Time out: Two Cooks keep it simple

By From page B4 | August 30, 2013

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NINA VAN SICKLE, seated, and Paula Flint are the cooks at Two Cooks on Main and are ready to serve lunch seven days a week. Democrat photo by Krysten Kellum

Restaurant: Two Cooks On Main

Address: 374 Main St. in Placerville

Phone: 530-626-6546

Hours: Monday through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays

If there’s one thing I don’t care for when it comes to restaurants, it is a fancy, overcrowded and schizophrenic menu. Know who you are, who you’re catering to, and by any means necessary keep it simple. Life is too short to spend half of a lunch hour trying to decipher a 17 page menu with 989 variations of basically the same thing. Right?

The fairly new eatery called Two Cooks On Main is one of those places that knows not only what it wants to be but the needs of their clientele, as well.

I heard about this place from two trustworthy sources: a family friend that works in downtown Placerville located very close to Two Cooks On Main is located and a co-worker who now swears by the Chinese chicken salad.

The menu is, as I alluded to above, very simple, but varied enough to satisfy a picky lunch crowd and consists of basically four categories.

They are “Scrumptious Salads,” “Savory Soups,” “Signature Sandwiches” and “Simpler Sandwiches.”

I should tell you though that the owners are working on their soup recipes and they will be ready to go this fall — most likely sometime in September.

There’s nothing more comfortable on a chilly fall afternoon than a steaming bowl of tasty, homemade soup, and I have been assured it will most certainly be worth the wait. Today it feels like 130 degrees outside, so even if the soups were ready to go I’m afraid I’d have to take a pass.

I had one of the “Scrumptious Salads” — the afore-mentioned Chinese chicken salad, and my guest ordered the cranberry turkey from the “Signature Sandwiches” portion of the menu. The turkey sandwich features the two cooks’ own tart and sweet homemade cranberry relish on top of a generous pile of turkey breast served with greenleaf on squaw bread.

I’m not afraid to tell you here and now that even though I’d heard of  squaw bread I had never, ever bothered to find out how it was made. So I asked and was informed that it is really a slightly sweet bread that either uses molasses or brown sugar in the recipe that results in the wonderful dark brown color it’s known for.

My salad was great. A heaping (really) mound of fresh diced cabbage with scallions, almonds, sesame seeds and crispy noodles, with lots of chopped chicken breast all tossed in a seasoned rice wine vinegar dressing. The different textures were wonderful and the portion was more than I could finish in one setting, although believe me when I tell you I gave it my best.

Each salad ordered comes complete with a sliced baguette. Well, not a whole baguette, that would be ridiculous.

Other salads worth mentioning are the classic Caesar that comes with amazing homemade seasoned croutons and the Mediterranean (romaine, feta cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, capers, black olives and whole roasted garlic cloves tossed in an aged balsamic vinaigrette).

It should also be noted that each salad can be ordered as a small salad combo with one of the simpler sandwiches, something I found out about too late this time.

For you healthy eaters out there, well, there’s a sandwich for you, too. It’s called the olivida and it’s made with a delectable black olive tapinade, cream cheese, spinach, tomato and red onion, and I have heard that it’s incredibly tasty. Next time.

Two Cooks On Main is conveniently located at 374 Main St. in Placerville and the phone number is 530-626-6546. It is open Monday through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Seating is very limited, so get there early or plan on taking your lunch to go.

Earle Camembert

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