Support Local Journalism. Join Riverfront Times Press Club.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Larry Crowne and French Toast at Sunrise Cafe

Posted By on Mon, Jul 11, 2011 at 1:00 PM

  • Emily Wasserman

What do you get when you combine the economic recession and a middle-aged man?

The first word that usually comes to mind is "unemployment," but some might also think of Larry Crowne, the newest feel-good flick from My Big Fat Greek Wedding's Nia Vardalos and box-office favorite Tom Hanks.

Larry Crowne tells the story of, well, Larry Crowne, a middle-aged man and star employee at a Target-esque superstore. As the result of company downsizing, Crowne is fired and left with his house, a gas-guzzling SUV and the prospect of working menial jobs to make a living. After consulting with his next-door-neighbor, a lottery winner turned garage sale salesman, Crowne decides to take the step he never took 30 years earlier -- to enroll in community college.

Although Crowne takes the typical freshman course load, ranging from Speech to Economics 101, he is anything but the typical freshman: He joins a motor scooter gang, has his tchotchkes feng-shuied by an attractive twenty-something free spirit -- and receives warnings from her dark, leather jacket-wearing boyfriend.

But you can't have a Tom Hanks movie without a little romance. After all, the standout element of Cast Away was Hanks' on-again, off-again relationship with Wilson the volleyball. In Larry Crowne, Hanks falls for his disenchanted Beginning Speech teacher, Ms. Tainot (not Tai-NOT), played by Julia Roberts. Their chemistry doesn't exactly sizzle, but as Crowne moves further down the road of self-discovery, his newfound joie de vivre provides the perfect antidote to Tainot's vulnerability.

All that self-discovery comes at a price, though, and like most college freshmen, Crowne needs a way to pay for his hefty tuition bills. He finds a job working as a cook in a friend's diner, churning out pancakes and omelettes at rapid-fire speed, all while managing to finish his homework.

To pay homage to Crowne's after-school job, Gut Check decided to sample the "One of a Kind" French toast at Sunrise Café (24 Four Seasons Shopping Center, Chesterfield; 314-576-2166). The café's kitschy ambiance seemed to ooze Larry Crowne, and the bizarre assortment of knickknacks for sale at the front of the restaurant rivals Crowne's neighbor's garage sale.

In keeping with the film's theme, the French toast was sweet, flaky on the outside, soft on the inside and satisfying. The challah bread was soaked in creamy, cinnamon-flecked custard, and a light dusting of powdered sugar and maple syrup capped off this delicious American favorite. Despite its rich consistency and generous helping, we found ourselves wanting to go back for more.

Larry Crowne might be a little too saccharine for some viewers, but like the French toast, it won't leave you with a frown. And look out for a cameo from Crowne's own French toast in the film. It proves that even in the middle of economic upheaval second chances -- or even second helpings -- are still possible.

Tags: ,

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

July 28, 2021

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In St. Louis

© 2021 Riverfront Times

Website powered by Foundation