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Wednesday, July 20, 2011
White Dog Cafe in Wayne
I have been wanting to dine at White Dog Cafe since its opening in Wayne last fall, so I made a reservation for lunch and escaped the heat (and the kids) for a couple of hours to check it out. It is located on Lancaster Ave, right past the center of Wayne. I pulled into the parking lot that served a few other establishments (like Peanut Butter and Jane, and a beauty store called Beans), and I zipped right past a man who I later realized must have been a valet. Who knew? Stepping into the cool, the inside of White Dog is really unique. There looked to be at least five different rooms to dine in, plus a really snazzy bar area. We were seated in a bright and airy room that was mostly cozy booths, and nicely decorated. There were cute little doggy throw pillows all over the booths. I really wanted to get a picture of the booths with doggy pillows, but just as I was about to snap the photo, a family sat down. Bummer.
We asked how often the menu changes and were told it changes every couple of months to stay seasonal. This restaurant appealed to me because they serve meals with pesticide and chemical-free ingredients all from local farms. Inside the newsletter at the hostess stand is a list of all of local farms that they deal with. Their meat is humanely raised and hormone free. Their dairy and eggs come from local, organic and humane sources. All wine and beer are American grown and produced, with special attention to those grown without pesticides. They only serve local craft beers. The beer list would have been up to my husband's strict standards, I am sure. The waitress brought us some water, and two small Whole Wheat Rolls with butter. Yes, you heard me right. Whole Wheat. Extra bonus points for White Dog. I am pretty done with white rolls being the only choice. These rolls were perfectly crispy on top, warm and delicious. My mom and I decided to split the Lancaster Beet Salad: Crème Fraiche, Shellbark Hollow Goat Cheese, Polenta ‘Croutons’. I don't love beets, so my opinion on this salad may be skewed. My mom really liked the salad, and I thought the Polenta was nice. It had a touch of lemon to it, and was still hot. There were yellow and red beets and they had a nice flavor, but the salad was missing something. I probably would have been happier with any green salad with nuts and some goat cheese, but the salads were pricey and most had some kind of shrimp or meat involved.
Since it was after noon, and I just had to try the White Sangria, made with fresh seasonal fruits. It was refreshing and light but next time, I'll skip the ice. For $8 I got about three sips.
For entrees, it was a toss-up between the House Made Veggie Burger: Tzatziki, Tomato Tapenade, Feta, Lettuce, Tomato, Lavash Flatbread or the Cashew Crusted Tofu Buckwheat Noodles, Red Chile Aioli, Asian Vegetable Slaw, Ginger Soy Sauce. Not being a huge fan of tofu alone, I opted for the Veggie Burger, and a good choice it was. The flatbread was tastier than a bun, and all the flavors of the burger blended well together. I felt really healthy. These restaurants do need to move past the Veggie Burger/ Black bean option and get more creative. There was a choice of the grilled vegetables as an entree, but it just seemed to blah. Who wants a plate a veggies only as a meal? There are so many vegetarian meals I'd love to see more variety here. But I digress... I liked the effort to provide local, sustainable foods, and how the restaurant practices environmentally friendly practices. The atmosphere is warm and inviting. It's quiet and sophisticated. For one salad, two veggie burgers and two white Sangria's our bill - without tip was $56. It was a fun place to try, the food was good enough, but if my options for lunch are a veggie burger for $13, next time I'll probably just defrost one from the freezer and call it a day. Dinner might be interesting, albeit expensive. I'm willing to pay for a fancy meal with white tablecloths but not so much for a burger.