac & cheese just because I hadn't had any in a while, and it was also very good - not transcendental, but gooey-cheesy and well worth eating. Even the boringly predictable side veges, steamed carrots and broccoli, were perfectly done, crunchy-tender and with flavor intact. Only the cornbread sucked, but so does cornbread everywhere around here - what's WITH you guys and your crummy sweet cornbread? But I'm sure it was still a better choice than the alternative dinner roll.
Bad news is I left the camera in the car, just because I was tired of hauling it around. Good news is that I still have 11 or 12 more pictures to shoot down there tomorrow, and this time I'm going to try to get there before 11 so I can check out the breakfast stuff everyone was talking about!