Broder – 07/21/13

4stars

Broder
503.736.3333
2508 SE Clinton St.
Portland, 97202

Ham Scramble Bacon Scramble

Scandinavian Surprise

Many times Broder had come up on our todo list and seeing as how we’d never been to the fabled Clinton district this trip seemed like as good as any to venture into the bicycle district. The restaurant is located on one corner of an oddly shaped intersection and aside from a theater and small antiques shop there wasn’t a lot to look at while waiting for a table to open up at the narrow Broder. Eventually (probably about 40 minutes later) we were summoned into the restaurant by guy in skinny jeans trendy pumas and a hipster stache who seated us up front by the window which looks down both the length of the bar and the long row of tiny tables that that runs parallel to it. The menu had quite a few tasty options on it and being Scandinavian there were also many options that included a variety of fish and umlauts. The special recommended by our server was a trout hash and normally I would have gone with it but Carly had selected a bacon scramble and I was really in the mood for some pork product as well, so I elected to get the ham scramble with a side of pea salad. While we waited we sipped our coffee & tea and rubber necked at their large selection of liquors lining the back wall of the bar. The tenders were also creating a large number of colorful drinks that we attempted to name as they slid out from behind the bar. When our meals arrived I was pleased to see how nicely they were presented on small rectangular platters with recessed pockets to hold the cast iron square skillets that the egg scrambles were baked in. My pea salad topped with blue cheese was quite decent even if there was not a large volume of ham mixed in while the egg scramble was basically a ham & asparagus quiche without the crust and while tasty I think Carly’s version with broccoli and bacon had a better salty flavor. The sizes of the meals was perfect and we both left feeling very satisfied and filled, I do wish I had gotten the trout hash as I saw quite a few other orders being set down nearby but perhaps that will be in a future visit.

GALLERY

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SERVICE
They were very busy with little elbow room but my coffee was as full as I needed it to be.
3 stars

AMBIANCE / DESIGN
A sliver of a space with one long row of tiny tables opposite the kitchen.
3 stars

MEAL
Perfect size and decent flavor
3-5 stars

Raven & Rose – 7/14/13

3-5stars

Raven & Rose
503.222.7673
1331 SW Broadway
Portland, 97201

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Inside the Ladd Carriage house…

I had read another writeup on the Raven and Rose online and was excited to find a location that had only been around for a few months since bragging rights amongst our friends for discovering a new brunch spot are the ultimate goal with these outings. So rarely have we been able to say “have you been to?” knowing full well that the person we are asking couldn’t have possibly been since it only opened recently. Carly’s mom Nancy was in town this week so she was able to travel with us to the refurbished Ladd Carriage house which is now known as the Raven & Rose located just next to a church on Broadway in the middle of downtown. We pulled up parked in front and were seated at a table all inside of 45 seconds a new record and the restaurant was pretty busy with probably about half the tables filled and the bat had some decent traffic at it as well. I immediately took note of the cool gas lights over the three tables at the front which are across from the elevator they were using to hold baby carriages. It looked like quite alot of thought had gone into almost every aspect of the restaurant from the nicely designed menus to the tile work around the table legs it certainly didn’t feel like it had only been open for the 7 months the waiter told us. The menu held quite a few exotic sounding meals and beverages on it but as I’ve become accustomed to I just let the waiter pick what I should order with him recommending a special of flank steak and eggs with fresh chilled cherry tomatoes served over grits. Carly picked potatoes, bacon, biscuits and their muffin donuts while Nancy went for the French toast that Carly would have normally selected.

Apparently they have quite a nice bar upstairs as well but it was closed on the weekends for special events so a return visit with more out of town guests will involve a visit there. The muffin donuts showed up within a few minutes and were still toasts warm, they basically are fresh donuts in the shape of a muffin with brown sugar dusting them. Our meals arrived a few minutes after the donuts and all had quite nice presentation with mine really having the best color contrast. I was wary of the bed of grits it came served on since I’ve still never experienced grits and thought I must add those to my meal but the flank steak and eggs helped make them a little more palatable. The potatoes Carly ordered were among the best I’ve ever tried and they appeared to barely have any seasoning on them but the crunch along with the saltiness really made them pop. I even stole some of Nancy’s French toast which was nice and crispy and not over sweet.

