Thursday, December 17, 2009

What Do You Mean . . .

we’re out of pie? The blueberry crumb disappeared. Was it nighttime intruders? Did the cats learn to open the refrigerator door? We couldn’t have eaten a whole pie in three days, could we?

It was time to replenish the pie supply and what better plan than to couple this with lunch. It's a short seventeen-mile drive north of Phoenix to the rustic setting that is the home of the Rock Springs Cafe. A handful of buildings surround the Cafe and surrounding this small group is an expanse of desert. This is the view looking east from the Cafe across I-17.

As I said yesterday, the Café doesn’t break new ground with its menu. Appetizers include such restaurant standards as chicken wings, fried mushrooms, fried zucchini, onion rings, chicken breast fingers, and potato skins. There is a soup of the day and chile and a chef salad, a grilled chicken salad, and a Caesar salad. There are what the menu calls “Simple Country Cooking” dinners: fried chicken, fried or grilled catfish, grilled salmon, Atlantic cod (fried or grilled), liver and onions (not a chance), grilled pork chops with applesauce, chicken fried steak, or hot turkey or hot roast beef sandwiches. There are also steaks, Southwest favorites, and barbeque along with burgers and hot dogs.

My choice came from the long list of sandwiches which included: grilled cheese, grilled ham and cheese, a BLT, a classic club, a tuna melt, a French dip, a Philly beef sandwich, a fried fish sandwich, and an eight-ounce sirloin sandwich. It was from this list that I chose the fried fish sandwich – two large pieces of breaded fried catfish on a Kaiser roll with a side of fries.

The fish filets were sweet (obviously farm-raised), moist, and flakey, and the light coating was crisp and lightly seasoned. The accompanying tartar sauce was likely commercial but was still tasty. The fries were just OK. They had all of the characteristics of fries that had been sitting under a warming lamp.

Chuck looked to “Simple Country Cooking” section of the menu and chose the hot turkey sandwich. I give good marks to the real mashed potatoes (red skin-on) and the rich turkey flavored gravy. But the turkey was deli loaf style rather than having been sliced directly from the bone.

I suspect most of the lunch customers (and the café was full for lunch) were there for pie. We were no different. Now Chuck likes peach pie more than I do, and I like pecan pie more than Chuck does. So instead of sharing one dessert, as is our modus operandi, we each ordered a slice of our favorite. Mine was the Jack Daniels pecan; the sweet syrupy base flavored with a generous amount of bourbon. Chuck’s peach crumb was equally good; the peach slices retained their texture, there was a minimum of both thickener and sweetener in the filling, and the filling has just the right taste of cinnamon.

So what did we do about our household pie shortage? We took home an apple crumb! Our lunch was OK – I think that the kitchen at Rock Springs Café does a better breakfast – and would give lunch 3.5 Addies and dessert 5.0 Addies.

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