Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Crema of the Crop: Restaurant Review



What is the sign of a good meal?  It's a goat cheese mustache!  One of the new topics I am going to cover in this blog is restaurants.  No matter how much you love to cook and eat healthy family meals at home, it’s still nice to go out sometimes.  And since going out with children is a challenge and finding something healthy is an even bigger challenge I thought it would be nice for my readers to have a little help...like some reviews by Bebe B and I.  We will review local restaurants and even national and global restaurants when we travel.  Things I will be looking at include but are not limited to are; the menu, the use of organic and local ingredients, the atmosphere, the attitude of the staff towards customers (especially children) and the cost!  These reviews will be completely unbiased as I am not accepting anything from the restaurants and I will be paying for our meals myself.  We will start this week off with a local restaurant which Bebe B and I have visited on a few occasions including this week.

Crema Cafe in Madison, Wisconsin 
I’ll start by saying I am a big fan of this quant little cafe.  There is a beautiful peek-a-boo view of lake Monona including the capitol.  The menu features some creative and gourmet dishes and they have a full expresso menu, so any mommies needing to get their coffee on, you will be smiling! Have I mentioned I love coffee?  I love coffee!  The kid’s menu is a short list but it’s full of fun and healthy choices.  Bebe B has gobbled up the organic scrambled eggs and adores the PB & P (natural peanut butter and organic strawberry preserves).  The kid’s menu items are all served with fresh fruit and love that they include the good stuff like blueberries and blackberries!  It’s always a little annoying when a place says fresh fruit bowl and it’s all melon and 1 berry- but not here, they don’t skimp on the fruit variety.  Some more of the pluses include that they have a small selection of books and little canvas bags of play food that kids can take to their tables to play while you wait for you order.  The play food has been highly “loved” so if your a “germ-a-phob” like me you may want to use some wipes or hand sanitizer on them...especially since you know the first test little one’s give the them is the mouth-test.



 


As for the adult menu...YUM.  I want to try more things on the menu but I can’t resist the Harvest Greens Salad, it’s so perfect.  Organic mixed greens, apples, toasted pecans, goat cheese,  dried cranberries and a white wine vinaigrette that is fabulous.  I have also tried the Gobbler sandwich complete with Door County cherry relish which is a winner.  They also have some creative and scrumptious smoothies that I highly recommend.  The cost is pretty reasonable when you think of what you get; made to order fresh food using local and organic ingredients in much of their food.  Salads and sandwiches will run you about $7-8 and kid’s meals for breakfast are $3 and for lunch $4.  You order at the counter and seat yourself, when ready they bring your order out to you.  So far in my experience the staff had been pleasant and friendly with a welcoming attitude towards children.  One of the few drawbacks is that the cafe is small and almost always hopping at lunch time.  There have been a few times we had to leave because there were no tables available and no one was leaving anytime soon, which was a bummer.  The best time to go is for breakfast or an early or late lunch.  This week we went at around 12:30 and although we had to wait a few minutes after ordering some tables opened up and we had no problem finding a spot.  It was a wonderful lunch.  Bebe B kept me laughing as she was obsessed with stealing goat cheese from salad...that’s how she got the goat cheese mustache.  We give Crema Cafe, in the words of Bebe B, a giant “MMMMMMMM”!


UPDATE: Cafe has expanded and is double the size!!

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