If you're looking for something a little different for lunch in Ames, Iowa, stop in at Cafe Beaudelaire. Located on Lincoln Way in the middle of Campustown, Cafe Beaudelaire features international fare in a cozy atmosphere.
Owner Claudio Gianello opened Cafe Beaudelaire in 1990 and the slogan "The soul of Brasil in the Heart of Iowa" soon came to describe his restaurant. The menu features a variety of specialty dishes including gyros, empanadas, salads, soups, and several interesting entrees. They also serve breakfast on Sundays. You'll find some vegetarian menu items and a couple of burgers with a twist on the usual toppings.
There is also a full bar at Cafe Beaudelaire. They feature a beer of the month and have a great cocktail menu. Their signature Long Island Iced Tea is always popular.
For lunch I decided to try the Beirut - grilled pita bread with muenster and mozzarella cheese, marinated chicken breast, fresh oregano, cilantro mayo and lettuce, all topped off with a fried egg. I added an order of the brasilian fries - seriously, the fries were exceptional and served with mayo, my favorite condiment! My sandwich was exploding with flavor - a nice crunchy pita with big bites of juicy chicken, and the egg really made the sandwich.
Grant had the Feijoada Simple - black beans stewed with sauteed onions, tomatoes, bell peppers and garlic, with basmati rice, collard greens, grilled pork tenderloin, chorizo, sirloin, and smoked bacon. It was topped with farofa (ground roasted cassava), boiled egg and brasilian salsa. Definitely a unique taste.
Our server, Zulsi, was friendly and fun. She was willing to answer all of our questions about the menu and the history of the restaurant. Such a treat to have such excellent service.
After lunch I took a peek at the drinks menu and was excited to see that Cafe Beaudelaire serves caipirinhas! A classic Brasilian cocktail, I've never had one and decided I should remedy that, pronto.
Caipirinhas are made with Cachaca, a national product of Brasil. Cachaca is made from fresh sugar cane juice that is fermented and distilled. A traditional caipirinha is made with Cachaca, sugar and crushed limes, served over ice. It's quite refreshing.
Once I finished my caipirinha, I knew I needed to find some Chacaca to be able to make these wonderful drinks on my patio. Zulsi was kind enough to lead me in the direction of AJ's Market, a nice little Mexican tienda tucked in a parking lot just behind Cafe Beaudelaire off of Welch Avenue. Thanks, Zulsi!
Great South American food, fabulous cocktails and excellent service - we found it all at Cafe Beaudelaire. Should you find yourself in Ames, Iowa, don't hesitate to stop in. And order the fries - I mean it.
2504 Lincoln Way
Ames, IA 50010
Hours, menus and more information at www.cafebeaudelaire.com