James Cafe on Market, and then some

We didn’t know much about James Cafe, except for Sue Gleiter’s take on Chef James Carpenter and his local, seasonal approach to ingredients. We went there with friends and a New Zealand sauvignon blanc.

My wife and I split a warm salad starter — scallop and bacon on greens with small-dice potatoes. It was lovely, tasty and actually divided for two plates by the kitchen. Nice touch. Not only did they not fuss about splitting an appetizer, they made it easy. Service points for that. In fact, great service all around. If Carpenter did indeed grab the waitrons at Parev and haul them over to Camp Hill, it was a good grab.

She had salmon on wild rice as a main plat. I don’t know what qualifies as wild rice, exactly, but this was dark and well seasoned. I had the steak frites. I think it was flank steak, medium rare, a vibrant red center against the gray brown of the cooked edge. Excellent. Frites were good … could have done without the cheese sauce.

There was enough steak that we had takeaway, and our Saturday supper was steak and eggs on tomatoes and romaine lettuce with vinaigrette.

Oh, and I have to mention Easter Sunday. Made a garlicky pork roast and a broccoli recipe by NYT minimalist cook/columnist Mark Bittman: broccoli steam sauteed with anchovies and garlic. (If you don’t like garlic, don’t come to my house for dinner.) Anchovies could become my new secret ingredient.

Great weekend. Hope you had one too.

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