Sunday, June 08, 2008

Daily highlight #18: the substitute made the day - Restaurant: Cake & Ale

I am no discoverer when it comes to restaurants. People on restaurant forums tell me what's new and where to go. I also like to wait for a place to iron its kinks out before my visit. It significantly minimizes my chances of spending good money on disappointments. The one draw back is whenever I am ready to blog about a place, it's no longer brand new and I've already grown tired of reading about it on other blogs. So I sit on the blog post and so it gets forgotten and never make it into the blogsphere. This could have been the fate of my post on Cake & Ale, but this morning I woke up thinking about the pork ragu over pappardelle and thought it a shame not to share its deliciousness.

Before we get to that, let's look at some other tasty nibbles on the specials board the night we went during mother's day week (Yup, I am very behind on this one). A word of warning, the specials turned out to be much more expensive than what's on the menu and the prices were not reflected on the board, at least I didn't notice their existence.

I lost a deviled egg half to hungry J before this photo. The eggs tasted fresh if a tad under seasoned. The pickles were awesome, crunchy, slightly sweet, and none too salty.

The toad in the hole was a throwback to a childhood favorite my mother made with an egg and sliced mantou, the Chinese steamed bun, in our cast iron wok. Fantastically simple with nothing much but the runny yoke to season the buttered toast, this slice was a treat for the inner child sick of fou fou fine dining flourishes. Just be ware that the price tag for simplicity is quite dear.

J got the burger and was too engrossed in conversation with my dad to share. I did manage to steal some fries, which were nicely salty and pleasantly crisp.

Then there was my pork ragu over pappardelle (above), a substitute for the gnocchi I had heard much about. My disappointment over not being able to try the gnocchi evaporated as soon as I saw the bowl of pretty pasta covered with cheese shavings. I haven't had pasta this good in many months. So perfectly al dente was the homemade pappardelle, I could see myself eating it plain by the bowful with just some salt, pepper, and good olive oil. But why give up the awesome pork ragu, when it was so generously provided and so full of porky flavor. Lip-stickily lardy as it was, it managed to not come across overly rich thanks to the acidic touch of red sauce, just lovely and crave worthy.

To end our meal with sweetness, we ordered the phatty cakes, the only type of "cake" offered at Cake & Ale. I was a bit let down that a place with Cake in its name doesn't offer real cakes, but rather serve cutely named cookies. I did love the creme filling with a bit of tang and liked the ginger cookies, but they were just slightly harder than I would have preferred. In it's defense, Cake & Ale states on its website that its name means "the good things in life" and does not simply refer to the two as their main attractions. To their stated end, this place offers plenty.

Cake & Ale
254 W. Ponce de Leon Ave.
Decatur, GA 30030

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Had dinner there last night. Service was SLOW. The kitchen made us wait almost an hour between our starters and entrees.The burger was not I had fries for dinner! On a good note, the Arancini and Fried Okra were stand-outs. After spending $100 (for two) we felt like we'd been taken and my husband was still hungry when we got home. We won't be back but I will try to recreate one of their signature drinks, PVK. Pineapple juice, lime, and house-infused vanilla vodka.......YUM.