Wednesday, May 29, 2013

#9 Caribou Cafe

Gift Card Number Nine was used with my friend from work, Kaitlin. I needed to take Kaitlin out for two reasons.
  1.  She is definitely way more of a foodie than I am and probably appreciates my 50 gift cards more than I do. 
  2. When I told her about my winnings a few months ago, she goes "You should write a blog!" And so here I am, blogging away. 

After much deliberation about which gift card to use, we randomly settled on Caribou Cafe. Caribou Cafe is a French bistro located at 11th and Walnut. The chef was on Chopped, so to me that is pretty impressive. Not only did he compete, but he was also the 'Chopped Champion'. Good for you, Chef Oliver.

We parked right across the street in a lot, and after a good two minutes of backing into a spot between an Acura & a BMW, we made our way into the restaurant. We did a slight early bird special and had 6pm reservations. Not that we needed them because the place was empty at that point. A lot of waiters were standing around. Two of them attempted to seat us at two different times. Even when we sat down I felt a bit smothered by the wait staff. Constant walk bys and one waiter standing within a few feet of our table at all times. I understand that it was pretty dead at that point, but come on, let me breathe. This could just be me because I typically prefer to have an inattentive waiter than one that is too intense. I also noticed this because they were really cramping my picture-taking. I like to nonchalantly get some pictures of the place to add to my blog without being noticed but that wasn't happening here. Oh well, I sacrificed looking like a tourist for one night.

Okay enough about the wait staff- the place was beautiful. I wish it was a nice night because there were the cutest French looking tables outside that would have really given off the "Par-ee" feel. The first thing I noticed was the bar, and not just because I like a drink here and there, but because of the design and all of the embellishments. It looks like a bar I would want to sit at and relax and drink an expensive glass of wine.

We both decided to go with the fixed price option for $28. Seemed like the best deal for an appetizer, entree, and dessert. Plus both of the entrees we wanted were included in that option. We both started with the French Onion Soup. I wish I had better language to describe how amazing this was. Tons of cheese- tons, just tons. The cheese alone made the soup amazing, but also the croissant and the onions were perfect too. After we finished the soup we could've stopped there. It was so filling, we were  both stuffed! This soup is a must for anyone who goes here.

Even though we ordered all three of our courses at the same time, we weren't rushed. The food came out at a good pace, which I really appreciated. I  had time to let my food digest before bringing on the next course. For dinner I ordered the Moules Frites. AKA, Steamed mussels in wine with curry and fries. The mussels were pretty light, and were perfect for after that soup! The mussels were laid on top of a wine and curry broth that were delicious together. And obviously the fries were good. I feel a little naive saying this but, I never actually thought that French onion soup and French fries were actually food that would be served in a French restaurant? Seems like a cop out to me but who am I to complain about cheese and fries, really?

Kaitlin ordered the Roasted Chicken with brie sandwich- marinated chicken, spinach and mushroom topped with warm brie cheese on country bread served with fries. Straight from the source, "If you're looking for the French version of a Philly cheesesteak, you can find it at Caribou! While the concept sounded delicious, roasted chicken, sauteed mushrooms and spinach, topped with melted brie, I'm not a big fan of dark meat. The French fries were incredible and the sandwich itself tasted delicious despite my love for the darker meat."

I didn't think I would survive the dessert round. We were so full. But I decided to push through and just eat the Espresso Crème Brulée. And thank God I did. So freaking good! The coffee flavored custard really made the dish.
Thumbs up to Caribou Cafe. I see myself returning to sit at the bar, drink a glass of wine, eat some French Onion Soup, get dessert, and pretend I'm in Paris. Oui Oui!

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