Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Get Out

The sun came out yesterday, the air was balmy, and I was at one of those rare moments of pause in my work day- just finished one assignment and not yet into the next project. That’s all the excuse I needed to escape from my desk. So I called a friend, who like me is her own boss and has an office in her home, and we went to Flying Cranes on Larchmere Boulevard near Shaker Square.

The garden out back, bigger and with more seating than the café itself, is an absolutely unique and charming outdoor dining spot. This time of year peonies, roses, and geraniums are in bloom and wisteria vines creep across a wooden lattice to create a leafy green arbor. The beds are filled with colorful annuals, herbs, and vegetable starts. The place has a homey, spontaneous, informal look that I just adore. And no wonder- the café’s owners Kayoko Irie-Frye and her husband Bill live in the apartment upstairs and this is actually their own lovingly tended backyard, which they are happy to share with customers. They’ve outfitted the space with an eclectic mix of tables and comfy chairs, and enclosed the whole urban oasis behind a tall wooden fence that makes it feel special and secret. To get in, you have to walk down an unmarked alley to the left of the front door and through a gate. But go inside first and place your order at the counter.

Kayoko’s food- a mix of Japanese and light American fare- is just as appealing and very reasonable. For $22.09 plus tip, we had two bowls of the wonderful roasted garlic and onion soup of the day, a salad speckled with tofu cubes and hard boiled eggs in housemade ginger dressing, and a panini made with fresh mozzarella, ham, pesto, and tomatoes. Other regular options include rice and noodle bowls, quiches, sandwiches, teriyaki, and a katsu- a fried pork cutlet. Flying Cranes opens at 10 AM for breakfast and Sunday brunch, and does dinners Wednesday and Thursday until 7 PM, and Friday and Saturday until 8 PM. You can also come just for tea or coffee, pastries, and ice cream. (no website, 216-795-1033)

My lunch break lasted longer than expected. The garden was so pleasant that we sat and soaked up the season for two hours. It was without question time well spent.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There is another taste treat hiding at Flying Cranes - their homemade lemon squares. If you spy them in the bakery case - by all means give yourself a treat. They are amazing.