GALLERY

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SERVICE
Professional and polite with great suggestions for meals
3.5 stars

AMBIANCE / DESIGN
Inside the refurbished Ladd Carriage house complete with gas lights over the tables and decorative tile throughout.
4 stars

MEAL
It was served on top of grits which didn’t carry much flavor but very pretty presentations.
3.5 stars

Biscuits Cafe – 7/05/13

4stars

Biscuits Cafe
503.614.2876
16755 SW Baseline
Beaverton, 97006

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Fluffy Biscuits just down the street…

Our friends Will & Rhonda had just arrived the previous evening from Phoenix and we had a full few days planned so hitting up breakfast nearby was ideal so that we could proceed on with the list of activities. We’ve been here many times over the last few years and always been very satisfied with the meals so I expected to have a great repeat visit. There were only a few people waiting ahead of us so we were seated pretty quickly outside on the patio but it must have been before a few of the servers arrived because it was close to 10 minutes before anyone arrived to even bring us water but after that the service was brisk and attentive. I told our friends that their biscuits really are excellent so anything they picked involving them would not be a disappointment while I decided to see what the server recommended. He brought me an omelette of sorts on top of a bed of chorizo sausage with avocado along with potatoes and a biscuit, quite a large meal but certainly a delicious and satisfying one. There wasn’t much said over the next 10 minutes while everyone enjoyed their breakfasts and we decided afterwards that a hike around forest park would help aid in the digestion of the delicious but very lunch brunch we just finished.

GALLERY

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SERVICE
A little slow on the service when we were sat outside on the patio but his breakfast recommendation was awesome.
3 stars

AMBIANCE / DESIGN
They divided the room in thirds inside with half walls where as before it was a large open space, still nothing all that exciting.
3 stars

MEAL
Never been disappointed with the selections here and their biscuits really are amongst the best I’ve had.
4-5 stars

Mireillas Bistro – 6/30/13

3.5stars

Mireillas Bistro
503.430.5845
16755 SW Baseline #110
Beaverton, 97006

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Backyard Bistro

A few times this year as we drove down Baseline (which is just over a mile from our home) we would cruise by Mireilla’s and always say to each other “we gotta remember to go there” well since we spend Saturday at the beach seeing the whole family we decided sticking close to home and finally going to the Bistro would be our plan. If it hadn’t been closing in on 90 degrees we probably would have walked there but it was still a convenience and we might stroll over for their ample happy hour at some point soon. Upon arriving we saw a few people seated int he patio area having breakfast and I figured it was open seating but wanted to at least make contact with a host inside and grab a menu but when we walked in the host was standing with his back to us and busy with something else, I figured it would take a second or two for him to address and greet us but instead after 10 uncomfortable seconds of being ignored I asked if we could sit where ever we liked, he barely turned his body to acknowledge us grunted “yeah anywhere is fine”. Carly nudged me and said “there goes a star” which I found comical in that she’s begun keeping track of our brunch experiences in much the way that I have with mental notes and extra scrutiny.

Anyway we found a seat out on the patio area next to a woman with a book and lop eared Shepard and waited to have some menus delivered (hopefully not by the same guy we just interacted with). Less than a minute later a new less surly individual emerged from the double doors with menus and a smile and I figured one sour puss shouldn’t spoil our outing. He asked what we might like to drink as we scanned the menus, Carly chose a rum-less Mojito and I an iced Latte. The large double sided menu (food one side, drinks the other) had a collection of meals that were Irish and Slavic sounding which I was somewhat surprised to see since I had been thinking it was more a french style bistro. Since the Bistro’s WiFi password was Goulash1 I assumed that might be the item they were most proud of and never having had it before I figured it would be an adventurous selection but when our waiter returned and I asked what a first timer should have he nudged me towards the Croque Madame which is an open faced ham and gruyere sandwich with a fried egg and cup of their tomato basil soup (Croque Monsieur without the egg) which certainly sounded good but without his prodding I doubt I would have selected it first. Carly asked about their French Toast which I knew she was going to be disappointed with since the words Texas Toast came out of his mouth first (she hates fluffy eggy French Toast) instead she got two plates of sides consisting of a biscuit, 3 types of fruit and some strips of bacon.

