March 26, 2011

Winterlicious @ Hot House Cafe

It always puzzles me how Hot House Cafe can be so spacious given its location downtown. I mean, this place is huge! I've been here for Summerlicious previously, and enjoyed the experience so much that I decided to come back for Winterlicious. Their menu hasn't changed much, and I actually ended up getting the exact same things that I ordered for my last visit.
Soup of the day was New England Clam Chowder, served with a single thin piece of garlic crostini. The soup was generically creamy and delicious. For an appetizer, the portion was quite reasonable.
Louisiana crab cakes with tangy chili-lime aioli and crispy shrimp chips on mixed greens. This was my choice of appetizer when I last visited. This time, my friend got it instead. The crab cakes were fried to a nice golden brown, but the side salad was rather lackluster.
Gnocchi con Funghi: Potato gnocchi with cremini and porcini mushrooms, and just a hint of truffle oil, all tossed with a gorgonzola cream sauce. This was really tasty, almost addictively so. I absolutely loved the generous slather of creamy mushroom sauce. The gnocchi itself was also very light and yummy. The portion was quite large and I opted to help my friend finish her course and packed half of mine home.
My entree order was, once again, the Grilled Moroccan chicken sandwich on ciabatta with Charmoula aioli: Chicken breast marinated in a blend of Moroccan spices, grilled and served with roasted red peppers, caramelized onions and arugula, served with sweet potato fries. Love the sweet potato fries, as usual. The sandwich itself was very good, and the tangy Charmoula aioli is outstanding! In addition to serving as a dip for the fries I smeared it all over my sandwich! The grilled chicken was moist and reasonably tender, so all in all a very good combination. However, the portion was huge! I had to pack half of this home the first time I had it, and this time was no different. My friend and I did manage to demolish most of the sweet potato fries while it was still fresh.
Bread Pudding: Traditional bread pudding with brandy soaked raisins served warm with English custard. This did not live up to our expectations, and it just tasted like a slab of wet bread soaked in custard. I was not impressed at all.
Hot House Tiramisu is the restaurant's signature dessert. Sponge cake soaked in Espresso, Brandy, Frangelico and Bailey’s Irish Cream, covered with mounds of sweetened Mascarpone Cheese and lightly dusted with Cocoa. This was definitely the winner for desserts, and I enjoyed it very much as a sweet ending to my delicious (and very filling) meal. For $15, it was a lot of food!
Hot House Cafe on Urbanspoon


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