Casual dining

Cuff: About damn time!

So several months ago, Tyler recommended this cool little place in Old Town Glendale that we absolutely had to go to because they had a good looking charcuterie board and as you may or may not know; I’m a total cheese whore.  Well, I promptly went there on a date with Floyd since it was during that early honeymoon stage of a relationship that destroys all bonds between friends… even those involving our sacred cheese rituals.  I held back from ordering the charcuterie since I do have some semblance of loyalty… plus it’s $14… and I might have felt it was too early in the relationship for Floyd to really understand how much I love artisan meats and cheeses.  I didn’t want to come on too strong, ya know?

Cuff: Downtown Glendale’s New American Eatery


Overall Impression

Cuff is still very new, and has a lot to learn and improve on.  I have and will go back for lunch and drinks, but as the west side continues to get more craft dining choices they will absolutely have to step up their game in order to compete.


 

Bill:
Charcuterie Board
Bottle of Red Wine
Eggplant Parmesan Sandwich
~$60 after tip

Other things eaten here:
Cuff Burger
Pork Shoulder Sandwich

Drinks

Now, unfortunately I have not yet had the pleasure of trying any of Cuff’s mixed drinks for myself.  This is due to the fact that I have both a reputation and a bank account to uphold… though honestly I don’t know who I’m trying to fool.  Myself mostly?  Instead I’ll go ahead and take a look-see at Cuff’s cocktail menu which is a pretty early indicator of whether they are actually going to be good or not.  Right off the bat, the liquor selection is good.  Every brand is recognizable for good reasons and there are a few locally produced spirits thrown in, which is always nice for me to see since I’m kind of pretty invested in that exact thing.  We also see a fig infusion and a citrus infused vodka… I like this for two reasons: first, it means they are actually paying attention to the bar.  It’s easy enough for a bar or restaurant to hire outside help with a menu, but doing house infusions is a great indicator that whoever is behind the bar is really vested and passionate about what they do.  It also means that there is a certain amount of creativity to be expected.  If you say you have a house infused citrus vodka, by golly it better have some serious character or else I’m going to be disappointed.  The fig definitely going to provoke interest.  Me being the type of drinker I am, I would almost certainly want to try it straight so it needs to have the depth and character to stand on it’s own, but it could also make very provocative and interesting cocktails.  In that regard I find it mildly disappointing that they chose to showcase that in a Moscow Mule variation.  Any nuances in this drink will inevitably be completely overwhelmed by the other components.  I’m sure it’s a good drink, the recipe seems sound, but I would love to see this spirit showcased a little bit more. Overall I would be very excited to work my way through this particular cocktail list.  They appear to have a firm grasp on classic cocktails and how to play with them and make them your own which is something the west side is in desperate need of.

As for the wine Tyler and I split, it was an Arizona made Red Blend called ‘Provisoner’.  I would like to lead with the fact that I did absolutely enjoy the wine.  It wasn’t too dry or too pronounced, so it didn’t overwhelm the palette.  That said, it had a general sense of ‘uninspiring’ to it.  I’ve heard it oft repeated from Californians and locals alike that Arizona wine is simply not good.  Unfortunately I think this wine might fall into that category.  It wasn’t bad wine! …Not that I’ve had very many truly bad wines, ones so awful I really couldn’t even drink them.  But it wasn’t really a good wine either.  I didn’t find that it particularly complemented anything we ate and it certainly didn’t stand on it’s own.  Also, fun fact about myself: if I start drinking at noon, I’m not really going to want to stop so maybe I should think twice before drinking half a bottle of wine with lunch.

