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Terrible lunch at Cafe Tululah, Berkeley (long)

CoralFang | Jun 1, 200409:57 PM

My brother and I were on a SMOG check mission on San Pablo in Berkeley today and decided to get lunch at Cafe Tululah. I'd driven by a few times and thought it looked like a cute little place. While it is cute, the food is dismal.

We arrived at 11:15 and were handed lunch menus. When we tried to order at 11:20, we were told that we couldn't order lunch for another ten minutes. Fine, we thought, since we were 3rd in line with the SMOG place.

The waitress (who was very nice) allowed us to place our orders early, but warned that the food wouldn't be prepared until 11:30. We both ordered the roast turkey sandwich on foccacia. I stuck to the salad while the brother ordered the "beer battered" onion rings.

By noon, we still hadn't seen our orders, but we did see another patron approach the kitchen area and ask the cook when her bagel might be ready. Since the kitchen is wide open, it was pretty easy to see that not a lot was happening back there. It should also be noted that aside from our table, there were only two other tables occupied in the place. Not really a lunch crush. Meanwhile, to add to the suspense, the SMOG guy called to tell us that the car was ready.

At last, our sandwiches arrived. They consisted of the thickest, most flavorless bread I have ever encountered. I am someone who, until today, thought I would never meet a slice of bread I wouldn't enjoy. Since no aspect of the sandwich was toasted or seemed to require any preparation beyond making a pile of food, I wondered what the delay could have been in constructing the dry concoction before us. Also, the onion rings had not arrived.

Just as we finished eating the turkey and cheese from inside the "bread," the rings came. My brother took a bite and asked me to try one. I could tell from his face that my tasting them was not a matter of discovering the place's saving grace. They were, much like the foccacia, completely flavorless. Actually, I should amend that. The only flavor we could detact was that of slightly bad oil. As my brother said, "they taste like the county fair."

We asked for the check. The waitress asked if she could box the onion rings up for us. We declined.

I had such hopes that this would be a great little find. But no. We would have been better off at the Jack in the Box down the street. A lot cheaper and at least they probably clean their oil.

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