A Full Plate

It’s so hard to find outdoor seating around here. Are you kidding me? You say. Nope. It’s hard to find outdoor seating at a place where there’s not an interminable wait. Oh, and if you have your very cute and adorable dog with you, you don’t even have the option to take an inside table. Every weekend, my husband and I struggle with this as we ponder our brunch options. We often end up munching on something at Headhouse Farmers Market but other days we’re in the mood for more of a sit down thang. One recent weekend, we decided to head up to A Full Plate Cafe in Northern Liberties after learning that yes, they did have outdoor seating. However, once we got dressed and ready to go, the sky looked ominous and we kept the pooch home.

A Full Plate is a cute little place with a simple outside that doesn’t match its bright, colorful decor on the inside.

I was a little freaked out that the place was completely empty at prime brunch hour. Was that a sign of what was to come? I decided not to let it bother me and checked out the specials instead.

As we were deciding what to eat, our waiter brought over our drinks. In Mason jars. In large Mason jars. I can’t stand when places have little water glasses, especially for brunch. Don’t they know that everyone was out drinking the night before? This place is just so darn cute!

As usual, Mr. Row Home Eats went healthy with the Darren Salad ($7.50) of grilled chicken, grilled asparagus, roasted red peppers, cucumbers and tomato.

I, on the other hand, totally pigged out with the Toads in a Hole ($10) of multigrain bread filled with scrambled eggs, turkey sausage, veggies and cheddar cheese.

Unfortunately, while I appreciated the concept of the dish, the overall implementation didn’t quite add up. It was too dry and the flavors were hidden by all the bread. The sweet potatoes homefries, on the other hand, were spot on. A perfect balance of crisp to chewy potato, I could have eaten these homefries all day long.

Oh, I forgot to mention what else I ordered.

I’ll admit it. I am a sneak. I often tell my husband what I’m planning on ordering and then add a last minute additional dish like macaroni and cheese. OK, it’s often macaroni and cheese, which is my favorite food and I have a LOT of trouble not ordering it. Besides, I convince him that we can split it. This mac and cheese was one of the better ones I’ve had recently. It maintained its ultra creaminess while packing a bit of a crunch on top and the cheesey flavor lingered in my mouth with each bite. This is certainly a dish to savor.

While A Full Plate didn’t knock it out of the park on every dish, I would return again and again for the mac and cheese. If they picked up a little speed in the kitchen (our food took a while to come out, despite being two of the only people in the place. I guess it was being made very fresh?) and tinkered with some dishes, this place has the potential to be top notch. Besides, how can you not love a place that hosts vegetarian friendly rib cook-offs?