Calafia Café, Palo Alto, CA

This week, I went on a little vacation with my cousin Leslie to visit my sister Jenny in Palo Alto, California. Being the foodies that we are, we’ve tried all sorts of restaurants in the bay area from a stand selling clam chowder in a bread bowl to a fast-casual grilled cheese & soup place.

My favorite meal so far has been at Calafia Café right here in Palo Alto. This amazing vegan/vegetarian friendly restaurant is prepared by the former executive chef from Google Inc., Charlie Ayers. Touting the slogan, “Slow food served fast,” this gorgeous restaurant provides two incredible menus for vegheads as well as meat eaters and I am telling you, this place does not disappoint for either side.

We started our meal with the Papas Con Ajo. Described as crispy shoestring fries tossed with garlic, parsley, and Calafia spice blend served with Special Red Sauce #1 (Calafia’s homemade ketchup)

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They are heavily seasoned, smokey and bursting with flavor. The best part is definitely the crisp garlic tossed on top.

Next, we shared the Burrata & Potato Pizza. This pizza is topped with roasted zucchini, rosemary, garlic confit, nutty burrata cheese, roasted Yukon gold potatoes.

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The rosemary and burrata cheese was a perfect marriage of flavors. The crust was a good mix of crunchy and doughy.

Jenny’s favorite dish at this restaurant and one that she has trouble straying from is the Big Bowl of Beef Chow Mein.

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Definitely not vegetarian, this dish contains marinated hanger steak, shiitake mushrooms, green onions, cabbage, udon noodles, and veal stock.

Leslie had the Halibut Special. Halibut filet steamed in a white wine butter sauce topped with pesto and served over an assortment of clams and oysters.

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As the waiter described it, no starch included, just great seafood on a plate and he wasn’t kidding. Les absolutely loves seafood so the special of the evening was right up her alley.

As an additional side dish to her halibut, Leslie ordered the Grilled Asparagus Salad.

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Served with baby frisee, radishes, lemon olive oil vinaigrette. The flavors worked like magic next to her halibut. The lemon had just the right amount of citrus that the whole salad just tasted fresh.

And of course, I save the best for last. My entrée was Lexi’s French Lentil Bowl. Green French lentils, sautéed spinach, roasted yams, roasted crimini mushrooms, simmered in a yellow curry cream sauce with quinoa pilaf.

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Chosen per the waiter’s recommendation, this dish had a great blend of sweet and savory combining the yams and the crimini mushrooms atop the perfectly cooked lentils.

For dessert, we had the Strawberry Rhubarb Galette as well as the Chocolate Ginger Cake.

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Yes, they were as good as the look. Enough said.

Not only was the food delicious, Calafia had wonderful service and a great atmosphere. All ingredients are sourced locally and organically as often as possible. It’s times like these that I wished I lived in California. Cannot wait to go back to this fantastic restaurant.

Mimi

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