For the last two semesters, I have organized Pipe Dream’s Restaurant Week issue as Arts & Culture Editor by contacting participating restaurants, scheduling writers and photographers to review each place and overseeing the production of the issue. Both times, I was too stressed by the task to partake in Restaurant Week myself. But now, a senior and going into my third Restaurant Week as an editor, I decided to change that. And better yet, I did it with Lost Dog Cafe & Lounge.
I will admit, I already love Lost Dog Cafe & Lounge. It was the first restaurant I reviewed as a mere sophomore interning with Pipe Dream two years ago. I have fond memories of going there and trying a little bit of everything on the Restaurant Week menu. I did start that article by stating that “If Lost Dog [Cafe & Lounge] was good enough for [Drake Bell], it was good enough for me,” which is a sentiment that aged poorly. But that doesn’t take away from how amazing Lost Dog Cafe & Lounge is, from the food to the atmosphere and the wonderfully warm hospitality of the staff. To make it better, I went to the restaurant on Oct. 1 and was greeted by some waiters dressed in costumes and some Halloween decorations already up for the beginning of spooky season. The atmosphere and coziness of the space made the meal so much more enjoyable.
For this fall’s Restaurant Week, Lost Dog & Lounge offered lunch for a fixed price at $12 and dinner for $20. Both menus offered three-course meals, including an appetizer, a main course and a dessert. This year, I went to Lost Dog Cafe & Lounge with our photographer and my housemate, Michael, and my other housemate, Jake. Between the three of us, we were able to sample almost every item on their lunch menu, which included four options for appetizers, four options for main courses and two options for dessert.
For our first course, I chose the Dog House Salad, which included heritage greens, roasted tomatoes, garbanzo beans and a selection of dressings. I chose the tangy honey mustard dressing, which went really well with the greens. Seeing the word “tangy,” I expected a slightly sour dressing, but it was honestly sweet, which I preferred. It was also the right portion where it satisfied my hunger but left enough room for the next course. I paired this with a glass of the house cabernet, which I highly recommend doing if you are of drinking age. The cabernet was more on the sweet side and paired nicely with the salad.
Michael got the autumn roasted butternut squash soup, made with coconut milk. Michael said it was very creamy and “screams fall.” It was a very pretty orange color with a swirl of cream on top that instantly melted into the squash soup. Jake tried the ginger chicken soup served with jasmine rice at the bottom. The soup had a clear base and, according to Jake, you could really taste the ginger in it. It looked like there was turmeric in it, which added a nice warmth to it. I’d suggest this if you’re recovering from a cold and want a comforting soup. Jake paired this with a pint of Lost Dog IPA, which he said reminded him of the sugary cereals he ate as a kid.
Now, it’s time for the main courses. I decided to try the harvest roasted turkey wrap. This wrap was made with romaine lettuce, scallion and craisin cream cheese and herb-roasted turkey. You could choose a side of mixed greens or fries, or mac and cheese for an extra dollar. I am begging you, please choose the mac and cheese. The extra dollar is so worth it. The creamy cheese melts in your mouth right alongside the pasta. The warmth of it also worked really well with the cold wrap. As for the wrap itself, I found the mix of ingredients to work really well with each other. The scallion and craisin cream cheese made it unlike any wrap I’ve ever had before. While it was tasty, I did think it overpowered the turkey. For something like that, less could be more.
Michael ordered the cheese tortellini with chicken. The tortellini was made with spinach pesto, which gave the dish a nice green and orange palette. Very earthy. Once again, Michael said this dish was perfect for the fall and that the cheese on top of it worked well with the pesto. He did say the sauce was on the oily side, but this makes sense for a pesto. Jake had Lost Dog Cafe & Lounge’s most famous dish — the rigatoni ala vodka. The consistency, as always, was perfect and creamy. Jake compared the pasta to the nostalgia of a Sunday dinner with his family.
Last but not least is the desserts. Lost Dog Cafe & Lounge offered two sweets — pumpkin ice cream and a double chocolate chip cookie. I had the cookie, since I was in the mood for warm chocolate, while Jake and Michael got the pumpkin ice cream. The cookie was perfect, with the chocolate chips melted just the way I like it, and the dough had a satisfying crumble. It was very rich so I couldn’t finish it after that amazing turkey wrap, but it made for an even better surprise later in the night as a leftover. As for the pumpkin ice cream, Michael and Jake said it was refreshing after such creamy pasta dishes. Michael’s only complaint was that the apple cider sauce it was topped with was a little too sweet. Jake agreed, saying it tasted like the sweetest maple syrup he’s ever had. Either way, they devoured every scoop.
Lost Dog Cafe & Lounge is known for its comfort, present in the atmosphere and even more so in the food. Especially in the beginning of fall, Lost Dog Cafe & Lounge has some of the more pleasurable and heartwarming dishes out there. With harvested items and seasonal foods, it’s the right place to go to get into the colder weather. If you’re looking for fall vibes, this is your place.