Did I tell you we went to Urban Solace for dinner not so long ago? Have I mentioned how much I love all these cute little urban eateries that are popping up downtown and around North Park? Because I think it’s so cool and it makes me wish we ate out more often. It also makes me wish we lived closer to the “heart” of the city. Of course, then I look at our nice backyard (overgrown with weeds) and think of how we completely fill the house with stuff and I’m glad we live where we do. And then our grumpy mean neighbor lady comes out in her wacky housecoat to smoke on her front porch and look unfriendly and I wish I had a fence between our front yards, too. That has nothing to do with eating out, but it’s a grumble I have in my heart every time I see her and I just needed to let it out for a little bit. At least her husband has been acting nice to us lately. I’ll take fake pleasantries over hate-rays anyday.
Yeah. So, we had us a little Girls Night and it was decided to go try one of these new little urban places that we hear about but have yet to set foot it. I also lobbied for a return non-brunch trip to Cafe Chloe, but the comfort food-ness of Urban Solace’s menu was appealing in light of the rainy, drizzly weather we’d been having. As a side note, if you are also looking for some ideas on where to dine, you should do as I do and peruse Alice Q’s site. It seems she visits the best places and also takes pretty pictures for you to look at (unlike me).
We entered North Park, turned the corner at Heaven Sent Desserts (do they use shortening in their frostings? Because that is just icky), and decided to just park in the parking garage. Where we encountered the oddest parking garage attendant ever. Either he was really bored or he thought he was Master of the Garage (MoG):
We drive up and he gets out of his booth to hand us a ticket-thing. We think he’ll just give it to us and we can proceed to park. Uh, no. (actual dialogue may be paraphrased)
MoG: So, how long do you think you’ll be here?
Us: Um… we don’t know? (Sorry, we forgot to ask the Magic 8 Ball before we left)
MoG: Well, you see, I don’t want you to get stuck in here if the garage closes before you get back.
Us: Well, we’re just going to get dinner. It’s right across the street. What time does the garage close:
MoG: I shut things down and go home at 10 pm (it’s, like, 7 pm at this point).
Us: I’m pretty sure we’ll be done with dinner before that. I think we’ll be okay.
MoG: Okay, just make sure you’re back before 10.
Seriously? Is there a huge nightlift in North Park I’m missing? Did we look like all-night partiers who wouldn’t be back for the car until 2 am? Just give us the ticket and tell us when you close. We’ll make sure to get our car before then, really.
We cross the street to Urban Solace and actually get seated right away! I thought there might be a wait, but there wasn’t, even though the small dining room was pretty full. Caution: the tables slide on the floor quite easily. We started with the cheese biscuits, which were soft and tender and warm. I didn’t detect too much orange in the orange butter, but melted butter on a warm biscuit isn’t anything to complain about. I love those biscuits. I even took one home with leftovers, let it heat up in the oven slowly, and it was still tender and flaky and delicious! Yum.
Then we had duckaroni (blue cheese mac ‘n cheese with duck confit and argugula), the normal mac ‘n cheese (with charred tomatoes and bacon), and tomato-fennel soup and… a salad. Of which I can’t remember. Because I didn’t eat it, Cami did. I had the duckaroni, which was very rich, probably due to the blue cheese. And the cold I had. Actually, it was really rich, because I took half of it home and then it lasted through two more meals because I could only eat so much blue cheese-ness before my tastebuds got overwhelmed. However, if you like blue cheese and duck, you should definitely try the duckaroni.
After dinner (we were too full for dessert, sadly), we hurried back to the garage to find that practically all the entrances had the gates down! By this point, it was only 8:30 pm, so it’s not like the garage was preparing to shut down totally in 15 minutes. We finally had to walk up the same ramp we drove up earlier to get back to the car. We weren’t even the last car there! And then we made it home without too much fuss.
So, Urban Solace = good and tasty. The parking garage across the street = weird and creepy. If you do go to Urban Solace, definitely get the cheese biscuits. If no one else is interested in the biscuits (because the olive plate looked good, too), you can order just a single biscuit as a side. But don’t share! It’s all for you! Or, order a basket of biscuits and take the rest home for indulging later. I didn’t really see anything on the menu that didn’t sound good, the best part being that they weren’t ridiculously expensive.
Ahh… I love good meals with the girls!