Sunday, January 17, 2010

Catch the Aroma!

We started our weekend up on "the hill" on Friday night by participating in the inaugural Idyllwild International Festival of Cinema. We had the honor of viewing 'Legacy', a psychological thriller/murder mystery combo filmed right in Idyllwild. It was a joy to see so many people flooding into the Rustic Theatre. An excitement filled the air with the films producers, directors, actors and their family and friends. We kinda felt like those infamous White House party crashers because it seemed like everyone knew everyone and we were intruding on a private affair. But we didn't care. We were at a red carpet premier! We bought some wine and took our seats right near the front. A great night it was. We hope that the film festival becomes an annual experience for us and Idyllwild.

On Saturday morning we wanted to get some exercise and take a "little" hike at the Idyllwild Nature Center. We decided to take the 'perimeter' course and started on our adventure at about 10am. Being huge fans of outdoorsy shows like Man vs. Wild and Survivorman, we were prepared with our layered clothing, multi-tool (just in case) and a sufficient water supply. Imitating Bear Grylls along the way by pointing out wild animal tracks and possible edible plants and bugs that we could consume in case of emergency, we must have somehow gone off course. Or maybe the 'perimeter' course was designed for the heavy duty hiker and we just didn't know it. In any case, after an unexpected 3hr hike in the Idyllwild woods we were hungry, really hungry. We dropped the old pup dog off at the cabin for a much needed rest and we headed to Café Aroma.

It always takes some creative maneuvers when it comes to parking, but it's always worth it for Café Aroma. Actually, the further away you park, the better it is, because as soon as you exit your vehicle your nostrils are attacked with the sweet smell of roasted garlic. Mmmm, it awakens ones appetite for sure.

We walked up to the steep staircase and waited to be seated. Since it was a little bit cool but sunny day, so we decided to sit on the outdoor patio. It was busy, but not swamped. Our lanky server came to our table almost immediately. He handed us the menus and asked what we wanted to drink. G asked for a Sierra Nevada and I an iced tea with lemon. As we glanced over the menu we were treated to the sounds of the 'Puente' band. I guess they would be considered a quirky rhythm & blues band, interesting to watch and listen to.

Armed with our drinks and 'just outta the oven' fresh bread with garlic olive oil, our server asked the dreaded question, "What would you like?" Oh, decisions, decisions. I finally spoke up and went first. I decided on Kappy's Salmon BLT. G went for the Polenta Pie.

The Kappy came on a medium sized plate. The triangular artisan bread was artfully drizzled with aioli mayo, then topped with a petite salmon fillet which was lightly smoked. Field greens, roma tomato slices and two pieces of thick sliced smoked bacon finished off the pile of goodness. The ingredients were fresh and simple. A delightfully delicious sandwich. I do wish it was just a tad bit bigger or maybe a small side would have accompanied the sandwich.

The Polenta Pie came on a large deep dish. Surrounded by a pool of homemade tomato marinara, the polenta pie was filled with sun dried tomatoes, kalamata olives, bell peppers, artichoke hearts and garlic. An entire clove of roasted garlic accompanied the pie. Oh my goodness, It was fantastic. Super sweet roasted garlic heaven. This dish was hearty, but not dense. Tasty, rich and comforting. A keeper for sure!

In conclusion, Café Aroma is always a delightfully, welcoming and hip place to eat. We enjoy their interesting twists on familiar dishes and their fearless use of one of our favorite ingredients...garlic!

Café Aroma - Bistro • Gallery • Social Club
54750 North Circle
Idyllwild, CA 92549

Hours of Operation:
Sunday - Thursday 7am - 9pm
Friday & Saturday 7am - 10pm
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Beer & Wine, Wi-Fi, Live Music and Dog Friendly (on patio)