When your fiancé has a birthday, you need to do something special. J. means the world to me, so I wanted to do something extra special. I went round and round about a gift, but how many more computer gadgets does a geek like J. need? (For clarification, J. doesnt mind being called a geek since we are both computer geeks.)
I asked J. a hundred times about birthday presents and never got a direct answer. However, I know J. likes to have fantastic meals, so I chose to celebrate J.s birthday with some (hopefully) great dining in Phoenix metro.
J. arrived late one evening and the only place open for a late bite that wasnt Dennys was Delux at 32nd Street and Camelback. Since they are open until 2 AM every night, it was a great way to kick off J.s birthday weekend. Two Delux burgers and a large basket of mixed fries later, we were ready for a night of slumber.
The next day we decided to have lunch at the My Florist Café near 7th Avenue and McDowell in the historic Willo District of Phoenix. Of course, I remember My Florist as the huge floral shop that it once was. Everyone went to My Florist for flowers sooner or later. It was a massive place filled with both common and rare flowers.
These days, that same spot is now a big café filled with tables and chairs, a bar, and a decent menu. J. and I arrived around 1 PM and the place was still buzzing from the lunch crowd. In fact, there were only one or two tables open. J. and I were seated at the back. The interior of My Florist is like a wide open warehouse with plenty of big floor to ceiling windows and lots of space. One section of the dining room is actually elevated and a grand piano sits in the middle of the raised platform for regular entertainment.
We were given menus and J. and I ordered our drinks. I had a Diet Coke ($2.00) and J. had an Arnold Palmer Iced Tea ($2.50). We reviewed the menus and decided that we would share the Brie Plate ($10.75) for our appetizer. This would be followed by the Chicken Salad Sandwich ($9.75) for me and the Caprese Salad ($10.25) for J.
We talked about the architecture of the building and we loved the fact that is was bright and cheery inside due to the amount of sunlight the windows allowed in. The noise level was fairly high, but we were able to hear ourselves over the background noise.
Our Brie Plate arrived and we were ready to enjoy it. Two large wedges of Brie sat on a plate and were accompanied by a mound of fruit salad, slices of olive bread and a ramekin of Cranberry Chutney which had been decorated with petite slices of pear. We each grabbed a slice of the bread and made our brie creations.
The bread was moist, fresh and the olives added a good saltiness to the mix. The brie was top notch. The fruit was good, but a bit soft. The standout was clearly the cranberry chutney. It was tart with a thick body and a slight crunch from the cranberry skins. The combination of the olive bread, Brie and chutney was exquisite. If there was any criticism to this opening act, it would have been that the Brie should have been left out a bit longer before service. I felt it was much to hard for spreading. Another 15 minutes at room temperature would have made it really shine.
There was a significant time span between the time we finished our brie and when we got our entrees. I was somewhat surprised that even with a busy lunch hour, the time span seemed extreme. If I had only a one-hour lunch period, this would have been cutting it close for getting back to the office in time.
Our entrees did finally arrive and J. was thrilled with the Caprese Salad. The large salad was complete with sliced Roma tomatoes, fresh basil leaves, and thick slices of mozzarella cheese. It was also topped with some pesto, shaved parmesan, roast garlic cloves and then tossed with some olive oil before being drizzled with balsamic vinegar. It was accompanied by two pieces of olive focaccia bread. The scent was wonderful.
J. described the salad as very fresh and thought the mozzarella was silky and smooth. J. would have preferred some more balsamic vinegar, but was pleased all the way around. The bread was soft and chewy and a good compliment to the salad.
My Chicken Salad Sandwich had a subtle and unique taste. Chunks of chicken had been mixed with celery, apples, and cashews and then spread on sunflower bread. Then, blue cheese crumbles were sprinkled on top. The sandwich was served with a mixed green salad with a lemon-thyme dressing.
The flavor of the sandwich was excellent. The blue cheese was a great twist that really made the sandwich a change from the ordinary. The bread was exceptionally soft with a slightly chewy crust. If the bread had been toasted, it would have knocked my taste buds out of the ballpark. The salad was okay, but the dressing was all but absent. Additionally, I felt the size of the sandwich and salad were fairly small for the price tag. Still, it was an outstanding sandwich and I would not hesitate to order it again.
We finished our meal and requested the bill, which added up to $37.84 including tax. Our meal was rather pricey for what we received. The service was lacking, as it seemed rather inattentive and less than friendly at times.
I liked the food at My Florist Cafe, but thought that for the price and the lacking service, it could have been much better. I would recommend My Florist but with some reservations. Ultimately, my concerns were with J. My Florist Cafe was a hit with J. and that was all that mattered for the lunch, plus there were other opportunities to wow my fiance with more birthday meals.
My Florist Cafe is good, but needs a few of the small thorns removed.
My Florist Cafe
534 West McDowell Road
Phoenix, AZ 85003
Dress: Casual at lunch; fancy casual at dinner and at the bar.
Notes: Valet Parking available.
Website: www.myfloristcafe.com - Website is very outdated.