Monday, January 14, 2013

Culp's Cafe - Dayton, Ohio (Carillon Park)

I'd found myself eyeballing Culp's menu on a number of occasions, when trying to find a lunch spot to meet a business partner about halfway between Dryden Road and Wilmington Pike.  Natural direction usually leads me to linger around oakwood, but there aren't a ton of great lunch options there.  The first time she talked me into trying Cooper's Deli, despite my argument that a nearly $20 rueben has no place in a market like Dayton.  It was decent, but not $20 sandwich good, that's for sure.  Apparently, the eaters agreed with me by refusing to pay those prices for meat and bread, and Cooper's closed after less than one year in business.

Anyhow, Culp's Cafe has a nifty and rich history behind it, which I'll let you read on Dayton History's website.  Their menu is pretty expansive for such a small place, which isn't always a good thing.  I'd had my eyes on their chicken salad (vanilla choice, I know - but I love a good chicken salad sandwich, and never eat it at home because only the Lil one and I enjoy it) - but ended up going a different route. We had a late lunch and they were down to their last few pieces of quiche, so I opted for the ham & cheese quiche with a side salad.  I certainly wasn't expecting such a mammoth slice, and never expect spring mix, oranges, pecans and housemade vinaigrette when I hear "side salad."  It was far and away the best piece of quiche I've ever had.  The custard was perfectly fluffy with a spot-on crust that still flaked apart, even on the bottom.  The fillings were strong enough in flavor, but didn't overwhelm the eggs.

My lunch buddy ordered a quesadilla (also gigantic), and they happily accommodated some special requests that she made without making her feel picky.  Since we were dawdling on a business lunch, we decided to order the same dessert as the one we saw come out to the table next to us when we found out there was only one piece of the Culp's cake left.  This is Devil's food cake with boiled caramel icing.  This didn't seem decadent enough, so we ordered it a la mode.  It was indeed, sin and damnation on a plate, and we barely even put a dent in it before deciding it was far too rich to finish between the two of us.  

After visiting, I'm really surprised the place wasn't packed.  The service was tops, quality and portion size was on the upper end of the scale, and prices were more than reasonable.  Culp's has everything from salads, quiche, sandwiches, pot pie, fountain sodas, and they even serve wine and beer.  If you're planning a family outing to Carillon Park, there really no reason to go off premises for a good meal to round out your day.  The only thing I'd change about Culp's is their hours.  11a-3p every day, but I bet they could do a bang-up job on dinner service if they were so inclined.  

5 out of 5 sporks!
Culp's Cafe on Urbanspoon

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Lucky's Taproom & Eatery - Dayton, Ohio

You're probbaly figuring out by now that I have a ton of back-logged reviews.  congratulations! You're very intuitive.  Your mother says so. On another morning when Lil FvF was with the grandparents, we decided to finally get around to trying Lucky's for brunch. We get in a bad habit of always wanting to go to Golden Nugget, so our breakfast and brunch wishlist is long.  Blind Bob's menu always looks great, but for personal reasons, I don't eat there.  Lucky's brunch menu is on the smaller side, which isn't always a bad thing - plus they offered gluten-free banana bread French toast.  Score!

Well, not so fast.  It was just alright.  It was very mealy, which can be expected from g/f items, so I can't place that blame on the recipe or the cook.  I didn't taste the slightest hint of banana, either. The density inside and crunchy outside were tops, but the overall texture and taste was just off.  I got a little bit of both the maple breakfast sausage and smoked bacon, both of which were excellent.  The eggs were just eggs.  Nicely cooked, but by no means fluffy.

Mr. FvF really enjoyed his chorizo breakfast tacos, but the "home fries" went to waste because they'd been cooked with peppers and onions (not noted on the menu), both of which he can't stand.

Our server had an almost empty house, with only us and one other party of drunken ladies brunching, but she was pretty out to lunch the whole time.  We had to go to the bar and ask for refills and had no flatware on our table when our food came.

Reasonably priced, free lot parking, bloody mary bar and perfect meats give them a lot of aces, but they need to offer a few more better-executed options to keep us coming back.

3 out of 5 sporks! 

Lucky's Taproom & Eatery on Urbanspoon