Chew On It
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By Andrew Kochirka GoErie.com staff blogger
Food has been an integral part of Andrew's life from a young age; from cooking with his mother and grandmother to creating recipes in his own kitchen. Now he scours the area's non-chain restaurant scene to find the best of the best of local food from chicken wings to French cuisine.   Read more about this blog.
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Summer House Café

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Jack and Stephanie, of the Summer House Café located at 2605 Washington Ave., own a truly special establishment that Erie is lucky to have. This fantastic restaurant serves up incredible meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but this week, I was there for the sweet stuff. There are a few desserts that tend to have a place on the menu regularly, but their pastry chef, Lesley Cooksey, loves to come up with something special whenever she can. I stopped by the restaurant to pick up four slices of different cakes and pies to bring home. After catching a glimpse of the desserts in the bag, it was tough to stop myself from digging in.

I was so excited to get started with the tasting, I didn’t give myself any time to let my dinner settle before opening up the containers. Amanda and I started with the apple pie, and I am glad we did. This was one of the best slices of apple pie that we have had yet. The filling had refreshingly crisp apples that were slightly tart and flavored with just the right amount of cinnamon. The pie held its shape and had a wonderfully flaky crust as the base. The crumb topping was buttery and complimented the apples perfectly. Just to add a little extra punch, there was a drizzle of light caramel sauce over the slice that added another dimension of decadence to the pie.

Secondly, we tried the less traditional peppermint patty cake. The dense chocolate cake had a consistency close to a brownie but with the mouth feel of a cake. Topping the cake was a sinful chocolate ganache and a piece of chocolate peppermint bark. The slice of cake was sitting in a small pool of delightful peppermint cream. Judging solely on looks, I would have guessed this cake to be very sweet and supremely rich, but I was proven wrong. The balance of the peppermint and chocolate was perfect, not too overpowering in any sense. The chocolate melted in my mouth and, when combined with the creamy peppermint, it created the perfect holiday dessert- it was like eating a little slice of Christmas.

The dessert that I was really looking forward to trying was the lemon crumble cheesecake. This velvety and decadent, creamy cake was truly a wonderful dessert. The graham cracker crust held together beautifully without being crunchy and overcooked. The filling had a refreshing lemony tang to it and was topped with a basic, yet delicious crumb topping. In addition to the crumble, a light ginger anglaise was drizzled over the whole slice. If you’re not familiar with it, an anglaise is a simple cream made from sugar, egg yolk, milk, and whatever other flavoring is desired. The ginger was subtle and at the same time added a layer of spiciness that elevated the luscious lemon flavor. It was a fun twist on an already spectacular dessert.

Last, but not least, was the peanut butter pie. This is a dessert that I would gladly fight someone for. The pie is over three inches high and covered in a chocolate syrup drizzle. The peanut butter filling is ridiculously smooth from start to finish and isn’t crazy sweet. It is the ideal way to satisfy that after-dinner sweet tooth, especially when paired with a piping hot cup of coffee. There isn’t much else to say about this pie other than it really is unbelievable how good it is. The size of the slice combined with the richness of the filling makes it just right for two people to share.

Thank you to all the staff at the Summer House Café. I always feel welcome there and am never disappointed with the food or the service. Please, if you have never been there, go try it out. I have little doubt that it will become one of your favorite places in Erie like it is for Amanda and me.

Their hours are Sunday through Wednesday, 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; Thursday, 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Their phone number for reservations or information is 814-452-2500. They are also BYOB so remember that if you would like to bring some adult beverages to enjoy with your meal.

Keep sending me your recommendations for cakes and pies to akochirka@goerie.com or to the Beard Vs. Food Facebook.  Remember to come back and vote as well.

Until next time,

Andrew — Beard vs. Food

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Read more of Andrew's thoughts about Cake and Pie
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