Not fast, but worth the wait

Tucked away in the Sequim Senior Activity Center is a charming little eatery with ties to the history of the pioneers who envisioned our little town.

When Greg and I drove up, I was afraid we'd be elbow to elbow with other patrons. But the crowded parking lot reflects the flurry of activities at the center. There were one or two tables still available at Cameron's Cafe.

The building may say "Senior" on the outside, but all are welcome. The atmosphere is easygoing, a comfy place. I got the feeling I could come in my jammies and slippers and no one would raise an eyebrow.

The menu size is modest, but as Spencer Tracy said of Katharine Hepburn, "What's there is cherse!"

One thing is very apparent. The Camerons truly appreciate your business and tender loving care is infused in every made-to-order dish that comes out of their kitchen.

TLC takes time. So be patient.

Our wait wasn't boring. There's a lot of history to absorb in this cozy establishment whose walls are covered with planks from an old barn and hung with a cavalcade of historical images; group photos of the Cameron clan and images frozen in time of a lifestyle that will not be seen again. Rhonda Cameron is an enthusiastic and cheery docent who enjoyed answering my many questions.

Hubby Jeff's great-grandparents moved to this area in the late 1890s and lived in a homestead on Blue Mountain Road. Jeff's grandfather was one of 13 children. Many of Jeff's ancestors attended the landmark Dungeness Schoolhouse.

I could live on soup alone and this day I began lunch with a cup of Broccoli Soup, their "soup of the day." Mmmmmm. Nectar of the gods. Served nice 'n' hot. And the cream base was just the way I like it: light, not thick.

For our main course, we could have chosen sandwiches or wraps that come full order at $8.75 or half at $5.95. Sandwiches are served with a side of coleslaw and chips.

Try their house-roasted beef sandwich with lettuce, red onion, tomato, dill pickle chips and a horseradish-cream cheese spread. Always a comfort food staple, their meatloaf sandwich is, of course, homemade.

The roasted turkey comes with cream cheese and a cranberry ginger relish. The Camerons serve a Black Forest Ham and Provolone cheese sandwich with an herb-Dijonaisse spread.

Wrap sandwich choices include Caesar, teriyaki chicken, turkey and vegetarian.

Hot sandwiches include a thinly sliced fresh roast beef French Dip, a tuna melt and a Hawaiian chicken melt with marinated teriyaki, ham, pineapple and Swiss cheese on a toasted French roll.

But first, Greg and I zeroed in on salads. Greg's Cabo Cabo Tequila featured lime-marinated chicken, bacon, diced tomato, fresh avocado, black olives and Cojita cheese, all tossed in a chipotle ranch dressing.

Go to a restaurant long enough, repeatedly tweak the ingredients, and voila, there's a dish named after you. And the namesake herself comes five days a week.

My Virginia's House Green Salad had crisp mixed greens tossed with grated carrot, sliced cucumber, diced bell pepper, celery, mushrooms, grated parmesan cheese, caramelized walnuts, topped with diced tomato and crisp purple and green cabbage. All salads are presented with pride and topped with homemade dressings. This one comes with a light orange vinaigrette.

The Asian Chicken Salad has chow mein noodles, is sprinkled with sunflower seeds and finished with a sesame-ginger vinaigrette.

I especially liked the crackers that came with the salads. Usually it's just saltines. These were yummy and topped with poppy and sesame seeds.

For his sandwich, Greg went with the Reuben. Fans of Seinfeld will note it's made with marbled rye bread, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and homemade Russian dressing. A nice touch was a side of grapes on the plate. And all sandwiches come with a tangy slaw with dried cranberries and shredded apple.

Turned out my Caprese Melt was a sophisticated grilled cheese sandwich featuring Provolone and fresh basil.

Let's not forget dessert!

Jeff makes the "most luscious cheesecake you've ever had." There's also authentic key lime pie, Cookie Jar Homemade Cookies, a chocolate chip brownie "just like at home, but with more chocolate," and vanilla bean ice cream. Give them 72 hours and they'll make you almost anything your sweet tooth desires.

Have a meeting that will take you through lunchtime? Cameron's Cafe makes box lunches that include your choice of sandwich or wrap, chips, fresh coleslaw, bottled water and homemade cookie.

They are passionate about catering. Even the presentation is a work of art; posters showcase dazzling fruit and veggie arrangements worthy of ice sculpture.

Bonus: meals to take home and freeze. A full-size entree that serves four to six is $45; a half-order is $30. Almost can't beat that!

Shelley Taylor and her husband relocated to the peninsula from California and are active in property tax reform issues. By her own admission, Taylor likes to eat.

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