Food

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Cheese. Whore.  If I spent a year only eating Charcuterie (Char-cute-rie is how I’ve now figured out how to spell it!) I would be both wasting away and incredibly happy.  What would make me happier though is if people made more of a habit of writing down what was on their particular board that day so that I didn’t have to guess or try to remember what the waiter said.  Oh well! This board was especially well presented in my opinion.  I know cheese boards are always supposed to look so pretty, but something about this one really gets to me… I think it’s the angles on the cheese and the bread and that salami in the back versus the roundness of the board and the olive cup.  In the back we had some spicy meat cubes which were really quite good, though cubed is not exactly the easiest shape to work with some cheeses.  The salami that makes such a nice fan was tasty but uninspiring.  I feel like the proverbial ‘they’ are leaving this bland salami in every board in an attempt to cater to the person at the table who would be just as happy having fries and ketchup as their appetizer… but like… pretty good fries?  Front and foremost we have a prosciutto, which some of my readers may know, I am also a total whore for.  Next up are dried cranberries which I’m delighted to see replacing grapes in the general populace.  Grapes should be made into wine, not raisins! It’s important to take a stand for what you believe in. Next up is some pita bread which is best noted for its ability to be warm and hold other things, which quite frankly, is great.  It’s like the rebound boyfriend of the food world. Around the back we have some provolone which is fine, but its also just… fine.  I didn’t notice any particularly exciting characteristics about it which means it was the perfect pairing with the uninspiring salami and the pita bread for ‘french fry guy’.  Tucked behind that is God’s gift to my mouth: dick Goat cheese.  I just love goat cheese.  Plain? Great! Blueberry? Get at that! Cranberry? I’ll kill you for more! I love it.  So I guess what I’m saying is it might not be the rest of the board that was sad, I just really really love the goat cheese + cranberry + prosciutto combination and honestly there really isn’t much of a reason for them to put other things on my plate.

Tyler and I opted to split an Eggplant Parmesan sandwich on this trip and I am sorry, but I just don’t know why I keep doing this to myself.  It’s not that it was a bad sandwich, but I wanted the one from my favorite Italian deli and I’m just not sure anyone else can measure up.  The bread was very soft though which is a huge selling point for me, since hard breads usually mean I’ll be having jaw problems for a week.  The french fries were mildly disappointing to me, but not because they weren’t good.  I think they were very well made french fries, but the description of them was ‘Cajun fries’ and when one advertises Cajun, I expect what follows to actually taste Cajun.  These ones tasted like any other seasoned fries really.

On previous occasions I had had the burger which I wasn’t too thrilled about but then again I’m not actually into burgers so I’m never going to be that thrilled.  Tyler did really enjoy it however on her trip.  I think it would fall into the category of “very well made classic burger”.

Prior to that trip (and when I went with Floyd) I got the Pork Shoulder Sandwich and absolutely loved it.  The waitress was kind enough to offer me the less spicy barbecue sauce, which I greatly appreciated.  The sauce was tangy, the bread was soft, the pork was tender and I was a huge mess.  This is probably by far the most impressive item I have tried on the menu as of yet.  Unfortunately I tried this about five months ago and I seem to have lost my adjectives in the intervening time so you’ll just have to try it yourself and figure out your own adjectives.  They wont be as good as mine though.  I have the best adjectives.

Ambiance

Cuff has sort of an ‘upscale cafe’ vibe that I’m a little bit in love with.  I could picture having dates here, working lunches, family gatherings.  Honestly I think they capture it pretty well in the name “New American Eatery”.  There’s no time where this vibe isn’t appropriate (loosely speaking…  There are almost certainly lots of times when it’s inappropriate).  I have been viciously eyeballing the quaint looking patio in the back and greatly look forward to eating cheese on it one of these days.  It’s just so green, ya know? What with the vines and the cute patio furniture… I’m highly addicted to a nice patio.  The service here has always been just good enough in my opinion.  My needs are always met and then we are promptly left alone for exactly as long as is appropriate… for the west side I would consider this good service though if Cuff were located downtown I think they might have some problems.  In a craft place like this there is a certain clientele that is going to show up: locals on lunch break or people looking for craft.  Now people looking for craft always want a little pizzazz in their service, since we’re dining for the experience, not really because we need food to keep us alive.  Locals on lunch break are also great targets for a little bit more personality in service since keeping good ol’ John from across the street coming back twice a week is going to be good for business and also for your tips, since John thinks you’re a stellar person and wants you to be able to buy a nice birthday present for your mom.  Basically, I can see that the servers and bartenders here have a lot of personality and I would love to see it shine through in their routine service.


General Information

– Happy Hour all day Monday – Happy Hour 3-6 Tue thru Fri – 10 Wines –
– Rotating Draft and cider selection – Daily Specials-

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