Serendipity Cafe-May 7, 2012

Philip was working out of town this past Friday and Saturday, and Sunday he was tired and in no mood for crowds or anything too energy-consuming, so we didn’t get around to a restaurant review. Instead, we decided to head out to dinner tonight. We started out going to the Rice Boxx in the Lupton Drive area, but got there and realized that they are not open on Monday! So…we headed over toward Red Bank to Serendipity Cafe. Actually, I have thought about Serendipity Cafe on several occasions, but since we generally do our review visits on the weekend-and they are closed on the weekend-it hasn’t worked out to this point. Perfect timing!

Serendipity Cafe is located in the former Captain D’s building on Dayton Boulevard (near Red Bank Middle School). Honestly, this area seems to be an area of town where local businesses go to die…it seems that every restaurant that goes opens in the former Shoney’s building next door quickly closes. Serendipity Cafe has been open in this location for several years (after existing as Serendipity Delights in a smaller space for some time before), so clearly they are doing something right!

Serendipity Cafe has a drive-thru for call-ahead orders. For ordering in, you walk up to the counter to order. There is a case showing available desserts and some of the menu offerings as well as dry erase boards to the right telling the daily breakfast, lunch, and dinner specials and soups of the day. There are daily soup specials and daily dinner specials. The dinner special was spaghetti and the soup was broccoli-cheese. I quickly noticed that the Wednesday soup special is spicy taco…I’ll have to go on a Wednesday! There was a little case by the register with a couple of different types of jumbo cupcakes-red velvet was one, but I don’t remember the other. There was also something called “almond pillow cookies”. Serendipity Cafe has several types of salads (chicken, tuna, broccoli salad, Waldorf, etc.) which are available as sides or as a “scoop plate” that allows you to sample several different types of salads.

Since I am a pimento cheese fanatic, I had to give theirs a try. I decided on a half pimento cheese sandwich on regular wheat bread (their options were white, honey wheat, whole wheat, sourdough, and rye. Normally I would choose sourdough, but pimento cheese goes best with soft breads.), a small broccoli cheese soup, and a corn muffin (crackers were the other option besides cornbread). The soup was very thick and not super-cheesy….it was really more like a cream of broccoli to me-not that that’s a bad thing. It was very tasty, seasoned just right with small bits of broccoli throughout. The sandwich was not overly stuffed with pimento cheese so that the lettuce and tomato would slide all over the place, and you could see the individual shreds of cheese, so it was clearly made in-house. It had a distinctly sweet flavor and tiny green flecks in it, which I am pretty sure was relish. Overall, I liked it. I was afraid that the corn muffin would be sweet, because when I think of corn muffin, I think of Jiffy. It was not, however, and I was relieved. I was raised on non-sweet cornbread and that’s how I like it. This cornbread was yummy and very similar to what my mom makes-score! They also scored big points with me by serving real butter, not “buttery spread” with the corn muffin (and having it on the table…along with half and half instead of nondairy creamer). You know how I feel about buttery spread! There were also chips….Ruffles. Not much to say about Ruffles!

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Philip decided on the quiche Lorraine, which the lady described to him as quiche with bacon, cheese, and onions, along with a side of Waldorf salad. The quiche was also served with (undressed) mixed greens and a pack of Club crackers. He commented that there wasn’t a lot of bacon in the quiche (I load mine up, believe that!) but that it tasted very good. The cheese on top looked like cheddar. I took a bite and loved that there was a lot of cheese. The quiche was “done” perfectly…not soggy or watery, as is so easy to do to quiche, and seasoned just right. The crust was flaky and perfectly browned. The Waldorf salad was interesting, unlike any version I’ve ever had or heard of. It had apples, celery, raisins instead of grapes, mini-marshmallows, and some sort of whipped creamy concoction (Cool Whip, I assume). This made it more “dessert-y” than traditional Waldorf salad, which has apples, celery, grapes, and mayo, but it was very good.

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While we were ordering, I was eyeing the gigantic red velvet cupcakes next to the register, but Philip was ogling the bread pudding with Irish creme sauce in the case. Since I had a Federal Bake Shop cupcake at work that day (hooray!) I let him choose the dessert without any input from me (I do like bread pudding, though). Here’s a little factoid I’ll never forget….on our first date, we went to Rembrandt’s coffee shop and he ordered a latte with Irish creme flavoring. Mmmm, Irish creme. As I’ve said before, I don’t really drink alcohol (I don’t like the taste) but I do love using liqeurs for flavoring, such as a tablespoon or two of Bailey’s in my hot chocolate. They really nailed the flavor of Bailey’s; I’m assuming it was an Irish creme flavored extract but perhaps it was actual Irish creme..who knows? The bready part was very moist and Philip compared it to a sweet dumpling. It was indeed very sweet, and we each ate one of the three scoops and we were done (but would definitely order it again!).

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On the table, they have a list of their daily specials. We’ll definitely have to visit on a Tuesday or Wednesday (which is also spicy taco soup day, remember?). There is also a list of desserts, which are not all available every day.

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If you are in the Red Bank area during the week and looking for a tasty and homecooked meal, check out Serendipity Cafe. The food was delicious, the service very friendly, and they make no bones about the fact that quality is more important than speed. Serendipity Cafe is located at 3510 Dayton Boulevard, Chattanooga (Red Bank), TN 37415. You can call them at 423-875-3477. You can check out their website, http://www.serendipitydelights.com.  You can also “like” them on Facebook.

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