Maple Falls Cafe
I finally went there! What a great little place. Not very busy for a Saturday evening, the fireplace was going, friendly servers and the owner Sam, made himself available to us to chat about food and his wine choices.
Casual environment and small menu. The Jamon Iberico leg holds a place of honor amongst the odds and ends of decor like parts of saddles, old pictures, and blue and white checked tablecloths. Funky, a bit cheesy, fun and relaxing. Perfect PNW style. Love it.
Of course we started with the ham! Really wonderful, wafer thin slices on a plate, to be savored alone (okay, with wine). It melts in your mouth. Sam said it is the only full leg in the PNW. The wine we had was a Malbec, Sam is choosing more unusual wines and they a very affordable. Bonus!
Next, we ordered a beet salad. The server said we might consider sharing it because it is big. Good advice. There was more than enough for two. The beets were in really large chunks, al dente, pistachio, goat cheese, blueberries. I appreciated that the dressing was well balanced and not acidic, especially when drinking wine with it. I think Sam said there was some za'atar in it.
I really wanted to try a burger, but just had to go with the Brazilian dishes this first visit. It is a small and targeted menu.
I had the Hearts of Palm Moqueca. It is a vegetarian dish, or you can add wild mini shrimp for 4 bucks more. That is what I did. The dish is big, lots of perfectly cooked white rice served with a coconut milk stew. Nice medallions of Hearts of Palm, peppers, cilantro. Very light for a stew, but filling and warming.... very coconut based and creamy.
My spouse had the Brazilian Feijoada. A stew with meats of beef and pork, ribs, sausage (maybe black beans) in a thick meaty sauce, served with the same fragrant rice and a side of collard greens. Very tasty and hearty. Amazingly, the Malbec went with both our "light and dark" meals perfectly.
We ordered a bottle of Turkish wine and Sam sat with us and chatted for awhile. Letting us preview (read....sharing shots :) of some of his future distillery creations. Wow. He has got some really great projects going on there! Sam certainly has some esoteric tastes and a creative mind- and loves sharing with others.
I think Sam will really have a great destination restaurant and distillery at some point in Maple Falls. I believe he doesn't have a date for the distillery yet, but he talked about how he brings in musicians from all over the world and will continue to do that, in addition to putting out nice food. The restaurant is offering unique beer and cocktails as well.
I encourage all CH to go and try his food, order a unique beer, wine or cocktail too. You have to get some HAM :)
Ooh. Forgot, the breakfasts and brunch sounds fabulous as well.
We went for brunch on Sunday. They really just have a small breakfast menu. We inquired about the delicious sounding french toasts and were presented with a chance to order "off menu" for a baileys and cream french toast. Really nice! Served with syrup, but didn't need it. It was sweet but not cloying, and "boozy" but not heavy. Side of bacon.
I ordered a breakfast sandwich (egg and ham) with potatoes. The sandwich was good (not great) but was more of a personal taste thing for me. I like more crusty breads with my soft egg, this bread was big and fluffy, and I thought a bit bland. The small cubed potatoes were nice and well infused with garlic. I am usually bored with breakfast potatoes after a few bites...but I ate all of these! I asked for a sauce and chose some Parmesan mayo as a side. Chimichurri sauce was also available and I think I will try that next visit. I like having some choices besides the standard restaurant offerings of ketchup and hot sauces for breakfast.
Coffee was rich and tasty. Service was great.
Cocktails! Yes. The owner Sam likes his infusions and he is good at them. We had a spicy gin Bloody Mary. Really great. The gin was infused with a chili from Brazil. It is a tiny, bright yellow chili (as small as a soy bean). A whole one was skewered on the end of the swizzle stick next to an olive, onion, and cherry tomato. Unique flavor. I had not experienced it before and really enjoyed it. Good heat, but not mouth burning at all, distinct fruit taste. I really liked it.
I will try to get back for lunch or dinner soon. I still have not had the burgers that everyone seems to enjoy. I appreciate a really good restaurant burger as I find them hard to come by!