Red, White and Rachel
It’s 12:30pm on a beautiful Thursday afternoon and that dreaded question appears in my mind, “Where am I going to have lunch?” I need somewhere not too crowded, quiet enough so I can hear my own thoughts and that’s not going to take up too much of my time. Driving down Main Street headed towards Palm Avenue I see a parking spot across from Clasico Cafe & Bar. I park my car and head across the street.
As I walk inside I feel the cool refreshing air-conditioning hit me, the white and black speckled tile floor helps to keep the place cool. Red bar stools and high top tables are tempting me to sit at them, but the music is a bit much for me, being that I plan on working while eating. The hostess immediately greets me with a smile. I decide to sit outside under the red umbrella where there is a breeze flowing to keep me cool.
As I get settled at my table I order a ‘Florida Cocktail’ – water with lemon. The lunch menu is perfect, giving me a handful of choices from fresh salads to sandwiches. Not 100% sure of my order yet, Marybeth, my server comes over and I ask her what she suggests. Giving me her honest opinion, I decide to ask her if I could order the Reuben with turkey instead of corn beef and pastrami, she said no problem. This sandwich otherwise known as Rachel is one of my favorites. I also order a side of potato salad, even though my sandwich comes with french fries. I love potato salad, but not a big fan of mayo, I am pretty particular on what I can handle. Marybeth tells me it’s spicy, but okay.
While my order is in, I take in the atmosphere around me before diving into my work. It’s the summer, so it’s quieter than usual. This is one of the best corners in Sarasota to people watch, the streets busy with cars and sidewalk has a good flow of people. If you lived in the area for a while, there is a good possibility you will run into someone you know, as I did. My friend from South Africa I haven’t seen in a while just finished getting his haircut and stopped by my table to say hello. Normally I would invite him to sit and talk, but I am on a deadline. Just after he leaves Marybeth comes out with my lunch.
Toasted marble rye bread with oven roasted turkey, sauerkraut, melted Swiss cheese topped with thousand island dressing; visually my Rachel looks scrumptious. I take a bite, the bread precisely toasted and not overly stuffed allowing me to take lady size bites. This sandwich perfectly prepared. The chef nailed this and I’m not easily impressed.
My french fries are sprinkled with a touch of sea salt and have the ideal balance of potato and crunch, just like a french fry should. This Table for One is as happy as can be. I love when my food comes out the way I expect it to. The potato salad didn’t agree with me, and even though I told Marybeth I would be happy to wrap it up and bring to a friend, she insisted on taking it off my check. She couldn’t have been more pleasant.
Only being able to finish half my sandwich, I wrap the other half up and offered to a friend when I returned to my office. I think portion sizes are way too big here in America. I would prefer my meals served on a side plate, but having self-control and discipline is a skill we can always keep sharp. I learned to eat until I am content and not just for flavor back when I was younger.
Clasico Cafe & Bar reminds me of a classic diner in New York, but with a sophisticated feel. With complimentary wi-fi and plenty of space inside or outdoors, it’s a great place to come if you are a Table for One whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner. The atmosphere is ideal, the food is American and it’s a hot spot for locals. Clasico Cafe & Bar, 1341 Main Street, Sarasota, FL. 34236, (941) 957-0700 –www.barclasico.com