Friday, June 1, 2012

The Return of The Food Junkie

For those of you who have been following me, you've probably noticed I've been quiet for a while.

When I first started out doing this blog, my goal was to do a blog entry once a month. I never expected it to get to the level that it's at now and am still humbled by the response to the page. If someone tells me that I am making them hungry, I take that as the biggest compliment. It was my goal from the beginning to share with people the places that I loved to eat and to get people to go there. Again I love doing this and wish I could do it full-time, but life has a way of changing your plans sometimes.

In April, a dear friend of mine was in a horrible motorcycle accident. He is very lucky to be alive and for a time  it was very touch and go whether he would lose one of his legs. Chris is a huge supporter of what I am doing with the page and has even reawakened my own love of cooking. When the time came for me to be there in his time of  need, the way he had been there for me, I jumped into action. Between hospital visits, helping care for him at home and working a full-time job, the Lafayette Food Junkie page went somewhat silent.

To my surprise, I received an email last week from Ben Leger, the general manager of Village Cafe. He saw the work I had been doing and offered to show me what Village Cafe had to offer first hand. After some initial squealing and jumping up and down, I was more than happy to take him up on his offer and could think of no one better to accompany me than Chris.

Village Cafe is located in River Ranch and has been open for a number of years. They feature wild game and seasonal offerings. It's probably one of the only places in town you can get Foie Gras. The restaurant is on the small side, giving it a cozy feel and you dine surrounded by their vast wine selection. That's another thing they are known for, their wine. Ben also happens to be a Sommelier. For those of you who don't know what that is, he's the wine guy. He can tell you what wine pairs well with what dish. He was nice enough to do a 7 course tasting menu paired with wine. This was something new for me and I was very excited about.

Greg was our server and was very nice and attentive. I noticed watching the other tables, the servers were very talkative and laughing with the patrons. No uptight stuffy vibe here, warm and welcoming. I also loved how several servers would bring out the dishes, presenting it to each person at the table. I think it showcased well how beautiful the food was.

Ben started us off with a Summer Violet, one of their summer cocktails. It was beautiful and featured champagne and edible flowers. One thing I kept saying over and over again during the course of the meal was they are all about the presentation. Each plate was almost too pretty to eat.(but I did it anyway )

The Amuse-bouche was my favorite course of the night. It was Belle Ecorce cheese on top of a crustini with marmalade. I squealed and clapped when I put it in my mouth! I could have eaten a whole plate of it! Then came the heirloom tomato, cucumber salad. I'm not much for cucumbers, but the tomatoes were outstanding. It was served in a mason jar which I loved. The next course was Chris's favorite, a soft-shell crab on top of tabouli with an avocado carpaccio. Best tabouli I've ever had. Fourth course was one I had specifically asked for, just didn't know how it would be presented. It was a house made sausage with foie gras and mushrooms with a Dijon mustard dipping sauce. OH MY GOD. Heaven in my mouth! I commented how it would make a wonderful high end bar nibble on a bun with Dijon mustard. I mean...I'd buy that! If that wasn't jaw dropping enough, the next course was a rabbit boudin stuffed inside of a squash blossom with a red pepper ketchup. I think I loudly exclaimed "Wow" when Ben was explaining it. He had me at rabbit organs and sold the deal with fried squash blossom. The sixth course was the chicken roulade. A pinwheel of chicken stuffed with more glorious cheese and wrapped in bacon. It was served with mushroom rice. Chris, who is on a strict Keto diet, gobbled up his rice and finished mine. It was that good! Last course was buttermilk pie with a strawberry compote. It was a wonderful way to end our meal.

Village Cafe is worth adding to your favorite places to dine. One of the best places I have ever eaten. They serve lunch, dinner and brunch on Sundays. It's always great leaving a restaurant and noticing you were there for two and a half hours and not picking up a cell phone once! I can't wait to go back again.

I wanted to say again to my readers, thank you. Thank you for supporting what I do and hope to continue doing. I love you all. Village Cafe River Ranch on Urbanspoon


  1. Sounds great, can't wait to go try this!

  2. I admit that I did not expect cuisine...or presentation of this caliber outside of a much larger city. Pure excellence all around....charming environment too!

  3. Hey Mina--Happy You Returned (as I've just found you) & that you went to Village Cafe, which is our fav local French restaurant (but not very fair as we've only eaten at French Press once & it was excellent...) So many Foodie Choices in Lafayette--how can one 'not' be a 'Food Junkie' - Enjoy?! ;o)