Not many people know about Purdue Cal's restaurant in the White Hospitality Pavillon at the Hammond campus, which is open to the public for lunch and dinner on Wednesday. But that's kind of a good thing because the place is invariably sold out.
I was lucky enough to get an invitation to last night's dinner, which was a Spanish-themed had six courses plus wine-pairing and/or a surpisingly good line-up of craft beers.
By way of explanation the manager for the evening was Whitney Rendell and the Supervisor Angela Mansch. Purdue Cal is not a cooking school, but definitely a restaurant management program. Fortunately the food and the service are both good. We started with Olive Tapenade on Pita, the best part was the drizzle of roasted red pepper sauce, giving off just a little heat in a couple of bites. Followed by a cup of Spanish-style white bean and sausage soup, with very high-quality andouille and a cucumber salad in an edible parmesan bowl. (I didn't eat it all, but it was a great device for working cheese into the menu.).
The wines---Ontanon Vetiver Blanco "composed of 100% Virua, a grape indigenous to Rioja, but known in other parts of Spain as Macabeo," and Campo Viejo Garnacha described as bright and lively with red fruit and floral notes, as well as spices and toast---were white and red, though I didn't taste them. I opted instead for one of four Three Floyds beers called Robert the Bruce, definitely tasty. (Purdue also serves Alpha King, Gumballhead and Pride & Joy.
There were basically two entrees: a gigantic plate of beef tenderloin, chicken breast with garlic white wine reduction, race pilaf and sauteed green beans with grape tomatoes or vegetable paella with artichokes, bell peppers, mushrooms and olives cooked with saffron nutty brown rice.
The finale was a very solid, flavorful cup of decaf coffee and a platter full of almond cake, cinnamon cake on top of raspberry coulis, chocolate sauce, whipped cream and a sugar candy garnish.
Perhaps not the best way to start dieting but that may have to wait until after Halloween anyway.