Pie are shared

Pasatiempo - - Restaurant Review - Pa­tri­cia Greathouse

En­ter­ing Dish n’ Spoon Cafe & Gifts feels like slip­ping back into the past. The front porch is loaded with col­or­ful dis­plays and signs that in­vite you to come in­side. As the screen door slams be­hind you, you might as well be step­ping into a mid­cen­tury road­side store some­where in mid­dle Amer­ica. Or Santa Fe in its lone-wolf stage, be­fore mak­ing money sur­passed liv­ing the dream.

Dish n’ Spoon is clearly not about big bucks; it’s about the own­ers’ cre­ative ex­pres­sion on ev­ery level. It was al­ready well known as Four & Twenty Black­birds, an eclec­tic gift store with café, when hus­band-and-wife team Anna and San­cho Soeiro bought it three years ago. They have ex­panded the in­ven­tory and changed the menu. It’s now loaded with books (for chil­dren and adults), toys, ce­ram­ics, gar­ments, and knick­knacks. And the pies are bet­ter than ever.

The whim­si­cal cook­ing here is as var­ied as the things on the shelves and the walls. As I was writ­ing this re­view, the pro­pri­etors were cook­ing a spe­cial Ethiopian din­ner. Some­times San­cho, the chef, goes a lit­tle too far for my taste, adding com­plex­i­ties that don’t al­ways work, but there is an earnest­ness to the food that feels good. The own­ers’ gen­eros­ity and en­thu­si­asm are gen­uine, and these qual­i­ties are ex­hib­ited in their pay-what-you-can Mon­days and a kids’ corner to keep the tykes happy — or at least oc­cu­pied.

Large serv­ings of hearty, healthy food are the norm. San­cho uses or­ganic in­gre­di­ents as fre­quently as pos­si­ble, and home­made good­ness ra­di­ates from his plates. Per­sonal 5-inch dessert pies are on sale daily and can be re­heated at home. For 10-inch fam­ily­sized pies, place or­ders on Wed­nes­day to pick up on Fri­day. The pies come in fla­vors that vary sea­son­ally. As dessert, they come pip­ing hot, with a hefty dollop of whipped cream (or home­made or­ganic ice cream). They’re the best thing Dish n’ Spoon makes; the crust is hard to beat, and they aren’t too sweet, ei­ther.

A hearty Greek av­gole­mono soup (tra­di­tion­ally, egg and sour-cit­rus juice mixed with broth), thick with rice and dot­ted with spinach, was in­tensely le­mony and creamy. I give mixed re­views to the scoops of egg salad and tuna salad on a small bed of greens. The tuna salad was tasty, perked up with pickle and cel­ery and just a few herbs, but the egg salad was over­loaded with dill, which dis­col­ored the whites, mak­ing them gray. An­other salad, the curried chicken, rich with golden raisins and sliced al­monds, teetered on the edge of spiced ex­cess, but on slices of good whole-wheat bread, the in­ten­sity was de­li­cious. The sides of­fered are potato chips, kosher dill pickle, or three-bean salad fla­vored with cumin seed. The bean salad is way too vine­gary for my lik­ing, and I or­dered it twice to make sure.

A hot corned-beef sandwich on sprouted rye was good, as was the turkey meat­loaf with a very nice mixed salad on the side. The meat­loaf isn’t for those who are crav­ing a hearty poul­try fix, as it’s loaded with sun­flower seeds and grated onion, gar­lic, car­rots, and bell pep­per. But it’s tasty and light, enough for two to share. A pesto and por­to­bello quiche came with a mesclun salad. The crust on the quiches and pies is one and the same — crumbly, ten­der, and but­tery — but the quiche fill­ing is less than thrilling.

If, in a moment of in­san­ity, you de­cide to or­der some­thing other than a lit­tle pie for dessert, there’s a choco­late-chip cookie. It’s a mound that is nei­ther crispy nor moist, not chewy but full of choco­late chips. A gooey brownie filled with co­conut, hazel­nut, and al­monds was very good, and we ate it hot with home­made ice cream — an­other whim­si­cal ex­pres­sion fla­vored with white-choco­late chips, vanilla, and rose essence. A re­ally nice sur­prise, which could be just as sat­is­fy­ing as dessert, was the spe­cial of­fer of a bot­tle of hefeweizen or Santa Fe Pale Ale for a dol­lar.

Pas­sion is what Dish n’ Spoon is all about, and the place is a fun house of per­sonal ex­pres­sion. The own­ers don’t fol­low my maxim that less is more in the herb depart­ment, but I can for­give them for that. I will for­give them just about any­thing if they keep mak­ing those pies.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.