4137 Hamilton Avenue
Owners Doug and Melissa have a good thing going. Their groovy little restaurant in Northside, Take the Cake, is a perfect blend of savory and sweet. Leave your diet at the door, because as their name suggests, desserts feature prominently. Step into the restaurant and the first thing you see is the glass cabinet showcasing a mouthwatering display of sugary goodness. We arrived in time to get a good look - five minutes later and we would have been elbowing through the crowd for a glimpse.
The menu changes daily but always features a couple of vegetarian options; call first or check out their website to find out what's cooking. On the day we visited, the vegetarian specials included:
Spinach Tomato Quiche
Green Curry & Tofu Soup with Jasmine Rice
Tomato/Green Chili/Cheddar Bread Pudding
Roasted Red Pepper & Tomato Bisque
It isn't often that I'm spoiled for choice when dining out, and because everything sounded so good it was with some difficulty that I arrived at the decision to try the bread pudding. Let me just say this: if everything they make is as delicious as that bread pudding, they really do take the cake. Rich and decadent, the pudding reminded me of a thicker, creamier version of the Mexican cornbread my Mom makes, the difference being that we'd never thought to drizzle homemade tomato bisque over the top. I simply cannot convey in words how magnificant it was. With an undercurrent of cheddar and a pleasant jalapeno sting, this dish is unabashed comfort food.
It's a good idea to order dessert when you place your lunch order because the sweets can disappear quickly. Everything is made daily from scratch, and no trip to Take the Cake is complete without sampling something from the showcase. My friend and I both honed in on the three-berry cobbler, but in the spirit of research I opted for a sinfully rich chocolate brownie after my friend nabbed the cobbler - before he'd even decided on his lunch order.
The restaurant is closed on Sunday and Monday, is open Tues-Fri 8 a.m.-6 p.m. and from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturdays. Be sure to follow them on Twitter - every Tuesday they tweet a magic word that gives 10% off your bill if you mention it.