We sat back sipped our drinks and people watched while we waited for our meals to arrive. The small mall that Mireillas is attached to also houses Biscuits Cafe (another of our favorite local breakfast joints) as well as a few small commercial businesses and is tucked in between come condos and apartment complexes so it receives plenty of foot traffic from the surrounding residents. Our brunch arrived surprisingly fast but considering what Carly’s selections were I imagine mine was the only item that actually had to be cooked or prepared. The size of my meal at first was a bit off-putting seeing as how I’ve become accustomed to chicken fried steaks overlapping a giant plate but I was reassured by my selection with the very first bite.  The sweetness of the gruyere and the buttery flavor of the Béchamel sauce was very complimentary and the addition of the salty ham & fried egg tied it all together very nicely. The tomato basil soup was quite good as well but I prefer more of a creamy soup over the slightly lumpy (more authentic) version which this was. Carly’s meal was somewhat difficult to judge seeing as how the only item that had more than one ingredient was her biscuit which while tasty was not the typical fluffy flakey kind I was expecting and had a denser more crumbly texture. After breakfast we wandered inside to pay our tab and noticed they had a baked good case populated with many colorful desserts and we decided to pick out a few to enjoy later. Although they looked like fluffy french pastries they ended up being more like muffins with sweet cream on top that a cupcake or other “lighter” baked good (it didn’t occur to me to take any photos unfortunately).

GALLERY

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SERVICE
When we first walked in the fellow behind the counter kept his back to us and did not greet until I asked if it was open seating
3 stars

AMBIANCE / DESIGN
Nice bistro theme and color palette carried throughout the interior and a large patio outside
3.5 stars

MEAL
A wonderful tasting sampling of breakfast foods and plenty to lust after on the lunch / dinner menu as well
4 stars

Cadillac Cafe – 6/23/13

3-5stars

Cadillac Cafe
503.287.4750
1801 NE Broadway St.
Portland, 97232

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Gets your motor running…

On a rainy Sunday morning we had two friends Karen & Jeff join us from down the street to venture into the downtown wilds of Portland for a bite to eat. We’d given them the list of places we’d visited and asked them to pick out where we should all go next. Karen asked if we had ever been to Cadillac Cafe and although I had it was close to 4 years ago so I was more than willing for a revisit. We rolled up with very little traffic and found a spot around the corner without issue and upon walking in we’re were immediately seated despite how busy the place appeared to be. While we sat and looked the menu over I rubber necked around to see just how far the Caddy theme carried through the interior and my eyes settled on the classic vehicle behind a plexiglass wall in back, aside from that it was mainly simple logo decorations over the bar to our right side. I thumbed through the menu and found a couple items that sounded good but I decided once again to let the server bring me whatever he thought would be a good selection. We all picked a drink to start with and I requested a latte, our waiter chose a sampler breakfast for me that came with sausage, eggs, potatoes and a slice of French Toast so that I could try a variety of flavors. Carly selected an egg scramble with mushrooms, potatoes & an English muffin while Jeff picked French toast and Karen the same as Carly. I rarely pick French Toast usually because of how sweet it is but the nutty coating that came with mine helped to offset the sweetness and I didn’t even both with any syrup. The eggs were poached perfectly and the tiny potatoes and chicken sausage were super delicious as well. Karen, Jeff & Carly all seemed equally please with their meals and very few morsels remained when the dust settled.

