Brunch at The Cafe
I really love going out for brunch. Don’t get me wrong — I’m not likely to turn down a lunch or dinner invitation, either. There’s just something really special about modest breakfast getting all glammed up in her party best. Recently, Laura (one of my former RAGBRAI companions) and I indulged in a late-morning “second breakfast” at The Cafe in Ames. The Cafe boasts a menu heavy on locally-produced foods, and its offerings change with the seasons.
Laura ordered the Wild Rice Porridge, which was cooked with cream, infused with vanilla, and topped with homemade granola and fresh berries. A tiny pitcher of maple syrup came on the side. While she loved its flavor and texture, Laura did find this dish very rich. How rich? She went from “maybe I’ll go for a run this afternoon” to “I am definitely going for a run this afternoon” in just one bite.
In spite of the wonky grammar of the description, I ordered the Baked Eggs. My favorite way to eat eggs is poached (or rather, it was). Baked eggs achieve a very similar consistency, and this dish had the advantage of being smothered in flavorful toppings as well — salty, tangy, and creamy all at the same time. The wonderful toast, made from fresh, Cafe-baked bread, provided ample means for scooping up the gussied-up eggs.
The home-fried potatoes on the side were disappointing; they were well-seasoned, but a bit tough and dry, as if they had been cooked earlier and kept warm too long. In spite of the underwhelming potatoes, the baked egg dish is my new favorite brunch item at the Cafe, and I will be sure to stop by for it again before it disappears with the seasonal shift.