Friday, October 28th, 2011
During her visit, AD and I packed a year’s worth of drama in a week. Before taking her to the airport, we decided to find a restaurant nearby with a patio so we could enjoy the sunny day with a touch of Fall in the air, and enjoy a casual lunch while rehashing the events of her visit.
We decided on Cafe 640, formerly Cafe di Sol, who’s quaint patio faces a colorful section of N. Highland Avenue in the Poncey Highlands. The trees, flowers and tiny lights strung all around make guests feel like they are in a small town, but the sirens and occassional passing vagrant remind them otherwise! We chose one of the small tables near the street with the uncomfortable wooden slat chairs.
Should we have wine? Silly question. A glass of riesling for me, pinot noir for her. The three most expensive appetizers ($29 all together) sounded like an awesome clusterf*ck of flavor, perfect for sharing.
Delivered first were the panko crusted fried green tomatoes with New Orleans style BBQ shrimp. You know how I feel about fried green tomatoes. I rarely have a positive reaction to them, but often order them just to see how badly the kitchen can screw ‘em up. Of course the tomatoes were too heavily breaded, but they were not greasy. We could actually taste the tartness of the tomatoes, which was a great match to the sweet, plump shrimp.
A huge bowl of mussels and leeks in a red curry broth came out along with the “ropa vieja”, a dish of slow braised shredded flank steak on tortilla chips, then topped with a little melted aged white cheddar, fresh jalapeno slices, and drizzled with cilantro sour cream. In effect, Spanish nachos. Having just spent her last month abroad in San Sabastian, AD was interested to see how authentic this dish would taste.
The mussels were well-prepared, although I couldn’t detect much curry in the broth. That didn’t stop me from sopping up every last drop with the grilled slices of bread that were served with them.
In between slurping up shellfish, we tried the tortillas, each topped with copious amounts of tender shredded beef. The fresh, not pickled, jalapenos were fiery hot. We both loved it!
We enjoyed our lunch so much that I suggested LC and I dine there for an impromptu dinner the following week. Naturally, we had to order the ropa vieja. I knew LC would love the spicy nachos! To mix it up a bit we tried a house salad with a fantastic housemade balsamic, a stack of perfectly crispy onion rings, and a side of truffle mac ‘n’ cheese, bubbly and browned on top. A martini and a Guinness draft washed it all down.
But LC was still hungry, so we order the panna cotta to go. Needless to say, it didn’t even make it to the car. Sublime, light, and topped with fresh blueberries, we polished off the dessert in seconds.
640 N. Highland Avenue 404-724-0711