In this era of iPhones and Twitter and Yelp parties, there seems to be a rush to get restaurant-related news into the world. I barely have a cell phone (mine has a prepaid plan, and I barely spend $25/year on it) and I don’t do Yelp. While I do tweet on occasion, I’ve made it a policy not to do the “@restaurant-name-I-want-to-suck-up-to” thing every time I post about a restaurant. (And while we’re on the subject, is anyone really all that important that they need to tweet while with family or friends?)
It’s been another policy of mine to wait a week before reporting on a restaurant, as I like to see what’s enduring about a place before writing about it – rather than get swept up in the moment (or hysteria, for some). But as I continue to catch up (in reverse order) on my restaurant reports, I’m now back to October, and admittedly it’s getting harder and harder to remember the details of all my meals. I typically take notes, but not always; besides, they don’t always tell the whole story. So, look for more write-ups in which I feature just one dish I ate, therefore sharing one impression.
Louisa’s Cafe and Bakery in Eastlake, with its rustic, coffeehouse atmosphere, is an inviting place that recently added dinner service that occasionally features live music. (Owner Alcena Plum also invites local artists to show their work in her restaurant.) The menu is seasonal and smacks of comfort food. Maybe it was the farmhouse feel that put me in the mood for vegetables, but while I contemplated the verdure al forno (herb-seasoned, oven-roasted vegetables over grilled spinach polenta) for a long time, my carnivorous ways steered me toward a pan-seared pork loin chop, while my dining companion tried the Bourbon Street catfish (blackened) with shrimp creole.
Both entrees got passing grades, but when I think back to my meal at Louisa’s, it’s a lovely little salad I remember most. The chef’s panzanella salad had nice greens, fresh croutons, aged Manchego cheese, a wonderful chili vinaigrette, and vegetables like I was craving from the outset: grilled eggplant and smoky tomatoes. This was a salad worth, well, yelping about. Take note: that’s yelp with a little “y.”