I promised milady a special breakfast this morning, but she's the kind of gal who wants things her way. I suggested Anton Schwager's Jagerhaus, La Galette Creperie in San Clemente; she demanded The Filling Station, an Orange institution even though it truly hasn't been around that long, which goes to show how desperate our culture has become in latching on to anything with a possibility of lasting longer than a flash-in-the-pan.
We went early to find the restaurant beginning to buzz with the typical morning-in-Americana diners crowd: politicos hosting a meeting, grizzled men who probably were children during the Great Depression, working-class joes wanting to fill up before a hard day of work. The restaurant structure itself is a gem, a former gas station which makes you pine for the days where gas pumps weren't decorated with televisions flashing ads and excerpts of the KTLA Morning News (as much as I enjoy Sam Rubin, I don't want his hoarse gossip informing me while I try to make the gas-pump meter land on double-zeroes). But the food, alas, is lacking.
It's not a disaster--if someone ate there, I wouldn't give them a browbeating like, say, the foolish friend who recently boasted about enjoying Original Mike's. But the food quality doesn't match The Filling Station's high prices. I thoroughly enjoyed my turkey chili cheese omelette, and I don't even enjoy turkey--the ground meat remained juicy and distinct despite swimming in sea of brash chili sauce, and the side of hash browns nearly beat my stomach, so aptly burnt they were on the top and bottom. It was a big meal, but if I wanted to pig out, I'da gone to Norm's. If I'm paying eight-something (maybe even $9; I lost the receipt) for an omelete, it better be a gussied-up masterpiece ala what the guys over at Old Vine Cafe whip up every morning for just two bucks more. I understand that restaurants have to mark up prices due to the economy, but to that, I apply my bánh mì litmus tests: restaurants of Orange County--if the Vietnamese can deliver an amazing, delicious sandwich for two bucks right now, what's your excuse?
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The Filling Station, 201 N. Glassell St. Orange, (714) 289-9714. Meh.