As you’ll see, I get a little ranty at the end of this post – but hey: you gotta understand that by the sixth consecutive night of 10-hour-long graveyard shifts, I turn into a Grumpy Gus. You’d think that I’d be used to this after twelve years of third-shift work, but my penultimate shift of the week is always the pits. 

While my nose was pressed to the grindstone, I gulped down my packed lunch of leftover emergency protein and roasted kabocha squash.

When I returned back at the hotel in the morning, I nibbled on some of the fresh berries I was packing into the kids’ lunches…

…before conking out for a few hours.

Upon waking up in the evening, I was too tired to cook, so we decided to head out to dinner at Mayfield Bakery & Café.

It was disappointing. And sadly, I really wasn’t all that surprised.

Admittedly, I’ve long had a love-hate relationship with this restaurant. We’ve patronized this place for years because the food quality is high and the space is great. But every time we visit, we find ourselves crossing our fingers, hoping against hope that the meal will go off without a hitch. More often than not, things go awry.

As I’ve mentioned before, the service at Mayfield is choppy at best. Once, Fitbomb and the kids waited 45 minutes after ordering brunch before the food arrived. Another time, our friend J’s entree didn’t arrive until the rest of the table was finished eating. The last time we were Mayfield, the steak we ordered medium-rare came out well-done, and we had to hunt down our server for our check after he disappeared for 20 minutes. We’ve brought out-of-town guests here for dinner (like Dallas and Melissa) because the ingredients are well-sourced, but only after warning them to expect a long and bumpy ride.

I guess we keep coming back because we’re optimists at heart. We keep convincing ourselves that “the next time, it’ll be better!”

Tonight’s dinner started out promisingly. We were seated right away, and after ordering our food at 7:10 p.m., our appetizers and the kids’ food arrived promptly.

My hubby and I split an asparagus salad…

…and a plate of pork belly.

Both dishes were well-executed, and set up our expectations for a great meal.

But 40 minutes after our appetizers were done, our entrees were still nowhere in sight.

We kept scanning the dining room, hoping to spot our food. The place wasn’t full, so we couldn’t figure out why our dishes never materialized.

I’ll say this: Our server was very apologetic…but by the third time he dropped by the table to promise that our food was “coming right up,” our kids had completely run out of space on the table to doodle on. And the iPad battery was entirely depleted.

I still don’t know why it took so long for the kitchen to fire off our order of short ribs (which should’ve already been braised/sous vided and ready for plating)…

…and a steak (which we ordered medium-rare, but came out chewy and super-rare).


As you know from reading my site, I almost never make a stink about restaurants. I know I’m fortunate enough in these tough economic times to be able to afford the luxury of eating out, and I recognize that restaurant workers bust their butts every day in service of their customers. My husband and I have spent years toiling in food service ourselves, and know how hard these jobs can be. But something’s broken at Mayfield.

I’ve given this restaurant the benefit of the doubt for years – mostly because the food is often terrific. But there comes a point where the high cost and poor dining experience outweigh the tastiness of the dishes. For me, it took dozens of meals here to reach that point, but now, I can’t help but conclude that the restaurant is like a beautiful, vapid Cylon: pretty on the outside, but soulless on the inside. This is all the more puzzling because Mayfield is part of a large, prominent restaurant group, and we’ve had consistently fantastic experiences at its other joints (including Spruce and The Village Pub). Frankly, I’d much rather go around the corner and spend considerably less money for a quick and tasty meal at Asian Box or Tava.

I just re-read my Yelp review from 2009, and my experience from three years ago was consistent with my experience tonight. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me a gazillion times, shame on me. 

I told you I was in a bad mood. Grrr.

My disposition’ll be much sunnier tomorrow. My workweek’ll be over, and it’ll be my Flip Day, so I won’t be posting my daily Paleo Eats – but I’ll have an It Starts With Food review and giveaway! (Spoiler alert: I LOVE the book.)

About Michelle Tam

Hello! My name is Michelle Tam, and I love to eat. I think about food all the time. It borders on obsession. I’ve always loved the sights and smells of the kitchen. My mother was (and is) an excellent cook, and as a kid, I was her little shadow as she prepared supper each night. From her, I gained a deep, abiding love for magically transforming pantry items into mouth-watering family meals.

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