Something different for lunch | Rock Candy

Something different for lunch



DELIGHTFUL:  Salmon cakes and salad
Do you ever get tired of the usual? After an interminable period of swinging between fried foods and barbecue I was ready for something quite different for lunch today, something that was both comfort food and simple and preferably with a green quotient.

I found these things at Café Bossa Nova and, while I did pay a bit more for lunch, I got exactly what I was looking for.

The hubster and the girl child were with me, having gone through the processing here and there for passports and such. Hunter was close to showing out from hunger, and I could understand that. I wanted something refreshing, and the thought of another hamburger lunch was just too much.

So we pulled into Café Bossa Nova, about 2:30 in the afternoon in the lull that finds many restaurants closed for the break before dinner. The restaurant was empty save for a gentleman eating lunch at the counter. Our kind host offered us a booth and a booster chair and left us with menus and beverages.

The kids menu was of interest to me. I’m sure many parents would have ordered up the Octopus Dog with Mac and Cheese right off the bat, or the chicken fingers or even the ham and cheese Panini. I like to expose Hunter to adult foods, though, so I set her up with the kids portion of Beans and Rice ($4.95). When our orders arrived and while I was shooting everything she was giving the big bowl funny looks, but the moment I let her loose with a fork she was onto those beans, scooping up one forkful after another and amazingly getting most in
her mouth. At nearly 23 months, that’s one heck of a feat.

I was fully expecting her to turn to me and ask for some of my meal, but instead she doggedly went after every bean she could manage, turning the bowl so she could get at more of them. She turned her nose up at trying almost anything else. It was as if she were telling us “why haven’t you ever fed me this before?”

Paul had gone for a sandwich, the Carne ($12.25), not very adventurous as far as I was concerned but feeding the grumpy bear was far more important than getting him to try something new. Those strips of beef were seasoned well, and they tasted like a good example of fajita strips — but a moment after trying one the evidence of heat started to build. The plate came with his choice of a couple of salads; he went for the fruit salad, a bowl of apple shards, blood orange pieces and blueberries that tasted very different from the fruit salads we’re used to.

Me? Well, fish sounded very good, so I went for the Bolos de Salmao ($13.95). The two firm salmon cakes were lightly dusted; inside they were packed thoroughly with salmon with tiny shards of rice and cheese. The salmon tasted as if it might have been lightly poached before being added to the mix. All I could really taste was the excellent fish, and that was fine. The aioli (called a Brazilian tartar sauce on the menu) was a very light creamy mayo with parsley and a little dill in the flavor. The two cakes were served up with the mista salad, baby greens tossed in the restaurant’s sweet house dressing and adorned with mandarin oranges and candied almond slivers. I almost couldn’t eat that salad fast enough. The greens! Oh, how I’ve missed greens.

We’d had a great time watching Hunter go after the beans and rice — and though she couldn’t eat but half of the bowl I doubt I would have done much better. I found myself sneaking a few bites of her beans, too. She didn’t seem to mind.

And then, well, I had to have dessert.

I’d been craving the Moka Gateau but it wasn’t ready, so we settled on sharing a single slice of Pumpkin Cheesecake… a tiny slice, but really no more than we needed. That cheesecake is better than almost every pumpkin pie I’ve ever had, almost mousse-like in consistency, lovely whipped top, rich tones of pumpkin pie spice all the way through and an inoffensively flavorful crust. Just enough for us.

We walked out feeling refreshed, not dragging from another heavy meal. That was nice. I mean, there’s a time and a place for a heavy meal, and this was not it. The perfect autumn afternoon was like an after-dinner mint. Lovely.

Café Bossa Nova is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and for Sunday brunch from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. It’s on the pricier side of moderate, but that’s all right. Sometimes you need something different.

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