Monday, August 24, 2009

Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe

So we went to a bookstore in search of pie. Seriously.

Kramerbooks is a wonderful independent bookstore in Dupont Circle. It has a wide variety of books, good customer service, and, as we recently learned, great pie! Kramer's has a cool little cafe at the back of the store that I walk by every week but had never tried. Our friend had mentioned that the pie (and food) was really good, so we knew we had to stop in. We're glad we did.

It's a bright, airy space that features patio seating and live music. This is not the Starbucks at the back of a Barnes and Noble. It's a real restaurant with a large menu and full bar. I love books and I love food . . . the night was off to a great start.

I took the waiter's recommendation and ordered the butternut squash ravioli (butternut squash and goat cheese pasta ravioli finished with browned butter, fresh basil, sun dried tomato, parmesan, lemon, and pine nuts). While I usually think of butternut squash as a fall or winter item, it was fantastic in this summery pasta dish. The addition of the lemon and sundried tomatoes gave it a lighter summer feel and it worked very well with the sweeter squash. The dish also gets style points for the lemon-yellow stripe down the middle of the ravioli. It came with a tasty little side salad that was a perfect counterpoint to the creamy pasta.

B also took the waiter's recommendation and ordered the Café Smoked Pork Cubano Sandwich (slow-smoked pork shoulder, pulled from the bone piled into a grilled mini baguette layered w/aged gouda, aioli, prosciutto, and Café pickled jalapeños that came with a baby arugula salad and Cafe ‘dirty' rice and beans).

He was nice enough to share a bite with me and it was juicy and bursting with flavor. Since B doesn't do beans, he ordered it with just the rice and this was no Uncle Ben's. It was fluffy and light.

And now, for the part you've all been waiting for: the pie! We didn't realize at first that they had a huge selection of pies. We only saw one on the dinner menu, the seasonal berry pie, and were planning to order that one when the waiter let us know they had lots of other pies. He had me at peanut butter. Before B could get a word out of his mouth, I ordered the Goober Pie (chocolate and peanut butter).

Damn, that was some good pie. It was served with fresh whipped cream and a drizzle of raspberry and chocalate sauce on the side. I was in peanut butter heaven. On the way home we called our friend who had recommended the pie to let him know we approved. We decided that the world can be split into "pie people" and "cake people." People tend to be fiercely loyal to either pie or cake. I'm a pie person and I think it's because it's really easy to screw up cake by making it dry but have you ever had a really terrible pie? Yes, maybe you've had bad pie crust but you can usually always enjoy the filling. Which side of the fence do you reside on?

Second Thoughts from B

When we entered the cafe through the back, we missed the large pie display case. The smaller display case that we did see contained three things: German chocolate cake, Red Velvet cake, and aforementioned seasonal berry pie. In the spirit of full disclosure, despite all the pie hype, that Red Velvet cake was calling my name. Thankfully, I sought out the sage counsel of our pie-loving friend who referred us to Kramerbooks. The conversation went something like this:

B: I'm confused. I came wanting pie but there's only one kind and the cake looks awesome.
Man of Pie: Look, cake can be good but you know what you're getting. Pie is like the young, unproven guy in the NBA draft with all the upside.
B: So you're saying cake is Tyler Hansbrough - solid but will never be a Hall of Famer - whereas pie could be the Jordan of the draft? (Why I went with the UNC analogy is beyond me...)
MoP: Yeah, something like that. (Disparaging UNC remarks omitted)
B: But does that upside also mean risk? Could my Jordan-pie end up being Sam Bowie
MoP: Maybe at other places, but at Kramerbooks, the worst you could do is Olajuwon.

Let me translate for you who aren't as familar with the 1984 NBA Draft. We are of the belief that a good pie beats a good cake, and at Kramerbooks, there is no such thing as bad pie. So let me be plain: Go get yourself some pie!
Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

MC said...

that conversation is absolutely hilarious!