Friday, April 22, 2011

Parkside Cafe: Closer Than I Thought

I am completely clueless when it comes to distance and navigation.

Because for the most part I limit myself to the city proper for, well, just about everything, I lose sight of what's just out of my usual range.

Like the new Parkside Cafe on Forest Hill Avenue. After a friend wrote "I realized I haven't seen you in ages. Lunch or drinks this week?" I suggested lunch at the month-old southside spot. I've heard nothing but good things about the food.

Turns out the place is 3.24 miles from my house. Crazy! I walk that far every morning of my life. Hell, next time I'll bike it since I enjoy the ride over that bridge so much. So I'll arrive with a sheen. Friends overlook such things.

But my friend was coming from the West End and, as we all know, you can't get there from here, so he ran a bit late (made all the more obvious for the large neon-rimmed clock on the wall).

It was only fifteen minutes and my rule of thumb is to wait 45 minutes for a tardy friend, so he was well within his limits.

Besides, I'd have just gone ahead and eaten without him, especially after looking at the well-priced and thoughtful menu (even the wine pricing: $5/glass. $24 bottles across the board).

As it was, the moment he walked in I ordered the potato and pea samosas with chutney and raita, knowing he'd eat them with me.

As I like to teasingly remind him, he is the only person I have ever seen order two sides of potato: fried and mashed. Oh, yes he did.

I should be ashamed to say how quickly we inhaled them after dredging them in chutney, but they were good, the crispy outside contrasting with the creamy potato and abundant peas inside.

He moved on to a light lunch, the seared meatloaf with horseradish cream, kale (they were out of collards)and mac and cheese. My two bites of his meatloaf were satisfyingly like Mom's and he praised the kale's flavor.

My baby spinach salad with shrimp, avocado and warm bacon vinaigrette may have been a tad overdressed, but the flavors were spot on. I especially enjoyed all the chunks of bacon in the vinaigrette, which were a tasty complement to the creamy avocado and of course the spinach.

We were busy catching up, commiserating about our under-employed statuses, but mostly talking travel and music since he's taking a road trip to Colorado soon and hoping to catch some music along the way. I know I would.

Of course, I would have also thought that Parkside was outside my eating radius and I would have been mistaken and missed terrific food in a clean-lined and cozy space.

This is why I need a navigator. I can come up with the ideas, I just need someone to help get me there...or tell me that they're not too far away.

Fact and metaphor.


  1. Glad you liked it, Karen! I love the wood and ironwork that have been so lovingly created. I am also very partial to the artists in the kitchen ...

  2. It had a very cool vibe and now I want to go back and do some kitchen visiting...

  3. Thanks Karen, Milton will be glad to hear you enjoyed his food!

  4. May I suggest a Friday or Saturday night, or a Sunday brunch, in order to see the chef closest to my heart? He will be close to your heart too since he became engaged last week at one of your favorite spots ... the VMFA (Picasso exhibit), followed by
    Amuse. You'll be glad to know that your friends there treated them like royalty. What more could a Mom wish for her son and favorite daughter-in-law to be?

  5. Not much!

    Engaged at Picasso and that's romantic!

  6. If you visit on a Saturday for lunch, I will wait on you and take you on a tour of the kitchen where you can meet the owner and visit the wonderfully romantic Gabe:)

  7. Wow, Liz! How can I pass up such a wonderfully romantic offer?