Smack! Molly, with her small hand over her mouth, looks at me wide-eyed and brimming with joy and squeaks, “They have chai lattes here!”
Momentarily, I think she’ll cry. Molly is my sister, as are Cameron and Stormy (12, 24 and 14, respectively). Today is Friday, and we have proclaimed it to be Sister Day. The first stage of Sister Day is brunch at Josef’s Vienna Bakery and Café.
Josef’s is well known in Reno for its award-winning bakery, winning “Best Of” awards every year. Cookies and finer pastries from the bakery, like the chocolate mousse mini-cake (just the right size to stuff into your mouth before anyone asks for a taste), visually pressure you to sample them. Even so, we bypass the bakery counter and head for the café.
As my youngest sisters and I suck down ridiculous amounts of caffeine and sugar in our preferred forms (sugar, cream and a dribble of coffee ($2.20) for me, a giant glass of Coke ($2.25) for Stormy), Cameron demurely sips her water and shoots us disapproving looks. We take forever to order. Our waitress jokingly threatens us the third time she passes by. My indecision stems not from a lack of tempting meal descriptions (there are many), but instead from the hike in prices.
We decide. The “everyday omelet” with Swiss cheese, tomato and pesto ($9.75) for Cameron, whose heart is set on “those little potatoes.” Molly toggles between 12 varieties of French crepes and the standard scrambled eggs with cottage potatoes and thick strips of bacon ($8.50), and picks the latter for some reason. I try to dissuade her. Stormy and I feel a lunch vibe. She steals the rights to the curried chicken salad sandwich ($8.95), my fave, but I do the build-your-own combo, snagging the white bean and chicken chili with a half turkey and tomato sandwich ($9.25). We chat about the cheeriness of the décor, the sunlight playing easily off the hand-stenciled walls and furniture.
Our food arrives, and I jump headfirst into my hearty portion of chili, stopping only to choke on a piece of salsa burning in my throat. Tender shredded chicken seasoned with cilantro and cumin—even in the Reno summer, I love this chili. Cameron sadly tries to fork the cheese toward the empty side of her omelet, declaring in her best critic’s voice that “this cheese is not evenly dispersed,” but she loves the pesto. Both of the potato-eaters inform me of undercooked, lukewarm spuds wanting of more salt, although they are otherwise well-seasoned.
The scrambled eggs are fluffy, but Molly objects to the “excess wetness.” Her bacon is crispy and enticing. My turkey is dry, and its edges are like hard plastic. It should have been sent back, but I relish the perfect curried chicken salad instead. Everyone likes their bakery items, things like the double chocolate-dipped heart cookie ($1.85). Josef’s has a reputation for good breads.
We check the bill, and I feel like crying—it’s over $50. Josef’s has the right atmosphere for Sister Day, however, we paid too much for a mostly average meal. The menu has many delectable items, both in the bakery and the café, so check it out, by all means—just don’t bring your little sisters along until they can pay for their own $15 brunches.