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Restaurants & Bars 1

My Homestyle Cafe: A Report (Sorta' Long)

JojoA | Sep 8, 200501:13 AM

I read about this place in the local paper here (a small family-run cafe) and during my visit to the Farmer's Market in Vallejo last Saturday, I decided to drop by for some chowing.

The interior is somewhat basic but quaint. The menus on the wall mentioned a fried chicken special for $8 (I have been jonesing for some good fried chicken lately, especially after my first (and last) experience with a $.99 special at Church's a couple months back) but alas, they don't offer it anymore. They instead have daily rib specials now for the same price; a customer ordered this while I was there and they at least looked and smelled tasty as they were being placed in their takeout tray.

I settled for the 3 Southern fried breast tenders and fries for $6 - the tenders had a nice light crunch outside and had a fairly tender texture inside, while the fries were standard issue. The selection of Louisiana hot sauces they offer on a side cabinet added a nice kick to the meal.

The owner mentioned that every Wednesday they had a soul food special, so I decided to stop in tonight to give that a whirl. For $8, I got a fairly large chunk of food - two slabs of meat loaf, mashed potatoes and gravy, mac & cheese, collard greens, and cornbread.

The meat loaf was pretty good, with a texture that kinda' crumbled in your mouth. The mashed potatoes were light and fluffy but otherwise basic; the gravy seemed to be fairly standard issue, but there wasn't enough on my plate to really get a good tasting of it.

The mac & cheese, which was a step up from fast food offerings, seemed to be in casserole form, as I got essentially a big cake of it. This was my first experience with collard greens - this version had the requisite hunks of pork and bacon amongst the greens - and I came away liking them (I definitely want to sample the offerings at a gold-standard place like Nellie's to see how these versions compare.)

The best things I've had here so far are the sweeter items. The cornbread that came with this meal was a lot different than the versions I've had before - this one was warm, light and airy, and had just the right touch of sweetness. The peach cobbler ($3), which I took home after my breast tenders meal, had a light flaky crust and a peach filling that also hit the mark on the sweetness level.

Other items on the menu include your standard selection of hot dogs and burgers, fries, and sandwiches.

This cafe, like a lot of downtown Vallejo businesses, closes relatively early (6 pm Tue-Sat; they're closed Sun/Mon.) Overall, this is a pretty decent spot for a bite to eat if you happen to be in downtown Vallejo on business or perhaps sampling the offerings at the Farmers Markets on Wednesday or Saturday.

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