If you’re following me on Twitter or Facebook then you know exactly what it is I do every Wednesday. Working from home can make the environment tedious, so at some point Jon and I decided to make one of our many weekly visits to Cafe Aroma a work day. The truth is that Jon was already doing this and I would join him on occasion, but because my work life is basically completely structured by me, I decided to create more of a schedule for myself. And Wednesday’s it become.
We get there as early as we can, not to be productive, but to insure that we get the ‘couch’ (one couch with two two tops and two chairs). Its ridiculous really, how attached to this couch we are. Jon gets one end, I get the other, and the laptops get pulled out, plugged in and we proceed to work as we wait for Casey to come take our order. (Casey makes the BEST Blended Chai Latte in the place, and I’m trying to start a trend where I always ask for my blended chai ‘Casey Style’. No one knows what the hell I mean yet, but they will! Oh… they will!)
We have been going to Cafe Aroma since Jon and I started dating over 6 years ago. And back then I had no idea I was gluten intolerant and so feeling bloated, stuffed and uncomfortable after I ate was so normal for me that I almost didn’t notice it as something abnormal. So eating Cafe Aroma’s pasta centered dishes was never a problem. In my mind anyway. The food was always crazy good. You can imagine what I must have gone through when I first found out how destructive to my health gluten was. And admittedly, I go to restaurants much less since finding out, because its just really hard to control the gluten factor, which creeps into everything these days.
One of the things that makes Cafe Aroma so special is that we feel like we are friends with everyone there. Particularly the owner, Frank Ferro, who is an amazing cook and all around cool guy. When I moved up to Idyllwild full time, and eating nothing but salads while at Aroma, Jon and I started asking about gluten free dishes and pasta. I don’t remember now how it all went down, but I’m thrilled to say that Frank has made an enormous effort to have gluten free pasta on hand for me and others who are gluten intolerant. Its challenging when you have a small kitchen and a dish that very few will ask for. Preparing a special batch of pasta for someone can take a bit longer, but they are so kind and generous about it, that I love them all the more for it.
So, here is what we do and its almost always the same deal each Wednesday. We get there and settle in, making the couch our personal work office. Computers are out on the table and I write while Jon develops a website or blog or a method of taking over the world. Casey comes and takes our order, and its either decaf coffee for both of us, or I’ll splurge and have the Blended Chai. Lately though, since we stay there through lunch and just before dinner, I’ve been saving the Blended Chai for the midday treat.
The omelets at Aroma are wonderful and there is always a new morning special. Jon will sometimes order this, and his recent favorite is the Salmon Omelet with cream cheese and capers. But typically his favorite breakfast, is the same one I love, which is the Penne and Eggs. On the menu it is penne, eggs and pancetta. We order it without the pancetta and Jon will have the cook throw in sun dried tomatoes, and I’ll just have it plain. And of course, my dish is gluten free! Its total comfort food breakfast and the eggs are perfect, the garlic is divine, and of course the dusting of fresh Parmesan makes me groan with pleasure. Seriously.
There are other things on the menu I can have for breakfast, but this seems to really hit the spot for me, and it fills me up pretty good, so that it ties me over until mid afternoon. By that time, we either decide to go home, or to stay, at which point I typically order a Ceasar Salad.
Yesterday was a big day. We both had quite a bit of work to do, and had spent a good amount of time socializing with friends as they came through the restaurant. We were literally there from 9AM to 5PM, which meant that we were privy to the dinner specials meeting between Frank and the wait staff. At the time I happened to be passing by on my way to the little girls room when I hear the words, “Avocado Bisque”. I stopped dead in my tracks and turned to Frank, “Did you just say, ‘Avocado Bisque’?” He nodded and said, “Ya! You want a taste?” I nodded vigorously and as I watched him go into the kitchen and get me some, I whispered under my breath, “I love him.”
Jon and I shared this little Espresso cup of Avocado Bisque and it was dreamy. For me the first taste was smooth, with a bit of smokey avocado flavored with a spicy sea foody taste. Admittedly, after the second spoon full, the fish flavor, which was the shrimp, was a bit too much for me, as I don’t take to fish flavor very well. I let Jon have the rest and he loved it. He is a big fish eater though, and although I love shrimp, I’m still not use to it after over 10 years of being a vegetarian. This will undoubtedly be the topic of many a post in the future.
Oh… and the Caesar salad I had for lunch? Awesome. I ate it so fast that I forgot to take a picture of it to share with you all.