Peaches Cafe in Stuyvesant Plaza, serving customers since 1982, started as an ice cream shop with sandwiches and waffles; it is now a full-service restaurant offering breakfast, lunch, and light dinners.
Desserts are a specialty. It's cozy, compact, charming, and has been full of customers every time I've stopped in.
The long front dining room has dessert cases and a lunch counter, small tables close together, a banquette and some booths. There's a smaller room in the back.
Lisa and I lingered, ogling the dessert cases chock-full of pies, cakes, tarts, individual desserts and cheesecake. We got lucky -- the small front table in the window was available. Unlike other tables, it's got quite a bit of elbow room and privacy.
The atmosphere is convivial, bustling and casual. Ladies who lunch sat near ladies who had the day off from work, some couples and small groups -- mostly women.
A friendly server brought menus in a short time and returned promptly with drinks. We could choose from omelettes and eggs, breakfast dishes, burgers, sandwiches, salads and wraps. Breakfast is served all day.
Range of choices
Sandwiches and wraps come with potato chips or cole slaw and pickle, add a bit more for fries or fresh fruit. Wraps cost about the same as sandwiches, from $8.75 for a crabmeat wrap to $12.95 for the Southwest chicken wrap. The half-pound Angus beef burger ($9.95) comes with onion, lettuce, tomato, and fries. A soup and salad or half sandwich combo is $10.50.
There's tea, coffee and a drinks menu with just enough choices each of wine, champagne cocktails, and beer.
Lisa chose the turkey avocado sandwich ($12.95), sliced roasted turkey, spinach, tomato, avocado and brie on a herb-seasoned focaccia roll. The roll was fresh, with appealing-looking bits of herbs, but the tomato made a puddle on the plate. The second half of the sandwich was better, Lisa said, as it had most of the brie on it.
The turkey was good quality, the avocado soft, and dill pickle crispy, she said. The chips were outstanding -- kettle chips, not too hard or crunchy, and very salty.
I chose the soup and salad combo ($10.50), with homemade roasted vegetable bisque. It was pleasant and light, colorful with bits of corn, carrot, red pepper, celery and other vegetables, but it needed something and salt didn't do the trick.
The salad was a mix of greens, grape tomato and sliced cucumber, with a side of balsamic dressing. I picked out some greens that were a bit past their prime and finished most of the meal. I left plenty of room for dessert.
We shared a slice of amazing caramel layer cake ($6.75) with homemade vanilla cake layers, toffee filling, real buttercream frosting, a creamy cheesecake-type layer and life-changing caramel sea salt topping.
Cake makes the day
The cake was moist, the buttercream succumbed to the warmth of my mouth, and the toffee was nutty, salty and sweet. The topping tasted like freshly made caramel sauce, right from the hot pan.
"It's like we're at a different restaurant," observed Lisa. Any quibbles about our lunches disappeared.
Peaches Cafe sources their desserts wisely, the best from each vendor or bakery. I'll remember that cake for a long time.
Our friendly server brought the check promptly, $38.62 before tax and tip.
Memo: Peaches Cafe
WHERE: Stuyvesant Plaza, 1475 Western Ave., Guilderland. 482-3677, www.peachescafe.net
WHEN: 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday to Saturday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday
HOW MUCH: $38.62 with tax and tip
MORE INFO: Credit cards: Master Card, Visa, American Express. Children's menu.