I’m not a big dessert guy. I’d rather waste my calories on a good pizza any day of the week. So it takes a lot for a dessert to impress me.
But if you don’t like this dessert, you just don’t like food. It comes from a place called Ramos House Cafe, a tiny wooden outpost hidden behind railroad tracks in the historic coastal town of San Juan Capistrano. Ramos House is actually a house, since the owner, John Q. Humphries, lives there.
The restuarant serves breakfast and lunch, and the cuisine has a slightly southern edge to it. You’ll find crumbly biscuits with apple butter, apple cinnamon beignets and a spicy, complex beef stew with truffled tater tots and blue cheese. But these items, fine as they are, serve as a mere distraction from the mighty shortcake. The entrees are the appetizers. The dessert is the main course.
As soon as you order the shortcake, you’ll begin to hear the high-pitched whirr of the food processor churning the homemade whipped cream. Great food is usually a combination of several opposing flavors that the chef skillfully orchestrates into a symphonic whole. This dessert is the epitome of that concept. The tart of the strawberries plays off the smokiness of the carmelized banana, while the buttery crunch of the shortcake provides a counterpoint to the velvety smoothness of the cream. It may be the single best dessert I’ve ever had.
If you’ve read this blog, you’ve heard me rant against the evils of sugar. All that stuff is absolutely true. But if you’re going to go down, make it worthwhile. Go big.
Ramos House Cafe San Juan Capistrano, CA