This morning Darlington and I had breakfast at Rachel’s Kitchen, which occupies what could possibly be the teensiest restaurant space I have seen in this country. I’m actually a little curious to know what the square footage is, or at least the maximum number of people the walls can hold. If anything, it reminds me of phone booth squashing — not that anyone uses pay phones anymore, let alone crams into a booth with twenty-two of his or her closest friends.
To give you an idea of how petite the place is… there are three tables at Rachel’s, each of which is probably two feet by two feet, that are situated in front of blond slatted-wood benches anchored to the walls. If the benches are occupied and more seating is needed, there are folding chairs leaning against the juice fridge. Then there’s the counter, the bitty coffee area, and the “kitchen” aspect of Rachel’s Kitchen. All of this fits in the space about the size of a one-car garage, albeit a many-windowed citron green and smoky gray one-car garage. The picture on Rachel’s site (which I have pilfered, as I forgot my camera at home and hate my phone’s photos, which is why I don’t have a photo of my meal) is really accurate in portraying its size, and its color scheme, since you can see bits of the painted walls inside.
Darlington and I timed our arrival perfectly. When she got to Rachel’s it had cleared out; right as we finished ordering, two couples walked in — and just like that, every seat in the house was occupied, folding chairs included. Six people doesn’t seem like a lot, but in Rachel’s it almost was, particularly with the two owners behind the counter. The thing is, it was the perfect number. Four separate conversations took place without anyone having to shout, newspapers were shaken out, coffee was slurped. It was ridiculously cozy, especially with the bright winter morning light coming in the windows behind where I was sitting.
It’s funny, because Darlington and I have different tastes in food, especially in that she’s a vegetarian and I likes me some meat. That said, we both craved on the same item: the Breakfast Eddie. We differed only in the bagel department — onion for me, everything for her. Aside from that, though, it was cream cheese, scallions, tomato and scrambled egg atop the aforementioned bagel, alongside a hash brown that reminded me of McDonald’s… in a good way. It was salty and potato-y, with the little golden shreds of potato shaped into a perfect oblong. Darlington used a fork and a knife to eat hers, but I tore into mine barbarian-style, and licked my fingers afterwards. The Eddie itself was delicious; the taste of each component shone clear as individual ingredients, but each flavor went really well together. I loved the scallions too — a nice crisp burst of green amongst the melty cheese, the soft tomato and the warm egg. The only thing I was a little underwhelmed by was the bagel itself; I thought it was a tad too doughy, but that might be because I grew up with New York bagels and can’t help but disparage bagels of shady origin.
One of the nicest things about Rachel’s is the women running it. Though Rachel herself is no longer at Rachel’s Kitchen, Erin and Megan are both incredibly nice and unbelievably friendly. When I arrived a few minutes before Darlington, they were playing matchmaker to a policewoman who dropped by for a coffee. Afterwards, they greeted patrons by name and worked as efficiently as any machine, back-to-back in the minuscule cooking space, joking and chatting all the while, and generally adding to the cozy, convivial feel. Thus far I’ve only been to Rachel’s in the morning; next time I’ll make sure I drop by for lunch. I’ve already got my eye on the Allen & Company, with bacon.
12 Church street
Boston, Massachusestts 02116