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A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood {Tilikum Place Cafe}

May 24, 2011

After several nice days of weather in a row, our luck turned (as promised) on Saturday. It really wasn’t that bad. At least it was dry. I’d originally planned to have dinner with a couple of friends from work, L and CB (she gets two initials because that’s what she goes by), but CB was under the weather, so we’ll reschedule. It was a bummer, for sure, but I’m hoping we’ll get lucky with a sunny day the next time. B and I had already planned to go out for drinks once I got home from dinner, so we just improvised a little and decided to do dinner ourselves.

We had a really, really hard time choosing a place. I wasn’t determined to go someplace new. I just wanted it to at least be somewhere we hadn’t been in awhile. We tend to categorize our restaurant options into three buckets. Do we get there by walking, driving or cabbing? Usually, if we narrow down how willing we are to deal with parking or with a cab, that leaves us with a clearer set of options. Saturday night I guess we were feeling lazy about transportation and decided we wanted to walk wherever we were going. More debate followed about where we would go. We finally decided it would either be Tilikum Place Cafe or Zeeks Pizza. Quite a disparity, I know. They’re next door to each other, though, so if Tilikum was too busy, we had a backup plan.

B wanted to look at a menu before committing, but they didn’t have one posted outside (there was one not far inside the door). We went for it blindly anyway. That can be a bit of a risk when you’re eating with B, hater of all things green. B considers most vegetables akin to hazardous waste. With one positive Tilikum Place Cafe experience behind us already, though, it felt like a reasonable risk.

I remembered everyone at Tilikum Place being super nice on our last visit. This time was certainly no exception. Though we didn’t have a reservation and they were obviously filling up quickly, they offered us a great table immediately. We didn’t really want to take up more seats than we needed to, though (especially on a Saturday night), and B spotted two seats in the window looking out toward the street. They kindly accomodated B’s passing comment that he would be happy to sit there, and before we knew it, they’d set two places for us and we were enjoying the natural light in our prime window seats.

Sadly their menu isn’t online and I didn’t remember to take a photo of it, so I’m afraid my own descriptions of what we ordered will have to do. I don’t want to say they’re hiding their menu, but it felt a little strange that it was neither online or visible from the street… especially because it’s such a great menu. Part of me sort of likes that they’ve taken this route now that I know we’ll want to go back soon. It makes me feel a little like we’re in on the secret.

One feature of Tilikum Place that I really like is their blackboard displaying their specials. I can’t remember now exactly what we ordered from it on our last trip, but I know it was good. For this visit, we chose two items from the blackboard. To start, we shared the Wild Boar Chorizo stuffed squid with smoked Paprika consomme and I had the Pan-Seared Halibut with lemon risotto, fava beans and ramp cream.

Wild Boar Chorizo Stuffed Squid

Pan-Seared Halibut

Funny enough, though we were steering clear of the vegetables, it was a food of a very different variety that gave B pause. He absolutely wouldn’t even entertain the idea of eating the tentacle pieces of the squid. It’s ok, I more than entertained the idea. They were delicious.

For B’s entree, he chose something off their regular menu. When he ordered the Pork Tenderloin (with smoked yams, clams and pickled peppers), I thought our server was going to leap out of her skin for joy. It’s not often you see a server in a restaurant get really excited about a menu item, but she just seemed nothing less than thrilled that B chose it. We took this as a very good sign. It was. And maybe the best part? He even liked the yam.

Pork Tenderloin

We arrived at Tilikum Place Cafe with a good memory of our first meal. This meal blew that one out of the water, though. We truly and thoroughly enjoyed it. Of course, it wasn’t quite complete without at least a peek at the dessert menu. That peek turned into an order of Profiteroles. It almost turned into two orders, but our very wise server course corrected us before we outdid ourselves. Even with only one order, that was a real possibility.

Profiteroles

I don’t remember exactly what was in them, but it included rum caramel and homeade ice cream. Do you need to know anymore?

I do love my Zeek’s pizza. There’s no use denying that. I feel safe saying we made the right Saturday night game time decision, though. Our John Candy with prosciutto will be there next time, but something tells me the wild boar chorizo stuffed squid may not be.

Tilikum Place Cafe on Urbanspoon

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