Thursday, November 11, 2010

At Last Cafe has been on my list for a while and I finally had the chance to come try them out. After a grueling trip to Vegas and directly into Long Beach for a few days, I was looking for a way to catch my breath. Of course that never happened as I just continued to use this rare chance to explore as much of Long Beach as I could. I am still on my whirlwind travels without a breather. Thank goodness I had my GPS to guide me around because I could have sworn that somewhere along the line I was in Compton, but then again I didn't know where I was heading. At first I was aiming to have lunch in Compton but Ms. Lin convinced me not to because she would like to see me return in one piece. Can't blame a girl for trying to be adventurous.
After a few blocks the neighborhood was a little out there but eventually I found At Last Cafe. There was plenty of parking on the street in the afternoon. Its quite a cozy and quaint place tucked away at the corner. The staff there was super friendly. Everything about the place screams out comfort food home-cooking. It's a perfect neighborhood restaurant where you can just waltz in and grab a nice lunch. I'm sure after one visit they will remember you and greet you with a smile the next time they see you.
What really lured me here was the promise of delicious Three Cheese Mac-N-Cheese with Bacon topped with Toasted, Buttered, & Seasoned Breadcrumbs ($8.25 + $3.50). One thing I really love is Cheese and to add Bacon to that??? Say what? I am so down for it. My only qualm is that I wished this dish had a stronger cheese flavor that emanated through. The Mac-N-Cheese itself was nice and creamy but fell a little short in flavor. I thought this dish was nicely cooked but I was looking for a salt & pepper shaker the whole time. The saving grace was the huge bits of bacon! OMG! Each delightful crunch just shot the dish up into the nines! They do give a generous amount of bacon to enjoy the dish. **note: I only got the 1/2 order**
I was a little greedy that afternoon and wanted to try it all! After all, who knows when I will make another trip back up to Long Beach, got to take the chance to make the most of this visit. Upon the server's recommendation I decided to try the Beef Flat Iron Steak ($12.50). The steak is served with Sauteéd Mushrooms, Caramelized Onions, Smashed Potatoes, and Fresh Vegetables. They use real potatoes and hand mash them. I really liked the sweet caramelization of the onions. The components were all good on their own but I am not sure it came together harmoniously for me. It was a solid dish but just not for me. I think it might have been the pre-cut steak that came with the dish. The steak just didn't pop for me, but I think the flavors were good here.
My favorite thing of the day here was the Brick Chicken ($9.50). This was fabulous! It's half a Chicken that's flattened and grilled under a Brick served with Smashed Potatoes and Fresh Vegetables. Whatever brick they were using, don't stop! The seasonings used on the chicken really popped and was absorbed. At first I was not a believer of cooking chicken in this manner but all the wonderful flavors really get caught up the chicken. Not only was the skin crisp and flavorful, I couldn't stop eating this dish. Maybe this is what deterred me from the previous dish. Once I had a bite of the chicken, I was expecting the other dish as great as this one. Normally I am not a huge fan of chicken but the smokey flavor just lingered in my mouth. **drool drool** The sauce for the chicken and beef seemed to be the same but the preparation seemed to make a huge difference. I'd definitely come back for this dish. Yum!
All in all I had a nice afternoon lunch. Everyone there was really nice and inviting. It's simple good home-cooking at a great price. I like that I can enjoy many items on the menu without breaking the bank. The portions were generous and filling. I was a little too greedy because I had to package most of it home, but I was happy to do so. Mmmm I want some more of that Brick Chicken!

At Last Cafe
204 Orange Ave
Long Beach, CA 90802
(562) 437-4837
At Last Cafe on Urbanspoon

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great post! I’m looking to make some changes in my own eating habits and learning to cook, so I appreciate your insight a lot! Thank you. I recently stumbled upon this blog like I did yours and I thought your readers may appreciate it: http://burisonthecouch.wordpress.com/2010/11/04/food-for-thought/

I’ve started to look for their stuff more regularly and I think I’m going to add your blog to my list as well. Thanks for the post!

-Amy

Lea @ Healthy Coconut said...

Thanks for this post. I live in OC but my fiance works in San Pedro so this is not too far from us. He loves huge servings and it looks like this restaurant serves big plates.

I will let him know of this restaurant.

I agree, some parts of Long Beach is not so good.

Kat said...

Thanks for reading Amy!

Lea - Aww I understand that it would be far. I live in Mission Viejo so for me it is a "once in a long while" trip but well worth it. I made sure to hit up as much as I can while I was in Long Beach to make the most of it. =)

I hope you guys will get the chance to try it! And, yes... don't be scared while you are driving there. Maybe I am a scaredy kat, but day time was already a little interesting to me.

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