Cocoa Cafe- Cocoa-3.5-Stars
"You have to be able to adjust on the fly, and that is what the great ones do." -- A. Ward
As I read the name of my next location to be reviewed, the generically named Cocoa Cafe in, believe it or not, the city of Cocoa, I couldn't help but hope the culinary crew was a tad more creative than the marketing people or this could turn out to be a real horror show. The closer I got to my destination the more I realized I was entering into the middle of a neighborhood within Cocoa in the throes of abject poverty. Fighting the urge to lock my doors (I refuse to be that guy in my home state), I turned into their desolate parking lot.
Snuggled into this strip mall in the center of the aforementioned 'hood is a tiny 25 seat cafe known as Cocoa Cafe. The interior was tidy, quaint and as barren as the auto stable outside (I was literally the only patron in the place). I was quickly approached by a girl who introduced herself as Jenny and let me know she would be my waitress for the meal.
Perusing the menu, Jenny eloquently handed me, I decided on one order of the Smoked Sausage Special with a biscuit and home fries on the side along with an Egg Salad Sandwich. Jenny was exceedingly charming as she took down the order, however, she seemed a bit hesitant as she answered my questions regarding the menu and the selections offered therein. Chalking it up to putting her out of sorts so to speak as I am sure she doesn't get many such questions, I watched her head off to the kitchen, meal ticket at the ready.
Checking my timepiece as I was still the sole non-employee inside, I did a double take as I noticed 14 minutes had passed since Jenny went to drop my ticket. While that is not overly long, it seemed a tad much for what I had requested they shuffle together for me. It wasn't much longer after that that I noticed Jenny returning with a tray laden with steaming food fresh from the kitchen.
First up to the Big Boy's perceptive palate was the Smoked Sausage Special. I found the sausage to be smokey, complex, cooked to perfection and of excellent quality. It was an eating experience my taste buds earnestly enjoyed. The home fries, my second favorite breakfast side after bacon and fresh biscuits, OK my third favorite, while being slightly on the overdone side of the cooking scale, were hand cut, hand seasoned and popped on the palate. My eggs were faultlessly cooked to a perfect over medium and tasted so fresh I half expected to hear a clucking sound as they went down my gullet. Sadly, this brings us to the biscuit, Any Southerner worth their salt knows a fresh biscuit from a cooked from frozen one and this was the latter without a doubt. The biscuit was the only low point of the first selection and as I turned my attention towards the Egg Salad.
After one bite of my sandwich, I knew I was in the presence of a cook that took pride in creating their meals for the love of serving good food to the public and nothing else. This was an above average Egg Salad better. Holding this conglomeration of hard-boiled eggs, mayonnaise and just the right amount of seasoning and flavor back from being extraordinary were two things. First and foremost it was served on plain white bread. Secondly, while the sliced tomato tasted farm fresh as did the lettuce, the lettuce was our lowly ever popular el cheapo Iceberg. Look, I get it. I know exactly where I am and where I am not dining for this meal. However, for starters, if I may be so bold as to suggest slight tasty improvements on both the bread and lettuce offered for the sandwiches. Sourdough and green leaf go a long way to upping your food game. And for the love of your favorite Southern Grandma/Aunt/Mother stop with the frozen biscuits and make 'em the way our ancestors did...from scratch! Now, let me also be the first to say that if they were indeed made fresh, by all means, change recipes as these fell flat on the taste buds, like so many previously frozen Sysco hockey pucks. As I said, just a few tweaks and "voila!" a Hidden Gem in the making!
The Big Boy says, "When in Cocoa and hunkering for a decent meal cooked with love and served with charm, you would be wise to make a beeline for the Cocoa Cafe." #bigboydiningout #iamthebigboy