Comfort Food Cafe
WHERE: 210 West Pioneer, Puyallup, 253.770.6147
HOURS: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday-Saturday, Closed Sunday
CUISINE: Homemade, old-school American food with organic and natural focus - soups, salads, sandwiches, casseroles and desserts.
SCENE: Casual eatery with kid-friendly, easily accessible menu items. Order at the counter, grab your own beverages from the cooler.
DRINKS: Bottled and canned natural sodas, teas and juices, coconut water, coffee, hot cocoa.
ANNOUNCER: Located near Pioneer Park in Puyallup, Comfort Food Cafe puts a healthy twist on old-school American dishes. Handy symbols and a key guide mark menu items to help patrons know what food is vegan, organic, gluten-free and dairy-free. Not fussy or pretentious, this small, kid-friendly café focuses on breakfast and lunch only. Order at the counter, grab a seat and plates of healthy fare arrive.
JASON: Though obviously busy last Saturday, the girls working seemed happy to be there. On other visits I've noticed the same thing; the overall attitude creates a pleasant vibe. A glass wall slides open linking outdoor seating to the rest of the café. Tables are very close together and lack privacy.
JAKE: Guess it's good we weren't plotting a bank robbery. Jokes aside, close proximity means saying "Hello, new friends" and keeping conversations polite. I do love a place with milkshakes and desserts front and center on the menu. That's like receiving written permission for cookies as an appetizer. Plates of fresh and light food arrived in a reasonable amount of time. As I dug in I felt skinnier, versus the imaginary instant weight gain when eating luscious fois gras, or bacon burgers with gorgonzola sauce. Flavors of lentil and short grain rice, white onion, carrot and visible herbs were individually discernable in lentil casserole. I appreciate it when I can pick out the individual items that make up a dish. Huge plus that it wasn't cooked down into a thick mess, too. A little cheese melted on top went a long way in adding a needed sodium component.
JASON: Obviously, I agree on needing cheese. I know this food is good for me, but I still went inside for salt and pepper shakers (they were two-inches tall and appeared tiny in my manly paw). Chicken pot pie came in a boat with crust the consistency of spongy bread dumpling. Golden on top with a super slight tang that brought sourdough to mind, it soaked up juices from chicken bits and vegetables. Both the lentil dish and pot pie came with mixed green side salads as big as the main courses and topped with red onion, tomato, cucumber and generous feta cheese. Croutons made from garlic cheddar Great Harvest bread were a nice touch.
JAKE: Like many other things, dressings are made in-house. Blue cheese was creamy and tangy; Italian was so beautifully emulsified it was a cloudy orange color. The Merry Berry salad is dressed up with dried cranberries, sliced almonds and tart apple. Parmesan and feta went great with the berry vinaigrette (also deeply emulsified to a blushing light pink). Sammies are served toasted or cold with choice of white, wheat or garlic cheddar bread - the latter was a no-brainer for me. Certainly not new, I found the combination of avocado smeared on lightly toasted bread, a fat slab of Swiss cheese, crisp bacon and deli-shaved turkey breast in the "Nikki" sandwich to be delicious. The accompanying blah chips? Pass. Raw baby carrots and sugar snap peas? More, please.
JASON: Pastries and desserts are made in-house, excluding some gluten-free products from Alternative Bakery. Shortbread can be so purely, simply good, and the confetti-speckled, vanilla frosting-covered star cookie was just that.
JAKE: No-bake chocolate oatmeal cookies caught my eye, but carrot cake won. Actual pieces of orange carrot were visible; sweet, white frosting a quarter inch thick was studded with chunky walnut pieces. The cake is moist to the point of being oily. Lower that eyebrow, Jason, oily is not always negative. I'll take that over dry cake any day. Textural jamboree of nut crunch and silky slide of frosted cake was just like Olivia Newton John's hit song from the ‘80s song - "Magic"!