Of course that wasn’t the fault of the rhubarb, but of the friend (no longer) who gave it to me. Care must be taken with this leafy, fibrous vegetable. I love Brussels Sprouts, but would never think to give anyone (I like) any raw ones. (And also I’d never think to try to turn some into a dessert.)
Now, I am a crisp girl. I LOVE crisps. The crispier the better. A couple of times a year I buy a Marie Callender frozen apple cobbler at the grocery store. I bake it just long enough so all the frozen apples unfreeze. And then I promptly scoop 95 percent of them into the trashcan, sprinkle the cobbler bits on top of the apple-y gooey-ness that remains and pop it back into the oven. This gives me an apple cobbler with what I deem to be the proper fruit:crisp ratio. Just so you understand my definition of a good fruit crisp. (FYI, I do not know if there is a technical different between a cobbler and crisp; I use the two terms interchangeably.)
Calico’s rhubarb crisp has my kind of fruit:crisp ratio. Plunk a single scoop of wonderfully plain vanilla ice cream on top—as Calico does—and it’s one of the best crisps I’ve ever had. The crisp chunks are not only plentiful, but also possessing that magical balance of crunch and soft. The crisp bits on top bite back, in a good way. Those crumble clumps nearer the scoop of ice cream soak up the ice cream as it melts until they reach a point of perfect sticky softness.
But it gets even better. And I’m not talking about how pleasant it is to eat anything out on Calico’s expansive deck.
Calico grows its own rhubarb. And that’s very often the rhubarb used to make its crisp. Before sitting down to eat, make sure to wander behind the restaurant and into Calico’s astoundingly neat garden. I didn’t see a seed out of place. I did see bunches and bunches of healthy and happy rhubarb