Wednesday, December 19, 2007

California Cafe Rises from the ashes

The other evening, I was able to have a special holiday dinner with my daughter while my husband had drinks at C.B. Hannigans.
We decided to try California Cafe. It had gotten stale, if not contrived.
It was everything BUT this time around. We had a delightful and sparkly time!

The menu was similar in that it had a variety of types of entrees and appetizers. You don't go here unless you intend upon spending money. Everything is a la carte.

They're very family friendly and had a cool Manga style kids menu with crayons. They have a bento box meal for kids, or they can order the items separately. All my princess wanted was spaghetti and chocolate milk. The glass they brought had a cool LED in the bottom that flashed red, green and blue. It was spectacular in the dimmed light and brought much delight to the people sitting around us. Her dessert was "milk and cookies" which would be any child's delight. There were two sugar based cookies that tasted homemade.

I had a green leaf salad which had candied walnuts on it and a delightful vinaigrette dressing.

Imagine my surprise when I saw coq au vin the menu. It takes forever to cook. I know! I've made it a few times. Of course I ordered it, and was so happy with the results. Thrilled, actually. The meat was so tender and fell off the bone. The sauce was marvelously seasoned. And the potatoes and onions. I only wish there were a few more. And that was OK leaving me wanting more. The portion size was perfect to sate my appetite and not feel stuffed to the gills.

The service was delightful even though there were a lot of large parties (it is near the holidays). Our server was knowledgeable on wine pairings. I had said I wanted a Pinot to go with my meal, and she recommended the one that I'd been leaning towards! Whoohoo, validation!!

The pacing was relaxed, the water glass stayed full, and the check was promptly brought and processed once I was all finished.

But what really tickled my fancy? I sent my compliments to the chef about the coq au vin, and he came out to thank me for enjoying it. Huzzah! Did I feel special.

We'll be back, no doubt about it.