2958 SE Glisan, 232-1504

The Laurelthirst is very dark, and when it's raining out, one feels like they're in a little, fuzzy cocoon while eating there. This has a lot to do with the dark atmosphere, but a lot more to do with the food--which is excellent.

Above all, the Thirst demonstrates a real understanding of simplicity in breakfast food. There are absolutely no gimmicks here, just a handful of omelet/scramble options, all of which are very calculated, elegant combinations of ingredients.

My favorite, for example, is the tomato/cheddar/bacon combo, which is made with giant chunks of fresh, salty bacon--cooked just a little crispy--melted cheese, and diced tomatoes. Whether you're getting the scramble or the omelet, the eggs are served in a buttery fluff, never too rock-like, and not too rubbery. Also delicious is the cream cheese/avocado/tomato/mushroom combo, which comes with sliced avocado on top of the eggs, rather than mushed up within. For the non-egg-eater, the biscuits and gravy are a winning dish, with gravy as light and fluffy as the best hollandaise, and biscuits that are as flaky and moist as a well-cooked pastry.

One problem with the perma-stoned feeling of the Laurelthirst, however, is that the service can be hit or miss, as you get the idea most of the servers are chilling out back watching their favorite soap. I was recently one of the only customers in the place, and still had to wait 20 minutes after asking twice for coffee. When I finally decided to leave without the coffee, the waiter gave it to me anyway--in a waxed cup. As I was walking out, the waxed cup started scalding my hand and melting the wax into the coffee, so I left with a burned hand, a waxy mouth, and coffee stains on my pants. Go to the Thirst for an exceptional eating experience, but don't expect it to be fast or organized. KATIA DUNN