Friday, December 26, 2008
Zinc Cafe: Batting Two for Two
It's happened more times than it should. I go to a restaurant, fall madly in love with it and the food, and make immediate plans to return. I look forward to the subsequent visit, building up the anticipated experience in my head like I am running a personal public relations campaign for the eatery's cuisine. Of course, when I actually get back for round two, it isn't nearly as good as I remembered, and I am horribly disappointed. It sours the restaurant for me, and I start wondering if maybe it wasn't even that wonderful to begin with -- that there is something to that "hindsight is 20/20" nonsense and I am suffering from cognitive bias.
I was slightly concerned about that same possibility when my mother and I returned to Zinc Cafe this past Tuesday for a light lunch. Newport Beach had reached a blustery 50 degrees, and chilled to our cores by the "frigid" winter temperature, my thin-blooded mother and I were craving soup and other warm savory items. We descended upon our new favorite cafe primed for something as delectable as the lentil soup and open-faced asparagus sandwich we'd sampled on our first visit two weeks prior.
After discovering that the soup of the day was spinach potato and not the lentil that we had mooned over before, I was even more concerned about Zinc's ability to maintain its placement on a pedestal. Spinach didn't sound nearly as appetizing, so I opted to get it with the quiche plate that came with the quiche of the day, an artichoke red pepper concoction, a mixed greens salad, and a cup of the aforementioned soup. I'm not a big fan of eating a grease-bomb-pastry for lunch, but was too hungry to play the indecisive (or healthy) game. The rest of the menu would have to wait.
As soon as I laid eyes on the cute little quiche, all my concerns about cognitive bias, thickening thighs and the deliciousness of Zinc Cafe disappeared. While I did prefer the lentil soup to the spinach potato, the day's offering was warm and comforting with thick chunks of tender potato that gave the spinach-streaked broth the substance it needed. The surprisingly greaseless quiche was light on the tongue, and didn't land like a sledge hammer in my stomach. My mother and I were equally smitten by our follow-up lunch, which we washed down with steaming mugs of loose leaf tea -- green for her, and a mixture of green and peach for me.
Our mid-day nosh break was the perfect way to calm our Christmas-frayed nerves from battling one too many malls, visiting one too many grocery stores (approximately four) and spending one too many hours in the kitchen. It was a pleasure to end our second visit to Zinc Cafe still feeling as though we'd just unwrapped an unexpectedly delightful present.