On an impromptu visit to Ft. Collins, my traveling partner and I happened across The Backporch Cafe while in search of a meal that would meet what seemed to be an insatiable hunger. Having arrived at the restaurant at the height of the breakfast hour, we were lead around tight corners and filed into a crowded waiting space that offered only a handful of chairs to its dozen or so occupants. A hostess weaved through the mass, charting the seating order by memory and calling on separate parties as vacancies surfaced.
In the ten or so minutes it took to get sat, I was struck up for conversation by a bearded young man who had noticed the Mala beads around my wrist; he went on the share that he had a trip planned to India the following month. This was his first visit to the restaurant, and my first time in the city. We introduced ourselves before being split apart by our separate table openings. His mannerisms were suggestive of qualities I would find to be true of the city; the mountain town possessed an inviting, relaxed and warm environment.
Our hostess eventually brought us to a table which sat four and was propped just far enough from the kitchen to be within ear shot of the muffled screams of a ticket taker, but also close enough to a set of windows which gave view to a vast redwood outdoor patio that was draped with massive red umbrellas. The deck was the type that might be attached to a summer lake house in the woods. Further adding to the cozy cabin feel was the interior decor which included tall, aluminum beer signs formatted like license plates that touted local crafts, as well as the scattering of paintings that depicted southwestern skies with dark sunsets and black deserts.
After having undergone a stark change in temperature - from a thick Texas heat to much thinner mountain air on a brisk morning - hot tea seemed appropriate. I went with the Apple Cinnamon Spice ($3). Ample in flavor, the tea was only the beginning to a heavy dose of comfort indulgences as my eating partner surprised by ordering a cinnamon roll ($3.50) that was sure to 'get the mind moving'. Before its arrival, however, our server came to take our full orders, which included on my part a BPC Scrambler ($9.50) without cheese.
And so the mammoth cinnamon roll arrived (not quite to the standard set by Ann Sather, but large no less) and was quickly carved up. On the first slice of a fork, the bun was soft and gooey all the way through, yet the initial taste proved the exterior to be more flaky and stiff than moist. As the bites progressed, chunks of the bun clumped together and latched to the roof of my mouth; the struggle of dislodging which left me clucking like a chicken. The bun itself contained deep pockets of sugar randomly placed throughout, and the uneven dispersing of flavors and rather resistant consistency ultimately rendered the item mediocre and unremarkable.
When my scramble arrived, the mind was certainly moving, though it didn't take much to identify the eggs, which sat atop a bed of diced potatoes, green peppers and mushrooms, as being much closer to the realm of over-medium than over-easy (as requested). While I later realized that I missed an opportunity to have the dish 'smothered in green chili for just an extra $1.50, a late request for a side of salsa at least helped add zest to the otherwise middling flavors of the dish.
In digging further, nothing stood out about the flavor of the vegetables; both the mushrooms and green peppers were sufficient fillers, while the potatoes had a crispiness that unmistakably reflected their preparation - you could almost taste the fryer. Worthy as a compliment, however, was the side English muffin. Light, airy and dressed in butter on its interior, the muffin had an outer crust that even showed hints of sweetness and a pleasant crunch.
While Back Porch Cafe was in fact intended as a stop-and-go breakfast joint on our trip, it lacked any distinguishable qualities to regard it as necessary upon a second visit to Ft. Collins. I happened to spill food on myself and eat a little more than I should have; so in many ways it was very ordinary. It should be noted, however, that the ensuing drive home was foiled by a compromised feeling in my stomach, which ultimately knocked the experience down a few notches.
(Items Ordered: Cinnamon Roll, Apple Cinnamon Spice Tea, BPC Scramble)
Rating: 3 Cinnamon Rolls (Out of Six)
1101 E Lincoln Ave, Fort Collins, CO 80526