Café des Artistes – healthful food and artistic airy ambiance
Thursday, October 17th, 2013
Issue 42, Volume 17.
Michaels’s Italian heritage, coupled with his New York City upbringing, provides the fodder for the unique quality of the food and ambiance at this downtown neighborhood restaurant.
"Food is a passion for Italians," Michael mentions. "Life is about family and food and caring for one another."
Michael is proud of his establishment’s reputation as a place to enjoy healthful food, but what drives him to offer the healthful alternatives?
"It started in my childhood growing up in New York City. I went with my mother to the markets to buy fresh food. My mother had an extreme passion for fresh food," he explained.
Once when Michael was about eight years old he came home to find three eels swimming in the bathtub. Those eels were to be part of the family’s next meal! You can’t get any fresher than that.
Growing up in New York City with a variety of markets also helped mold Michael’s penchant for fresh food.
Michael is also adamant about using fresh vegetables and he abhors canned products.
"You don’t really know how old they are," he said.
Michael is dedicated to using as many fresh and organic products as he is able. In addition to organic greens, the restaurant uses free-range chicken (only the breast portion), wild salmon and kosher sea salt, among other healthful food items.
"Fortunately in Fallbrook we have a lot of organic vegetables available; and if I can’t get organicI get preservative-free vegetables," he commented.
What better way to chase away the autumn chill in the air than a steaming cup of soup? Michael creates his healthful and delicious soups from scratch. In fact, his reputation as a soup artist is growing and some of his customers have even dubbed him – "Souper Man."
Pierce the creamy layer of cheese on the French Onion Soup and you will find that it is bursting with sweet onions and fresh focaccia bread croutons. Healthful, colorful and tasty are apt descriptions for his Puréed Carrot Soup. The carrots are pureed, then mixed deliciously with cream and dill. Also, Michael is adamant about thickening his soups with potato instead of flour.
The provocative "Italian Grilled Chicken Salad" is made with organic greens, free-range chicken, zucchini, mushrooms and fresh basil. A house-made balsamic vinaigrette is the right consistency – not too thin – and just thick enough that it clings to the chicken and greens.
Everything about this salad is delicate – the chicken slices are thin without a trace of gristle. Mushrooms and zucchini are sautéed in olive oil, then tossed with the salad.
Michael’s attention to detail extends from the food to the coffee. Café des Artistes serves custom roasted coffee, direct from a roaster in Escondido. The regular blend is dark-roasted Italian coffee and their decaf is a dark-roasted French blend. Their coffee is so good that people don’t mind waiting for another pot to brew.
At age 71, Michael has no plans to retire. He enjoys his restaurant and enjoys offering healthful food selections to his customers.
"Fallbrook has been very good to us," he said, "and I am very thankful."
Find Cafe´ des Artistes behind the Fallbrook Art Center at 103 South Main Ave. in Fallbrook, Calif. For further information please access the website: www.cafedesartistes.us or call (760) 728-3350.
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