A new month brings so much into each of our lives. A new rent check is due. New bills must be paid. If you’re a complete weirdo who uses a checkbook, you might accidentally write last month on the check before you remember the passage of time.
And for me, most excitingly, a new month brings new monthly features from some of my favorite metro restaurants. I am so full writing this, but I must persevere, because...I don’t know, what else is a person supposed to do? I can’t just watch “One-Punch Man” on an endless loop for the rest of my life.
These features are available for June only, so move your body in the direction of these places and order these items before July comes and ruins everything.
One more thing: if you know of a monthly feature I missed, please electronic mail me your suggestion to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cherry-Vanilla Espresso Cream Soda - $4.50
Balance in all things: it’s the zen koan of Clarity Coffee. Which is why this month’s special feature, the cherry-vanilla espresso cream soda, is so good. Too often cherry comes across as a harsh, overly sweet cough syrup flavor and vanilla just tastes like sugar. But in this drink, you get a sweet-tart real cherry flavor, followed by the mellow smoothness of vanilla in a housemade syrup. Next comes the creamy, mildly bitter hit of the espresso cream soda, which is cool, light and perfect for summer. This is a sipper, not a chugger.
Lemon Cream Pie - $4.50 per slice, $24 for a whole pie
Co-owner Leslie Coale-Mossman demurred when I told her how deeply I loved the lemon cream pie available this month.
“It’s so simple,” she said. But that’s what makes it so good. Eliminating ingredients means all the ones included have to be perfect and that’s what this pie is.
From bottom to top, it’s a simple pie crust, topped with a thick layer of lemon curd and topped with whipped cream. What makes this so amazing is how harmoniously these ingredients get along. The lemon curd has a burst of bright, lemony tartness that never gets harsh. It’s ridiculously smooth and sturdy. Though it melts on the tongue, you can put a fork through it and the curd stands resolute. Texturally phenomenal, the pie is also incredible for taking your taste buds on a rollercoaster ride without ever going too sour or too sweet.
The B.E.L.T. Burger - $10
Stuffed Peppers - $7
The B.E.L.T. is a solid burger from tip to tail. The patty is bacon mixed with beef, supercharging the flavor why retaining a supple texture. On top is an egg, which is a spot-on over medium with a great runny yolk. Lettuce and tomato usually get short shrift here, but the tomato is gorgeously ripe and the lettuce crisp and layered. As you dig in, the yolk drips onto the burger and gets caught in the web of lettuce, ensuring you’re getting all of that flavor without leaving any behind.
As always, $1 of each burger purchased goes to charity. This month’s recipient is Pine Pantry, a community-supported free food pantry.
The “fry” of the month are a plate of stuffed jalapenos and sweet peppers, filled with melted cheese and crisp bacon and served with a chipotle ranch dressing for dipping. The peppers are tender, with a crispness to the flesh without any of that raw flavor.
I know I’m a weirdo, but my only regret was that the jalapenos were so well cleaned out that I didn’t get any heat. That’s probably ideal for most people. Not a big deal; besides, I can always add heat in other ways.