FEED ME: E.leaven does not go to 11

By on February 24, 2015
e.leaven’s sticky bun looks much better than it is. (Photo credit: Geraldine Mishev)

e.leaven’s sticky bun looks much better than it is. (Photot: Geraldine Mishev)

Walking into e.leaven at 9 on Monday morning, I wondered how it could stay open. A private room off to the side had some sort of meeting going on in it with maybe two dozen people present, but my boyfriend and I were the only customers in the main restaurant.

Leaving e.leaven at 9:45 on Monday morning, I realized the question was not how e.leaven could stay open, but why it should bother to stay open. I’m almost always able to find something redeeming in the places I review, but it was a struggle this time.

E.leaven has been around for some time. Before last Monday, I had eaten there once previously and was unimpressed, despite Daily Candy awarding their Chicago location with the title “best bagel in Chicago.”

With the Old Yellowstone Garage recently re-opening in Alpine – it’s original Jackson location was where e.leaven is today – I got to thinking about e.leaven. With Betty Rock gone, I need a new breakfast/lunch place I can walk/bike to. Also, e.leaven’s space is colorful and has great natural light, two details in its favor. Maybe e.leaven could be it.

On its front door, e.leaven has a sign asking people to vote for it in this paper’s annual Best of Jackson Hole poll.

I will vote for it … if there is a category for the most egregious abuse done to a sticky bun. The bun served to me tasted like it was baked Friday. Also, it was slightly overdone, with burned spots on the bottom.

Sticky buns are meant to be pulled apart. Even putting my muscles into it, I could barely cut through the outer ring of e.leaven’s sticky bun. When I finally succeeded, I was awarded with a piece that actually crunched in my mouth.

Look up ‘meh’ and you’ll find e. leaven’s huevos rancheros. (Photo credit: Geraldine Mishev)

Look up ‘meh’ and you’ll find e. leaven’s huevos rancheros. (Photo: Geraldine Mishev)

Thinking that perhaps they stuffed all the soft and chewy goodness into the center, I next went directly for the sticky bun’s heart. It wasn’t crunchy like the bun’s exterior; instead it was tough. This toughness was attributed to it being reheated for us in a microwave. I interpreted it as further proof that either 1. this was the stalest sticky bun in the world or 2. e.leaven has the worst recipe for sticky buns in the world.

The sticky bun had a high point: there was no shortage of nuts rolled inside it. Lacking the strength to do further battle with the pastry, I resigned myself to merely picking out the nuts.

Moving on to our main courses – veggie quiche for me and huevos rancheros for the man – things did not get much better.

I appreciated that the cashier was willing to swap the mixed green salad that should accompany the quiche for breakfast potatoes. That’s good customer service. Then I tasted the breakfast potatoes. They weren’t offensive, but neither did they have any flavor. It was a waste of potatoes.

The slice of quiche ($6.95) was a good size and topped with a half-inch layer of cheese that “greasy” doesn’t begin to describe. The soggy (bottom) and dry (back) crust tasted like it had been made the same day as the sticky bun. The quiche was chock full of veggies, but at the expense of egg.

The base of the huevos rancheros ($8.50) is a deep fried tortilla. With a full half of an avocado on top of said fried tortilla, this dish looks more appetizing than the quiche. And it is, but it never ventures out of the “meh” category.

I left thankful Great Harvest Bread Company was just up the street.

e.leaven, open daily 8 a.m. 3 p.m.; 175 Center St., 733-5600, eleavenfood.com.

About Geraldine Mishev

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