At Lincoln Park last weekend, I: a.) pulled a muscle b.) hurt my back c.) proved I’m no Spring chick and d.) everyone of those. The result of which is that I’ve been getting a little massage therapy on Beacon Hill this week. I don’t know what’s worse, the actual therapy or the pain. The therapy itself is the most excruciating thing ever, however the light, airy feeling immediately after it’s over (whether it’s from the cessation of torture or the bliss of free-flowing blood, I dunno) has made the whole experience worth it. Either way, we decided to cruise through our old neighborhood and have dinner. I had a place in mind, but it’s generally parking availability that decides our fate. After a short search, we parked about a block away and walked to Café Presse.
Since I’m not a fan of the French fooderies, I’d yet to make it to Presse. However, after reading no less than three dozen blogs written by the Breakfast Diva, it was time for at least a drop-in. I don’t know if they were participating in Restaurant Week, or if every Thursday night is madness, but the place was so packed the host gave us a helpless look as soon as we walked in the door. There was a party in the back and everybody had just settled in for a long winter’s nap in the front. Luckily we managed to squeeze in at the tiny window bar.
They don’t call it “Presse” for nothin’. Periodicals for sale at the entrance, but since the place is always so packed, I’d imagine if you actually took the time to read a whole magazine while there, you may get clubbed with a baguette.
Our bar neighbor’s nuts. And wine.
Speaking of baguette, the bread ($2.5) here is great, but the rhubarb compote is what makes it spectacular. I know I’ve gone French when I say “the rhubarb compote is fantastical.” It is. The tart and sweet spread went perfectly with the bread and butter. Our efficient and friendly server told us the compote is made in house, however the crusty-chewy-goodness baguettes are purchased at Grand Central. I wish it would’ve come sliced, because it’s hard to avoid slinging an elbow at your bar-side companions when tearing into a baguette.
Really good, for all you bread lovers.
I didn’t see it on the menu, but asked for a margarita ($8). I needed several after that therapy session. Maybe not the best recovery drink, but hey, it was freshly squeezed lime juice and I’ve always relied on the kindness of tequila.
These pommes-frites ($4) were a big hit with James. He’s a potato man, so it doesn’t take much to sway him, however these were crispy on the outside and proper mush on the inside. I didn’t eat many as I was too busy doing battle with the baguette, but James said they were the best he’d eaten in a long time.
Since we were really only stopping in for a quick dinner, we shared the croque monsieur ($6). The brown bubbly cheese was tasty, but I couldn’t help but compare it to Cafe Campagne’s croque savoyard. I much preferred Campagne’s sandwich, however since it cost double what Presse’s did, I’d definitely say this sandwich is a tasty deal that I’d order again.
Who wouldn’t want a bite of that hot mess?
I walked into the place thinking about CB, but I absolutely forgot to order the most important dish on the menu. I don’t know if they even serve hot chocolate in the evenings, they probably do, so I’ll have to order that next time. And I will be back for another visit, yes, to try hot chocolate, but mostly because they had a plate of cookies ($3) on the dessert menu. They do know how to win a girl over.
Butter cookies, chocolate shortbread, and sable. I have no idea why the alarm bell for hot chocolate didn’t go off at this point, as these cookies were just waiting to be dunked. They tasted French. I’d say everything tasted French, which to me is heavily buttered, creamy, and mild. The frites added some salt into the mix, and the margarita had no place whatsoever on the menu, that’s just my stubborn palate wanting what it wants, no matter where I am.
Happy Cookie Friday, man.