Saturday, July 31, 2010

Serendipity and Cafe Nola

ser·en·dip·i·ty (srn-dp-t)1. The faculty of making fortunate discoveries by accident. 

If you know me at all you know I love those special little moments that just happen unexpectedly ,and usually on the heels of something not so special !  Yesterday we had one of those moments.  We started out for a road trip over to the Kitsap Peninsula via the Bainbridge Ferry out of Seattle.  Normally, it would be a quick 25 minute ride over. Remember I said normally.  When we left home,convertible top down,sun shining brightly, we didn't know that the early morning fog had  wreaked havoc on the Bainbridge ferry schedule. We learned that little piece of information when it was too late to turn back .

 Too late meaning we were sandwiched between 50 cars, no escape in site and no ferry for hours !  We pulled out our reading material and munched on stale chips that we found under the car seat!  We bought our ferry ticket at 3:25pm and boarded the ferry at 5:00pm-really,no kidding.  So as we pondered if we should just bag the whole idea and sneak out of line when the boat started boarding. We figured lets' just go with the flow,take the ride we had planned- just shorten it.  On the ferry over we decided to really shorten the trip. Instead of heading out to the Peninsula we decided we would drive into Bainbridge and look for a place to have dinner. 

We drove around a few of the village blocks when beautiful huge flower baskets overflowing with petunias caught my eye and I saw the sign "Cafe Nola".  I suggested to J that it looked like a cozy spot to have dinner and he was hesitant-his thought process being we aren't eating petunias ! I was very convincing with my argument.  So we walked inside a lovely bistro with Frank Sinatra music playing in the background,looked at the menu and promptly asked to be seated.  I figured  beautiful flowers,cozy bistro type atmosphere,friendly staff and Frank singing in the background-can't go wrong! And I was right !  This is a place that has snuck by my restaurant radar.  And now that I have found it,  I'm going to be looking for excuses to make the trip to Bainbridge Island to try everything on their menu!

J ordered his usual,Manny's Pale Ale while I spotted something that sounded so refreshing after the ferry disaster-Limoncello Lemonade. Grey Goose Vodka, Limoncello and Chambord.  It was almost too pretty to drink-a pretty pale raspberry color.  It was intoxicating-caution-sip slowly !
As we perused the menu we decided it would just be an evening of appetizers because they all sounded so scrumptious.  J, always the voice of reason said let's start off with just 2 and see where that takes us.  As usual he was right !  The appetizers are meal size portions.  J had the Calamari fritti, fried calamari with a lemon aioli,a garlic cilantro dip and charred tomatoes. The calamari was fried to perfection,light and crunchy.  I loved the charred tomato dipping sauce-sweet and smokey.  I ordered the 5 Spice Duck Spring Rolls, served with honey soy syrup,toasted almonds and a ginger pear relish.  The spring rolls were exceptional,so fresh and light-again fried to perfection and the honey soy syrup-I was ready to lick the plate it was sooo good. They also brought their house bread, fresh and chewy, great for dipping into the olive oil they set out for us.  The staff was beyond attentive.  I wish we would have been able to eat dinner, everything sounded tempting, but the appetizers were so filling we passed on dinner.

But of course we saved a little room for dessert.  And ohhh the dessert. Heads were turning when they served it.  Little children in the restaurant were eyeing it with envy and adults had the look of sheer lust on their faces.  We ordered the Blackbird Bakery chocolate cake with raspberry sauce and whipped creme-sounds harmless right? 

The presentation takes your breath away.  A perfect slice of cake (with an incredible mousse filling) topped with beautiful shiny ganache , a dollop of fresh whipped cream on the side and a beautiful dripping of raspberry sauce on the plate.  It was exquisite. And the perfect ending to a meal we shall not forget.  All this because the fog delayed the ferries earlier that day-thank you fog gods-without your intervention we may not have discovered this little jewel on Bainbridge.

PS After this delectable dessert the Blackbird Bakery is at the top of my list of places to get to quickly !!

1 comment:

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

I love to find those special little places.