Friday, April 25, 2008

Brewer and Warner: Critics’ Corner

By Rob Brewer and Davey Warner
Cardinal Staff

The cafeteria, for all its grandeur and decadence, can be intimidating and monotonous upon repeated visits. Amongst the many alternatives to the caf, the Cotter Café offers a reasonable and sensible menu with a charming atmosphere. Davey Warner, outdoor leadership coordinator, soil aficionado and financial backer, joins resident junior snob Rob Brewer for an intimate and revealing look into this oft-overlooked, cozy hideaway on the third floor of Saint Mary’s Hall.

Clam Chowder: To start off, we treated ourselves to a steamy cup of clam chowder. Seeing as it was a dreary, rainy day, this was a perfect beginning to an unforgettable meal.
Creamy, but never gelatinous, this uplifting treat contains, as Saint Mary’s Provost and frequent Cotter Café patron Dr. Jeffrey Highland described, “chewy clams and appropriate potatoes.” If there was to be a weakness to the chowder, it would be the sparseness of clams; nevertheless, the soup was taste personified, never seemed to get cold, and left Warner proclaiming, “I really like it.”

Tex-Mex Bacon Melt: For our next item, we headed south of the border for an aesthetically pleasing, panini-grilled, exalted BLT, but with a twist and a kick: the lettuce was replaced with a healthy serving of guacamole. The dichotomy of the crunchy ciabatta bread, perfectly grilled and a marvel to behold, and the creamy, melty (or “crealty”) cheese, guacamole and appropriate grease made this sandwich a fiesta that, given the ingredients, will probably continue long into digestion.

Grilled Mozzarella and Asparagus:
Highland, an amateur food critic himself, described this sandwich as “appropriately European, but without the pretentiousness.” Indeed, there is a sophistication you savor as you bite into this light, tangy expression of culinary mastery. As with the Tex-Mex Bacon Melt, the contrast between the dry toast and moist asparagus with green pepper is enough to make one’s jaw drop (but make sure to keep the sandwich inside). Spargarophobics (those who have a fear of asparagus) need not quiver, as the ingredients are in perfect harmony; alas, we all could take a lesson from this quaint and reverent concoction.

Chicken Caesar Wrap:
First impressions of this wrap are as follows: STUFFED. This isn’t the traditional wrap you might get at other food service establishments that has dashes of chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, and inappropriate amounts of Caesar dressing; instead, Julius himself would be proud to attach his namesake to this gastronomical delight. The moisture of the chicken, combined with the crispness of the lettuce and tanginess of the Caesar dressing, left both authors spellbound with thoughts of divine revelation. Eating this wrap is a deeply spiritual experience, but, due to the healthy ingredients, thou need not seek absolution.

Apple Turnover: The climax to our meal was a gargantuan apple turnover that made both of our sets of pupils dilate upon beholding it. Our fears were put to rest, however, after taking the first magical bite. The turnover was able to retain its essence, while still being joyfully and appropriately flakey and playful. The moist and sweet interior, with hints of brown sugar and cinnamon, provided dynamic contrast with the dry, flakey exterior. As Warner described, this turnover was a “sweet party in my mouth” and, as Brewer described, “a privilege to bite into.” A fitting conclusion to an appropriately Lasallian feast.

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