A Gem Worth Treasuring
A week and a half ago, I walked by a restaurant I had not heard of, Coolinary Café in Palm Beach Gardens. It was a Sunday and the restaurant was closed. I peeked in, thought it looked like a pretty cool place to go and then looked at the menu hanging on the glass. One thought came to mind: Oh-h-h-h-h my!!!
The next day I was talking with a friend of mine, who had gone into Coolinary Café for desserts after eating dinner at a restaurant next door to Coolinary Café, and she raved about a Carrot Cake Waffle. Huh??? This needs exploring, indeed!
I emailed the zillion people I ask to join me on my Road Trips For Food, informing them of our next destination. I thought I would have 10-14 people. 18 people strong later, we were good to go.
I called Tim Lipman, chef and owner of Coolinary Café, letting him know that we might have up to 20 people. Did I mention that Coolinary Café does not take reservations and seats 47 people total, including countertop seats? I moved my timeline up to 11:30 a.m. and stalked the friends who had rsvp’d yes, making sure that everyone reconfirmed the evening before, so that the number given would be accurate. Getting there early was a real bonus, since the restaurant was bustling by 12:15 p.m.
The menu is to die for. I can’t remember the last restaurant in which I had such a hard time choosing what to order, and these were, only, the appetizers and main courses. It will take me many, many trips back (a challenge for which I am most definitely prepared) before I will actually make my way through the menu.
I decided on the Pan Roasted Wild Mushroom salad served with onion confit, wilted greens and cheesy polenta. I think I can best sum up this dish by saying: “It’s a good thing my mother ingrained in me from day one that it is, never, appropriate to lick one’s plate.” I flashed back to my initial reaction to Coolinary Cafe, when I first looked at the menu through the glass window: Oh-h-h-h-h my!!! And this wasn’t even my dessert!
Tim went above and beyond with the desserts. Not only were we able to enjoy the 5 that are on the regular menu, but Tim also had an additional three for our dining pleasure, and pleasure they were.
I wish that I could rank them for you, but the reality is that I would be hard pressed to choose my very favorite. There were two desserts that did stand out as over-the-top incredible; Carrot Cake Waffle with Cinnamon and Streusel Cake with Coffee Crème.
Each one of those was, truly, unique. The Carrot Cake Waffle is what it sounds like—almost. Unlike of a traditional carrot cake, Tim uses almonds rather than walnuts. The other ingredients that we tend to love in a carrot cake are still loaded in; cinnamon, nutmeg and raisins. Yet, it is the idea of turning this into a waffle, topping it with whipped maple frosting and maple syrup that speaks volumes of Tim’s creativity in the kitchen.
The Streusel Cake was crumbled into a parfait and loaded with a coffee crème anglaise. Another example of simple, straightforward ingredients that are twisted around a bit to create a beautiful and delicious dessert.
Also worth drooling over was the Peanut Butter/Banana Eggroll with Caramel drizzle. WOW. As a general rule, I tend not to fall head over heals for eggrolls. It is just a personal preference, but I often find them to be too doughy for dessert. Tim found the perfect balance and the combination of ingredients was just right.
Still haven’t peaked your interest? Then the Vanilla Panna Cotta would be the ideal alternative. The creamy, cold dessert had the ideal consistency; not too gummy and yet firm enough to hold its shape. Really, this is a ‘must have’ dessert, as well.
Not to be forgotten, the Chocolate Bread Pudding came in the shape of a muffin, but thank goodness packed a punch of flavor and consistency that would make the Muffin Man cry. The Milk and Cookies served were oatmeal raisin with light raisins, a really nice change of pace.
The last two desserts were the Chocolate Mousse Cup and the Buttermilk Lemon Cake with Blueberry Glaze. Very lovely, indeed, and had I not been consumed by the desserts listed above, I would, probably, be raving more about them, too.
So, what’s the trick to maximizing your visit to Coolinary Café? Check out the dessert menu first, decide how many desserts can fit on your table and then work your way backwards through the menu. This restaurant truly is a gem worth treasuring.
Coolinary Cafe 4650 Donald Ross Road, Suite 110 Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418 (561) 249-6760 www.coolinarycafe.com