Chef Chat, Part 3: Catherine Duwez of the Broken Spoke Cafe

This week Catherine Duwez of The Broken Spoke Cafe (1809 Washington Avenue) sat down for a chat with Eating Our Words and let us sample some of her favorite dishes.

It was non-negotiable that we try the mussels. The curried version, with its golden hue, was not only a visual treat - it tasted divine. The mussels themselves were plump, moist and obviously very, very fresh. The curry sauce enhanced the flavor without overpowering the fresh brininess that one expects from a good mussel. Though we really wanted to consume the whole plate, we knew we had to save room to sample more than one dish.

The pomme frites were perfection. Steaming hot, golden brown, decidedly crispy outside with a nice moist potato-y inside. With the homemade mayonnaise to dunk them in, they were irresistible. Catherine had to gently pry the empty bowl from our death grip. Next came a taste of her favorite dish: meatloaf, red cabbage with apples, and potato croquettes. The meatloaf was moist, herby, and decadent, just the way you wish your Mom would have made it. The potato croquettes were crispy on the outside, yet soft and cheesy within. It was hard to convince ourselves to wait for them to cool before we dove in. And the cabbage? Definitely the stuff of nostalgic memories. The ruby-red color was visually appealing and the sweetness from the apples ensured this food has a permanent place in the comfort food hall of fame.

After a brief discussion of what constitutes a true Belgian dessert, Catherine returned with a dish of freshly made profiteroles. Everything in it was made that day: the pastry dough, the choux paste, the bittersweet Belgian chocolate sauce. We remorselessly devoured it.

For someone unfamiliar with the delights of Belgian cuisine, this is definitely the perfect place to remedy that situation. Not only is the food top-notch, but Catherine's warm demeanor will make you feel like you have been adopted by a Belgian exchange family. And with winter weather looming ahead, this is the perfect time to indulge in a little comfort food, Brussels-style.

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