Dish

Cosy up to comfort food in a comfy place

3fd6e4c4-f5d6-4e38-9308-7d1683a371d2

There is nothing better than a warm bowl of soup on a rainy day. Well, there
is one thing better: a great café in your own neighbourhood that makes
the soup for you.

The Mill Creek Café is situated in an innocuous building just west of
where Whyte Avenue crosses the Mill Creek ravine. It is a great place to meet
after an invigorating walk through the ravine, particularly a walk in the
rain.

The brass bells on the door tinkled as my friend and I came in out of the
rain and with our kids, strollers and bags in tow. Our first sight was a
display of incredible baking in the display case, which was filled with
squares and pies. The banana cream pie looked incredibly fluffy and was piled
high with meringue.

As we looked for a place to sit, I noted an eclectic mix of high chairs, low
chairs, high tables and low tables. The overall atmosphere was comfortably
casual and therefore able to accommodate our sprawling crew. For those dining
alone on a quick lunch or snack, I saw an ample supply of newspapers and
magazines.

Menus hung above the till and the daily special board announced two soups of
the day: a green minestrone and a pork, sweet potato and black-eyed pea.
Other items such as the Mill Creek salad—explained to me as Greek in a
base of cabbage—and the spinach and artichoke dip looked tempting, but
the chilly drizzle outside dictated that we needed homey, warming
cuisine.

My friend ordered a café latte ($3.75), a quesadilla with chorizo
($9.25) and a cup of the green minestrone ($2). I decided to warm myself with
a chai latte ($3.75), a Reuben sandwich ($7.25) and a cup of the pork, sweet
potato and black-eyed pea soup ($2.00). There was a nice selection of
teas—some loose (the Blood Orange looked especially tempting), along
with teabags of fruit tisanes and some European teas.

We sat down at a table near the door. I brought my friend’s toddler
a “yummy cookie” ($1.50) from the counter to stave off the
hungries until lunch was assembled. He definitely agreed with the description
of the cookie. (It helped that it was also a very large “yummy
cookie.”) Very soon our beverages arrived in tall glass mugs. My friend
said the coffee was good; my chai was delicately spiced and not too
sweet.

The soups followed shortly after. My friend’s green minestrone was a
subtle mix of flavours: zucchini, peas, celery and onions combined delicately
to create a light, warming soup. There were also a few macaroni noodles
thrown in for good measure.

I warmed myself up with my soup while it was hot, and it tasted as good as
its description. A rich, satisfying flavour, along with some telltale oil
drops on the surface of the soup, told me that the cooks had likely used the
pork drippings for the broth. This fantastic base melded with a somewhat
sweet broth from the sweet potatoes and caramelizing of onions. Combined with
pieces of pulled pork, the whole made for a savoury, very chill-banishing
soup.

Next up, my friend’s quesadilla was a predictable mix of cheese, onions
and bell peppers, accompanied by salsa and tortilla chips. The salsa was a
little bland and the chips from a bag. Spicy chorizo sausage distinguished
this quesadilla from its plainer cousins, however, and a whole wheat tortilla
was a nice touch.

The weather had worked up my appetite, so I immediately dug into my Reuben
when it arrived. The pastrami on my buttery sandwich was sliced very thinly
and lightly fried, just the way I like it. The housemade nine-grain bread
bookending my sandwich was incredible: it was fresh and hearty, complete with
whole grains and visible carrots. Sauerkraut rounded out the sandwich; with a
couple of dips into a side of mustard, I was heartily satisfied.

I finished my soup and was getting ready to go when my baby started fussing.
As I walked around the restaurant settling the baby, I got a good look at the
local artwork displayed on the soothing green walls. Suddenly, plate-sized
cinnamon buns stopped me in my tracks. When I asked if they were good, both
women nodded emphatically and added that the cream cheese on the top was
homemade, too.

Our total for lunch was $28.50 including GST. I couldn’t decide on a
dessert so I purchased a bag of the nine-grain bread and walked back out into
the deluge to start building my Ark.

If you are in the area, it is definitely worth stopping at Mill Creek to
sample the goodies here. If you live in the area, you probably already do.
The food is innovative and the baking is spectacular. Even finding parking is
a breeze, so you have no excuse not to stop! V

Mon – Fri to 6 pm, Sat to 5 pm, Sun to 4:30 pm
Mill Creek Café
9562 – 82 Avenue
439.5535

Leave a Comment

*