I went out with one of my husbands last night to a cafe in our neighborhood called Under The Red Umbrella. I had meant to take him for his birthday in November, but I got sick four days before, and stayed sick for a month and a half (!).
Red Umbrella is only open for dinner on Friday nights - the rest of the week, Monday through Saturday, it closes at 4. On Fridays, it's open until 9:30 and live music starts at 7. Last night was a blues band called Ravinwolf who played a kind of steel-string guitar schtick, it would have made great driving music! It was a little loud but not disruptively so.
The cafe itself is pretty small, very cute on the outside and very homey on the inside. Tables around a deli counter, and couches and armchairs facing the stage. There's a little bar with a coffee machine and so on. The barstools weren't quite tall enough for either me or my husband (I'm Italian-Irish and he's Mexican, what are you gonna do) but it wasn't so bad.
We ordered hummus tapenade to start. I was super excited because I've been craving olive tapenade for months, and it was SO worth the wait. The hummus (served with fresh basil) was delicious and the tapenade was even better. The pita bread wasn't that great - it tasted like it had been warmed up in the oven about an two hours beforehand, cold and a little too dry, but luckily there was more hummus and tapenade than would even fit on the bread so I ended up eating the rest of it on the side of my knife once the bread was gone. The waitress recommended me a red cabernet which was delicious.
For the entree, we both ordered the same thing, the dish we'd gone there for in the first place: bison burgers. Neither of us had had bison before, and it was so very, very worth it. The meat was perfect, pink on the inside, brown on the outside. The bun was soft and light as air and I ordered it with tomato, lettuce, horseradish mayo and a side of ketchup. Fucking delicious. One of the best burgers I've ever had, by far: light, healthy, not at all greasy, and the bison tasted approximately one million times better than beef. It came with a side of potato salad that was a little too oniony for me but still really good, and better with ketchup.
Dessert was mixed berry pie and vanilla ice cream. We ordered one to split and it was still almost too much; it had to be about a quarter of a pie. I don't know what 'slice' means to them. It was also totally fucking first class. Sweet, sticky berries, perfect vanilla ice cream, flaky crust. That crust must have had about two cups of butter in it, it was so damn flaky. The pie pushed us into eating too much and no regrets were had by either of us. I finished off with an 8oz hazelnut latte - even the coffee was above par. It was complex but light, and not at all bitter. The syrup helped, of course, but the espresso itself was delicious.
A++, would go again, especially in summer for lunch when we could sit outside at those nice outdoors tables and eat tomato basil soup and olive tapenade, cookies and coffee. Or maybe just a bison burger and a carafe of red wine to share.