Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Cafe Chloe- San Diego

Frenching for Brunch
Café Chloe (721 9th Ave) was the perfect place to meet the girls for Saturday brunch - classy and sassy. Its 1940’s Parisian flare gave off a whiff of contemporary nostalgia, as if we’d been placed in a scratchy black and white film with modern day conveniences. Aretha Franklin’s, “Baby, baby sweet baby” wafted over Chloe's marble-topped tables and sleek, silver stools surrounding the counter where a waitress mixed champagne with exotic elixirs like lavender and pomegranate.

Real cane cola and root beer came in glass bottles, but I chose the latte served in a small bowl without a handle- I liked doing the two handed lift to sip my froth. Their lavender lemonade was phenomenal and pretty in pink with a garnish of purple. Our waitress said lavender tea was the secret to its strong, floral flavor- ideal for summer sipping. Salt and pepper came in petite, ceramic dishes and sugar was served in raw, lump form- attention to details like these is noticeable (and noteworthy.)

On my last visit, I had gone for the heavy comfort of macaroni and cheese with crispy chunks of pancetta (good, though extremely filling), but today…was a day for flambé. I loved how they baked crème fraiche right on top of the flatbread and then paved the surface with small rectangles of bacon, chopped and crunchy like a hundred savory Scrabble tiles- it scored major points. Caramelized onions tied it all together with a subtle sweetness that quickly inducted me into the clean plate club.

Even when I brought my meat n’ potatoes man here, he loved his poached eggs served over toast with a mushroom/sage buerre blanc. He was surprised that this petite plate filled him up by layering complimentary ingredients. And that is all part of Chloe's charm. They perfect the European philosophy of satisfying the appetite by depth, not width.

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