Thursday, April 14, 2011

Comfort Food, Indeed

Landmark Cafe
701 Montana Street, at South Pine
Landmark Coffee Shop and Cafe on Urbanspoon
It's an odd place for a coffee shop; but then, it's an odd coffee shop. 

Located on the second floor of a restored house, smack in the middle of a residential neighbourhood, the Landmark Café is definitely not the bastard offspring of Starbucks; it's more like the unplanned late-in-life child of Mother's, plopped down on San Antonio's East Side in a nice refurbished crib. There are no half-caf lattes or exotic brews here; it's a coffee shop like Jim's is a coffee shop, only much better.

It's simple food at reasonable prices — "comfort food," the waiter called it, and he's right. The breakfast menu features biscuits and gravy, eggs and sausage, pancakes, and grits; for lunch, it's soup, salads and sandwiches.

We both started with a small bowl of Loaded Baked Potato soup. The name was an understatement. We each had the thought of licking the bowl, and had we been alone in the room we might have done so. Well, Rick might have; I'd've had mine wrapped up to go, as I'm too publicly fastidious for that sort of outré behaviour. [Imagine the appropriate emoticon here.] It was rich, and creamy, and far better than any actual baked potato I've ever had. Makes me wonder what the tortilla soup must be like, but that's for another visit.

Rick went for the Montana Street Sandwich: turkey, ham and Swiss cheese with tomato, lettuce, and a chipotle mayo that is the sort of thing Weight Watchers dream about -- applied in generous quantity but with a deft enough hand that a Weight Watcher (like me, at times) could eat it in good conscience. It's the sort of sandwich your gourmet-chef mother fixed for you at home on Saturdays.

Last city inspection: June 2010
29 demerits
(listed as "William's Land Mark")
I, on the other hand, chose the Brisket Sandwich. I could have tarted it up with onions or pickles, but I had it plain: just the meat and a little sauce on delicious lightly toasted bread. My late ex-mother-in-law, who was the doyenne of brisket cooks (and mac-and-cheese, but that's beside the point), never served a more perfect brisket. 

Unusually, we decided to try dessert as well. It was late in the afternoon, nearing the house's 3pm closing time, so the two cakes on offer had been sitting out in covered glass cake-takers at least one whole day. Yet they were both still excellent. Rick's was the butter-pecan cake, a flavour I'm not wild about, but I was not satisfied with just one taste, and had to manufacture a reason*, on the spur of the moment, for a second. I went for the chocolate cake, and ooh ooh OOH was it chocolate-y. Yet neither cake was overly sweet. They were made for the house by a local woman with a deft hand and the good sense not to try to add another hue unto the rainbow.

* the difference between a reason and an excuse is that you believe a reason.

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