GALLERY

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SERVICE
Even with them being fairly busy we were still seated immediately
3.5 stars

AMBIANCE / DESIGN
They don’t overdo the retro caddy theme and aside from a classic car in the back the walls only contain a few logo marked items
3.5 stars

MEAL
Many classic items but they also offer catfish & salmon as daily specials
3.5 stars

Sanborn’s – 6/16/13

4stars

Sanborn’s
503.963.8000
3200 SE Milwaukie
Portland, 97202

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BAM cakes and German food

We saw a comedy show the previous week across the street at The Aladdin cafe and before Showtime while walking around the neighborhood I made note of Sanborn’s which curiously had hours posted of 8-2 and was open only a few days a week. I figured we’d find ourselves back at their door front soon and the following week we journeyed back across the river for a bite of German fare. I scribbled our name down and took note of the five others above mine, guessing it would be about 25 minutes we took a stroll around to see what else was nearby but upon returning to check the progress we saw that the same 6 people that were waiting when we arrived were still there and it didn’t look like anyone inside had yet paid their bill so we took a seat and decided to people watch until our turn came. It was still about another 20 minutes before we finally were escorted in and seated smack in the middle of the room at a small square table without all that much elbow room but looking around it seemed as if the space was divided as economical as possible. We had a few moments to look over the menu and I noticed a large chalkboard at the entrance covered in different types of pancakes with creative names and flavors, when our perky waitress arrived her eyes lit up when I asked her to pick something good to bring me while Carly of course chose French toast which has become her default breakfast food the last few weeks. The Internet also advised trying their biscuits and Carly got a side of diced potatoes as well for us to split. While waiting for our chow we rubber necked around the room and noticed the adjacent house was actually connected from within the building where we were seated and they had converted the front room into a bar with additional seating just in front as well as on the deck. Our four plates showed up in short order and we quickly ran out room on our tiny table and had to watch our wrists until we ate ourselves some room. The B.A.M. cake that the waitress brought for me was all that she promised and more, stuffed with Bacon, Apples & Maple syrup and I was glad I decided not to pour any of the included syrup on it since the sweetness was already a 9 out of 10, the smokey bacon bits scattered throughout was the perfect contrast to the Granny Smith apples fanned out throughout the fluffy baked cake. The biscuit was quite delicious as well and the homemade raspberry preserves complimented it quite nicely and even the diced potatoes came out quite good and tasted lightly seasoned with rosemary. Carly was less excited about her French toast because it was light and fluffy while she generally opts for thin and crispy, I thought it tasted quite good but I was too stuffed from my giant cake to make much of a run on her breakfast as well. There were quite a few other options in the menu that caught my eye so maybe next time we have a guest in town we’ll take them for some German cakes.

GALLERY

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SERVICE
The waitress was so excited to choose my selection for me and my coffee & water glasses never ran empty
4 stars

AMBIANCE / DESIGN
Rather tiny interior that can be a bit claustrophobic when completely full
3.5 stars

MEAL
German style breakfast fares that are sure to satisfy
4 stars

Elmer’s – 6/9/13

3stars

Elmer’s
503.466.9699
1250 NW Waterhouse
Beaverton, 97006

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My mom was in town again to hear some Jazz music with friends so the following morning was a little rough on her senses. She wanted to get back to the beach before it got too late so we decided a local favorite that we’d visited many times would be Sundays brunch spot. There is almost always a line and a wait and today was no exception, Carly put our names in and we walked back outside to soak up some sunshine. If you’ve never been to an Elmer’s you might want to compare it to a Denny’s from the outside appearance alone but I’d say Village Inn would be inline. We were seated pretty quickly considering the god squads that had just shown up from all the local houses of worship letting out after salvation was achieved. The waitresses were just clearing off a large table and separating it back into 4 individual ones in the room where we were seated and a woman with two rowdy kids had just gotten up to leave as well so it was suddenly quite as we sat down. The waitress handed us the thick plastic coated menus filled wi th bright colors of meals that were mostly topped with whipped cream and fruit but I knew from experiences to steer past the eye candy and go for the skillet selections which have always satisfied th e “Country Comfort” this time around, Carly opted for Oatmeal and sausages while mom picked a Benedict I believe (I was still a bit groggy). Our meals arrived just a few minutes after our coffees and juices, surprisingly quick considering how packed the place was. My skillet was just as tasty as I had hoped it to be but I did kinda miss not having more chicken fried steak with it, Carly and my mom both appeared to like their meals as not much more than a few crumbs remained. All in all a delicious breakfast even if it wasn’t as adventurous as many of the past outings.

