Saturday, 25 May 2013

A brighter, cleaner, Prime Time World at 50's Prime Time Cafe

Ahhh.... life in the 1950's. Everything was all floral dresses and 60 watt light globes over the sandwich making pull out lap board.

This is the Australia of ye olde worlde - before Miele, Thermomix and Highlander stoves.

Frankly, I'm glad its gone. I wonder what our grandchildren will think of our ceiling mounted rangehoods and built in micro steamers? Anyone who knows me will tell you I have a dishwasher fetish. Oh .... how my heart sings with joy about the time and energy saving little box splashing away in the corner.

But when you look at life in 1950s Australia, well .... you'd wish the 1950s were gone too. I mean how drab. How mundane. Betty and her mother live in a "handy kitchen" where the saucepans are conveniently located. WOW!

(oh and there's a piece of classic Aussie culture! go back and listen to the first minute. Everything good she says, she tempers: "it's shiny and new - now - the scratches will come". The sink is too low for her friend. New cooker!! well - the electricity is on so she "might as well use it". Crikey! I am sorry you have to go through the whole new kitchen bother. "Oh look we've won the lottery! I suppose I'm going to have trail down to the bank and open new accounts and go on some kind of luxury cruise now - sigh)

Yes she has baby poop olive green coloured cabinets, and a place for the salt. But where is the trailing plastic ivy and wax fruit baskets?? I demand textured wall paper and a solar system inspired wall clock!!

I demand a world where the table corner is trimmed to match the sink!

Fortunately there is a place in this modern world that understands the desire to visit that mythical version of the 1950s. A place that reaches back in time to those innocent days of Yore (can there be such a thing?). A place that transports one back to the magic that was Sunday night dinner at your Aunty's house.

"Kids!! It's time for dinner!! and set the table
It's the 50's Prime Time Cafe - where the Dick Van Dyke Show and Leave it to Beaver are FOREVER on TV.

The 50's PT Cafe harkens back to that imaginery time when laminex ruled and plasticky nickynacks are jammed onto every flat surface. The whole cafe is a series of "kitchenettes" where you come in for your home cooked meatloaf.

So my friend, Clare, and I came in when called, washed our hands, set the places, kept our elbows off the table and had a look at the menu.

(source: click to embiggen)

For first course, how could I go past deep fried cheese?

Herb and garlic cheese with warm raspberry sauce, crutons, apple and grapes
I think the last time I had a deep fried cheese was in the infamous Double Bay Steakhouse (geez - remember that?! in 1989). All of that fruit was needed to cut through the cheesy creamy smoothness, but for me, this was easy. A great dish - deserving of a spot right through to 1989.

My friend Clare needs a celiac diet and accommodating her requirements was too easy. First up she selected a gluten free item: the Wedge Salad

Iceberg, blue cheese dressing, bacon and chives
Wedging anything has several different connotations in Australia and so it is not something Aussies do to our lettuces. However Clare was very happy and this is a simple dish - you can easily imagine the taste.

Next up for main course:

The chef made a special gluten free version of the chicken pot pie. Neat! Apparently the filling was already gluten free - thickened purely with vegetables, milk and slow cooking. Instead of a pastry lid, they provided a rather sad piece of gluten free toasted bread.

This bowl was FULL of chicken. No skimping on the protein here. and carrots. Carrots must have been cheap at the markets that morning
(note: Orlando is a place feeding 55 million+ tourists every year. If you have dietary requirements they are easily accommodated. I have seen the most astonishingly limited people adequately catered for)

Once Clare and I had finished bitching about the travesty that is gluten free supposed "bread" (do not try this stuff); our attention turned to my main: The Sampler Plate.

Fried chicken, pot roast and meatloaf with all the "fixin's" : name potato mash with gravy, steamed veges and tomato sauce.
Each item in the sampler is available as a dish in its own right. The meatloaf was actually very good and the tangy sauce was a perfect match. As a lover of the deep fry, that chicken was great at first. I suppose the deep fried batter was great! But the actual chicken was a bit bland, and a bit dry. Still, that is why gravy exists. The pot roast was very moist and unexpectedly good - however the whole dish was HUGE and I got into trouble for not eating all my vegetables.

After all, you can't have dessert if you don't eat your vegetables. One of the kids at the next table scored his uneaten vegetables, buried under a pile of whipped cream with a cherry on top AS his dessert. Mom's tough love here.

However, instead of dessert, we ordered specialty drinks:

Clare enjoyed a "lemonade with wildberry foam" (foaming things was VERY in) and I had my favourite root beer float.

Who needs green beans with cream when you can have root beer? Oh and check out the boomerang patterned table top.
By this stage I was giving this meal 3 Mr Creasotes. I was STUFFED - imagine if we had done dessert? eek!

and I am going to give 2 spoonfuls of sugar - however - one of the spoonfuls is alloted because the restuarant is sweet!

Everyone stays in role, the restaurant is committed to the theme and completed fitted out to suit the era. Even the cute little TV's on every kitchen counter are showing old 1950's family TV shows. Your Aunts and Uncles treat you like family (and you'd better know what colour is the soap in the bathroom) and if you misbehave? Well - it's standing nose to the wall or perhaps a rendition of "I'm a little teapot" as penance.

Frankly, dessert was not worth it. A brownie with vanilla ice cream, cheesecake, apple crumble/crisp - it was if the 1950's had not yet discovered the joy of baking. Nigella's influence is yet to come.

But 50's Primetime Cafe - I'll be back. Like every family, eventually you have to have the get together and catch up on old times.

Arrgghh - they stole the solar system clock!
So dear reader, do you have a favourite childhood meal?

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