Baked with love – a trip to Cardamom Cafe & Bakery

This morning we woke up and connected with an old friend, at least that’s how it felt.  And it’s what neighborhood restaurants are supposed to be about.  Fresh off an early night, we laced up our walking shoes and ambled groggily down Upas to  Cardamom Café & Bakery for one of the better croissants around. This is how it went

I’d seen a Facebook post last night about a food truck coming around the corner to offer breakfast and since I know how much work Joanne and her family has put into Cardamom I kinda felt I should go there instead of driving over to Snooze in Hillcrest or Parkhouse Eatery in University Heights.  My friend Mike Jenkins had re-introduced me to Cardamom a few months back and we wanted to try the expanded menu.  Now, I like the guys who run the food truck that is showing up around the corner this morning, I just wish they’d picked a different location.  They are, of course, all in business, so I understand that piece of it, but still, there’s a great little place across from Bird Park tailor-made for a pop-up brunch truck and it wouldn’t be in such direct competition.  Even as I type, I struggle with this because I do generally believe that competition is good for consumers.  But I digress.  My point was just that to watch a small business really bust their tail to succeed it’s hard to see roadblocks that communication might’ve avoided.  But let’s get back to the food.  Our server brought out a couple cups of Café Moto coffee and a taste of the homemade nutella croissant that they were experimenting  with—not surprisingly it was delicious.  But then we moved into our real orders.  I went with this

Spicy mole sauce, black beans, corn tortillas, eggs...Mmmmm.

Spicy mole sauce, black beans, corn tortillas, eggs…Mmmmm.

I am not historically a big lover of mole, but owing to the Tongue ‘n Cheek entrée I had at Ritual Tavern (pictured below) and the delightful mole-esque Chili Colorado sauce on it, I was in a mole kind of place.

Modeled after it's second straight SoNo Holiday-fest Chilipalooza-winning recipe, this entree combined beef cheek, pork belly and a spicy chili colorado that was very, very good

Modeled after it’s second straight SoNo Holiday-fest Chilipalooza-winning recipe, this entree combined beef cheek, pork belly and a spicy chili colorado that was very, very good

Quick aside about Ritual Tavern.  This is the quintessential don’t judge a book by its cover spot.  You have no idea how good the food is inside.  I met a friend of mine there Friday night for a little Vertical Epic, Dead Santa and the aforementioned dish.  The housemade condiments knocked his socks off.  Yes, you read that right.  He was in love with the housemade catsup.  So you can imagine how the rest of his meal went. This Tongue ‘n Cheek was modeled after Ritual’s second straight win in the neighborhood annual chili cook-off to benefit a local elementary school earlier in the month.   Bottom line, this place at the corner of 30th and Polk is two blocks north of a large parking garage and well worth a trip on a night out.  But back to Cardamom.  Wife is a burrito lover, so it was an easy pick for her to settle in with this ‘Dragon Burrito’

These objects are larger than they appear.  Nice spicy kick to this version of a breakfast burrito

These objects are larger than they appear. Nice spicy kick to this version of a breakfast burrito

The Dragon had eggs, potatoes, chicken apple sausage and a nice spicy jalapeno cream cheese.  And it was gi-normous.  Big enough for two people to share.  The jalapeno cream cheese was a nice addition, a bit surprising because usually cream cheese in any food that doesn’t start with a ‘b’ and end with an ‘l’ leaves a little to be desired.  This was a solid breakfast choice.  Because we generally feel breakfast isn’t complete without at least a little sweet along the savory we ordered up this little treat.

The light croissant french toast - this is a side order, by the way

The light croissant french toast – this is a side order, by the way

It’s croissant French toast.  The picture in this case is quite self-explanatory.  It was so good I didn’t use the syrup.  How often is that possible?  I’m not really sure but I was happy we went.  I like that our society is free enough for businesses to open and make a go of it without being dictated too much how to run by the government.  And I really like the variety that competition breeds, but sometimes I wish we’d just take a moment and really support the little mom and pop shops in our various communities that give them some of their character and make the place feel more like home, instead of just the place you go after work.  It’s easy to forget when a place is packed that there are lean times, too.  If you don’t make it down to Cardamom this morning, maybe consider putting them on the to-do list for next weekend.  It’s a good place and the owner’s family (her children also work there) have huge hearts and warm smiles.  Before I hop on my bike to work off this little adventure, I’d like to encourage you all to help prevent child abuse and homelessness among women with a small donation here.  It’s an easy way to help, I’ve raised over $1800 and you can win great food and drink for your help.  Thanks for stopping by, have a great day.

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