Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Ramos House Cafe {San Juan Capistrano, CA}

Located in the heart of San Juan Capistrano is a gorgeously comforting nook known as 'The Ramos House Cafe'. I would compare it to your grandmother's kitchen rather than a restaurant. It is located in a beautifully restored historical house that takes on double duty, serving as a home and as a widely successful restaurant. It's owner can often be seen wandering the small area drinking his beer of choice, which makes for an atmosphere that is both inviting and casual.

The character that is found in the setting also incorporates into the food and dining experience. Sitting under a thatched vine roof makes for a beautifully lit table (just not when the weather disagrees). The menu constantly changes to highlight the season's best produce and is always made of the freshest ingredients, which can even be found in his own tended garden. I have to say that this restaurant is my most favorite in the area; it has never failed to please and always leaves me in a state of complete and utter satisfaction.
On the weekends, they have a weekend brunch menu that is $30.00 per person (an incredibly reasonable price), which includes a drink, a starter, and an entree. They also have sweets to choose from if desired, and trust me, they are most definitely desired!

Most of the pictures are of food already half-eaten due to the fact that I completely devoured it before even thinking about photographing it.

1. Cinnamon Apple Beignets: basically anything fried is good, but when filled with apples and lain in a perfectly sweetened vanilla sauce, it can be called something better than just "good," maybe even supercalifragilisticexpialidocious... just maybe.

2. Basil Cured Salmon: beautiful pieces of smoked salmon (and not too salty, yay! for getting it right) topped with boiled eggs, a white sauce, greens and served with toast points. The salmon was like velvet on top of the crunchy toast, the eggs gave it an unbelievably creamy texture and the greens also provided a nice, refreshing crisp.

Others Available:
1. Caramelized Fruit Salad
2. Fresh Baked Huckleberry Coffee Cake
3. Sweet Corn Hush Puppies w/ Pepper Jam

1. Southern Fried Chicken Salad with Corn Bread, Cranberries & Pumpkin Seed Buttermilk Dressing: The chicken was coated in some kind of meal which made it deliciously crunchy yet moist on the inside which went especially well with the tart cranberries. The corn bread were served in the form of Hush Puppies which were crispy on the outside and moist on the inside, my favorite part being the whole corn kernels in the batter. The dressing was like no other I have tasted before, tart yet sweet and incredibly strange. It left me with a sense of confused pleasure.

2. Smoked Mac n' Cheese w/ Veggies & Lemon: I don't know what more I could have asked for in a mac n' cheese. It wasn't overly cheesy to the point of sickness but just cheesy enough and had the perfect consistency. What made this special was the addition of the vegetables. It was topped with asparagus which was perfectly cooked with just the slightest bit of bite. The addition of the vegetables allowed for a well rounded meal and not an overly bloated stomach, which I am totally down for.

Others Available:
1. Persimmon Pain Perdu w/ Sweet Pumpkin Seeds
2. Wild Mushroom, Roasted Garlic & Sun Dried Tomato Scramble
3. Smoked Bacon Scramble w/ Rocket & Caramelized Onion
4. Crab Hash w/ Smoked Bacon Scrambled Eggs & Sour Cream Remoulade
5. Fennel Hash w/ Fried Poached Eggs & Goat Cheese Hollandaise
6. Lentil Soup w/ Duck Confit and Gingerbread Crutons
7. Beef Stew w/ Blue Cheese and Truffle Mashed Potatoes
8. Spicy Crab Cake Salad


1. Berry Banana Shortcake: Every time I make my journey to Ramos House, I always, and I repeat and capitalize, ALWAYS get this fabulous dessert. When I first read the menu I overlooked it because it sounded so simple, overdone, and boring. Simple it may be, but boring it most definitely is not. After a recommendation from the server, we decided to order this and we were not disappointed. It's warm and perfectly sweet and just an all around winner.

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