GALLERY

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SERVICE
Always busy but very efficient service that has rarely made mistakes
3.5 stars

AMBIANCE / DESIGN
Feels the same inside as when I used to go with my parents back in the early 90’s, welcoming and comfortable
3 stars

MEAL
Reliably tasty selections but rarely have I gone for anything other than breakfast
3.5 stars

Genies Cafe – 6/2/13

4stars

Genies Cafe
503.445.9777
1101 SE Division Street
Portland, 97202

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Biscuits n’ Gruvy…

I’d been here one time previously about a year and half ago to met up with some friends before the Portland Auto show and had always planned a return visit with Carly and whomever else wanted a kick ass breakfast, this Sunday was that day. We arrived and parked incredibly easy which has me thinking either I got super lucky or that I’m finally feeling confident in my navigation skills around Portland. We walked in and placed our names on the list and while it wasn’t packed with people waiting there was still about a 20 minute chill time before we were seated. We were directed to the holding zone just past the bar that occupies 1/3 of the restaurant and I figured as long as they weren’t quite ready for us I’d put in an order for something to drink. Carly’s teaching friend Shelly was able to to join us so we would have a cohort to sample more of their menu selections. Genies is apparently well known for their biscuits and gravy (of which they have two, sausage or mushroom) which I sampled last time from a friends meal but this time I planned to let our hipster server pick my breakfast which had worked out in my favor so far over the last few months, he chose the Cajun Benedict that was on special which I had eyed but wasn’t convinced until he enthusiastically endorsed it, I also included a side of the well recommended biscuits and mushroom gravy that Carly and I would share. Shelly went with the biscuit & gravy along with scrambled eggs, bacon and the tiny taters as opposed to the sliced red ones I would be receiving. Carly picked a BLT & tiny taters and would also be sharing my biscuits & gravy. It was really quite loud that morning and every chair at every table was filled with hungry patrons. The orders seemed to flow from the kitchen at a rapid rate and it was only 10 minutes before our buffet arrived hot & steamy. I chomped down on a big bite of the biscuit smothered with the rich smokey mushroom immediately and then begin cutting the tails off the huge shrimp that were on top of my Benedict before trying it. I expected a bit of spice and bite from it being called “Cajun” but it was rather muted even though tasty, fortunately no brunch table in Portland is ever complete without a bottle of Aardvark hot sauce so I added a few shakes over my plate immediately taking it from a solid 6 to an 8.5, the potatoes were also aided by a few shakes of the Vark’ and were super crispy despite they thickness. Shelly & Carly seemed very satisfied with their selections as well and few words were exchanged during the next 5 minutes of initial gorging. It ended up that I couldn’t quite finish all the potatoes of which there were plenty and about 1/3 of the biscuit dish remained after Carly and I had our go at it but both the girls were able to finish off their plates that somehow appeared smaller than mine even which having more occupying them. For my second time here I was very happy with how good it had remained and I look forward to a 3rd, 4th and 30th visit.

GALLERY

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SERVICE
Hipster filled tatty and stache’ but all friendly and approachable
3.5 stars

AMBIANCE / DESIGN
A large three room building with a bar and waiting area occupying one half and the walls covered with locals artwork
3.5 stars

MEAL
All the basics are present as well as kick ass biscuits n’ gravy and the “specials” selections actually are and change often.
4 stars

Vita Cafe – 5/26/13

4stars

Vita Cafe
503.335.8233
3023 NE Alberta
Portland, 97211

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Vegan with a hint of carnivore…

