Photo by Jillian Butolph
Lemon meringue cake: a unifying force.
Let us not fall into the factions and false dichotomy of pie vs. cake. Really, given the fact that Boston cream pie is really cake and cheesecake — with its graham cracker crust — is more of a pie, are we not already living in a post pie-vs.-cake society? (Drag me in the comments if you want. I said what I said.)
Open your mind and embrace the dessert-fluid lemon meringue cake at Cafe Brio (791 G St., Arcata). Somewhere in the cumulus cloud of toasted Swiss meringue — a creamier and less foamy version of the mile-high stuff of diner pies, reminiscent of a well-browned marshmallow — are layers of surprisingly dense lemon chiffon cake with lemon syrup, caramel and lemon cream. The 4-inch cake ($14) goes further than you might think, serving at least four reasonable people or one person with an enviably open schedule for the rest of the day, while the tall 6-inch cake serves eight ($30).
And once you are made instantly happy by eating this cake, reaching, in your joy, across the pie/cake divide, we can all unite to reclaim pudding and gelatin, restoring them to their rightful glory. That's right. I said what I said.