Friday, January 29, 2010

Always Fresh, Always Good

The website for Volunteer Park Cafe can be found at It's an easy one to remember because the food at VPC is always fresh and definitely always good.

Until last night, I'd only visited for lunch. January proved to be a good time to try out dinner, as the cafe was offering a three course menu for $30 in celebration of their third anniversary. Fittingly, we went as a group of three - Lewissa, Michael, and I - and together shared one of the most enjoyable meals I've had this winter.

VPC doesn't do fancy food. At least, not fancy by urban restaurant standards, although I realize that to some the fact that wild boar bolognese appears on the menu takes the food out of the realm of the everyday. But ultimately, the food is just good. Really good. Twirl the homemade pasta onto your fork and just revel in the flavors, food doesn't get much more satisfying than this.

Michael and Lewissa each ordered the bolognese mentioned above, while I got the vegetarian offering, a fantastic dish of pappardelle tossed in a light coating of creamy, tangy sauce tasting richly of cheese. Salads were tossed to perfection, and dessert almost stole the show. Tender bread pudding that melted in the mouth, a concoction of hot chocolate sauce, soft chocolate cake, and whipped cream they call "muck muck", and - almost surprisingly the piece de resistance - a pear and ginger crisp. With just the right amount of ginger, it was a winning combination.

I always feel like I'm walking on clouds after a meal there. Sure, it can be crowded around mid-day on the weekends, but I've never had a bad experience here, never a bite that wasn't delicious, never a server that just didn't care. And the homey atmosphere with window seats and throw pillows but without the tablecloths and overly styled decor make me want to stay for hours. So yes, I may sound a little overly enthusiastic, but Volunteer Park Cafe is always fresh, always good, and pretty much what I've always wanted in a restaurant.

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