This weekend our friend Megan was in town visiting from Phoenix and participating in a gathering of Vegans that were holding a conference in downtown Portland. As we drove around town during her brief visit we kept making suggestions for Sunday brunch before Megan helpfully picked Vita Cafe. I was a bit wary at first knowing that it was billed as a “Vegan destination” and assumed it would be just buckets of sprouts with fair trade seasoning but after she emailed me the menu I was put at ease. We would be dropping her off at Portland International afterwards so we planned to brunch a few hours before hand and then walk around Alberta street for a bit before heading out. The wait was a little longer than I would have expected considering there were open seats but there was enough activity and interesting things to look at to make the time fly by. We were seated in a massive booth/bench in the corner that was well lit and let us take in the entire restaurant scene. The girls ordered carrot-apple juice while I got a cup of coffee and a raspberry-apple cider to sip on as we looked the menu over. I had seen mention of their huevos rancheros and “corn cakes” as being must trys but I elected to get the carnivore version of the Country Comfort which came with all my favorites of potatoes, sausage, eggs and biscuits n’ gravy while Megan chose the Vegan version of the same and Carly went with the breakfast sandwich, I also requested two of their corn cakes for us to share. The interior of the restaurant was much larger than the outside would lead you to believe and as filled as it was with patrons it never really got all the loud making conversation easy. Our meals arrived after about 13 or 14 minutes and the waiter apologized as he set down the plate of corn cakes that one of them was too small and he would bring a couple more to make up for it, but I hardly noticed as the massive amount of food on our plates made me feel like half a corn cake would never be missed. My first bite of the biscuit and gravy was sweeter than expected which was followed by a flavorful surprise of the potatoes that were super crispy and highly seasoned if not a bit salty. The chicken sausage I also got with the eggs was sweeter than expected but went well with the poached yolk of the two eggs. Carly and Megan both mentioned that their meals seemed a bit salty but overall were satisfied with their selections. We each took a few more bites before tearing into the corn cakes that were studded with nuts and came with a few ounces of syrup. They weren’t really pancakes in flavor and not quite cornbread except perhaps in texture but they were incredibly tasty and we easily gobbled up the 1 1/2 rather large cakes between the 3 of us just in time for the waiter to bring out two more that were almost larger than the plate they sat on. It was an easy decision to get a box to take them home since I had pretty much cleared every morsel from the big oval plate I was presented with. We left very full and satisfied with the meal and I would love to try the huevos rancheros if we find ourselves there again.

GALLERY

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SERVICE
Decent and helpful in making a selection but I can always use more coffee.
3.5 stars

AMBIANCE / DESIGN
Nice cafe style setup with huge booths & tables as well as a breakfast bar in front of the kitchen.
3.5 stars

MEAL
Large Vegan/vegetarian selection and a few meat eater classics as well.
4 stars

Petite Province – 5/19/13

4stars

Petite Province
503.284.6564
1824 NE Albert St.
Portland, 97211

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Merci beaucoup!

For the first time since we gained access to Siri & GPS on our iPhones I avoided using both and decided to wander until we found a destination. I knew roughly where to look for a brunch destination but wasn’t sure exactly what we would be eating until I saw Carly rubberneck at cafe off Alberta. We found parking on a side street relatively close by and strolled over to get our name on the list. The hostess gave us a wait time of about 15 minutes but we sat down in less than 10 but we still had enough time to ogle the glass cases near the entrance containing a large assortment of sweet baked goods. The menu contained at least 6 different options I wanted to order but I ended up letting the waiter who served us make a suggestion & selection of risotto cakes & eggs with grilled root vegetables. Carly selected the quiche & potato salad and we shared a fresh baked croissant to start as well. The color scheme inside the restaurant was quite nice with deep blue & golden accents and all the tables were stamped with branding really giving it what I imagine to be an authentic street side French cafe feel. There was a constant stream of patrons flowing in and out the whole time we were there and our meal still managed to arrive about 5 minutes after we finished our croissant. The risotto cakes mixed with my poached eggs were fantastic and the potatoes weren’t over seasoned and complimented the dish well but I wasn’t as fond of the squash that was mixed in with the potatoes. Carly’s quiche was also quite good and had ham and other little bits of tasty veggies within it and her potato salad while decent wasn’t as savory as I normally would like. Before heading out we selected 4 different pastries from the glass case to take home for later and enjoy and I only wished we had snagged a few of the totally flaky & perfect croissants.

GALLERY

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SERVICE
They were busy but not enough to justify the long time in between seeing our server
3 stars

AMBIANCE / DESIGN
Great blue/gold color scheme inside with lovely design carried over into the menus, chairs, bags etc… and large windows along the front for plenty of light, feels like a real Cafe’
4 stars

MEAL
Huge selection of delicious sounding dishes it would take at least 8 visits to try the smattering of items that first caught my eye
4 stars