Chomp has been on my to-eat list for a while now, and with the news of a new "Unicorn Melt", I had to make a stop. Nothing tickles my fancy quite like new and interesting food things!
Stumptown is one of my all-time favorite coffee shops, so seeing that they have Stumptown Cold Brew was a good sign. There's something about that smooth, rich coffee that I love. Maybe it's the smoothness and richness.
The hipster novelty factor here is off the charts. There are juices served in light bulb jars, smoothies served in mason jars (that you can take home!), fancy varieties of sriracha, tater tots galore, vintage signs, and of course, the star of the show, the Unicorn Melt. It's all very Instagrammable.
Before getting to the melt though, let me talk a bit about the breakfast burrito. Being a breakfast burrito aficionado, I always find myself compelled to try one whenever a restaurant has it on the menu. Not only are they usually a good barometer of the style and quality of a restaurant's food, but they are effing delicious. This however is where my Chomp journey took a bad turn. The first warning sign is the American cheese. American cheese is, in my opinion, only good for reminding oneself of how much better other cheeses are. It's also allowable for use with white bread in a throwback grilled cheese -- the grilled cheese you used to have before finding out that other types of bread and cheese exist. Also, tater tots? While I love 'em, they don't really work in a breakfast burrito. Hash browns is already pushing it, but when you get so lazy as to just drop in a few tater tots, that doesn't bode well.
Outcome? Not the best. I'll give it points for avoiding the three most common breakfast burrito pitfalls: being too dry, being too mushy, and being too bland. However, I just am not impressed. The cheese of course is the biggest letdown, but even otherwise, it was very... meh. The egg is pretty good, and the avocado does its best to help. But there's just something generic about it. I also still don't know what a "gourmet white tortilla" is. The burrito isn't bad, but I personally don't plan on getting it again (except maybe to try it with sausage instead of bacon).
Okay, okay. Enough about breakfast burritos. Let's get to business: the Unicorn Melt. I learned about this from a post on We Like L.A. -- a very awesome blog about L.A. news and food. The above photo is from their post, and it looks awesome! Look at all those neon colors! I know, I know... It's just colored grilled cheese, but like I said, this sort of thing gets me excited! So imagine my excitement drop when I get this:
Now I'll cut them some slack here for a couple reasons. First, it was pretty busy when we went. It was lunch time on a Sunday, and orders were flying. Second, this is a very new item that probably still needs some tweaking and training for consistency. It's not even an official menu item yet. That said, just look at it! It's pretty much orange with only a bit of purple and green. There's no pink. There's no blue. The people next to us had one, as well, and it was all purple and green -- no pink or orange. It was not unlike the disappointment one has when getting a smashed, sloppy fast food burger after seeing a commercial for its plump, juicy, perfectly assembled cousin. If it was a regular grilled cheese sandwich, I'd give it decent marks, but I came for the rainbow cheese, damn it!
Overall, I'm not really feeling Chomp. The servers are quite friendly, and there's a lot of appealing menu items to choose from. In fact, I hope to visit again to try more of them; the burgers look quite tasty, and maybe they'll work out the kinks with the Unicorn Melt. But I got the impression that this place is more about appearances than quality food. It's trying to appeal to the young Snapchat crowd, and in the process, it's being too hipster for its own good. The novelty wears off quickly when you realize you've spent a lot of money on mediocre food. And when even the promise of a killer snap turns out poorly, it's hard to recommend them at all.