Saturday, October 25, 2008

Mercury Coffee Bar Trip #1

Originally published in D-Tales here; see original post for pictures.

I say "Trip #1" as if there are immediate plans for a #2. There aren't, but next time I do plan on sitting in the dining area and actually being waited on, which will likely make for an entirely different experience.

That being said, me likey. I ate upstairs, ordering my breakfast at the counter and chatting with the baristas. At the recommendation of one of them, I tried the "Flat White" espresso, described to me as being similar to a latte but with only the slightest wisp of foam...and something about the way it's done something with something makes the espresso sweeter, I dunno. She said it was thus far their most popular espresso beverage so I said, what the heyl. It looked pretty, like it does on the main page of the website.

I also ordered a Bacon Ceddar Panino on Raisin Pecan. It was not a large sandwich, but it was very flavorful--the bacon is thick and meaty, and the cheddar very sharp and tangy. I'm typically not a fan of raisins in my bread, but the subtle sweetness of the bread was a nice way to offset the sharp, salty flavor of the cheddar and bacon. All in all, a very tasty little sandwich.

The rest of the menu is sparse, utilizing minimalist preparations with simple, flavorful ingredients. Paninos are available in flavors such as Black Olive Tapenade with Mozzarella and Sopressata with Sweet Onion and Fontina. Onions get a lot of face time...which, I hate, but I also hate ordering things off the menu "plus or minus this or that" because I feel it ruins the integrity of the dish as it was intended, so I can pretty much eliminate half the menu options. Paninos and salads are available in full or half orders; until I see what those sizes look like I will reserve judgement.

For beverages, a wide variety of imported teas and slow coffees (so named for the slow-drip style brewing, made fresh for each order) are available, as well as a host of espresso-based beverages and one "fast coffee" called simply, "El Diablo." The menu translates easily into breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and there are pastries available for dessert (though I simply could not justify spending $4.50 on a brownie).

The d├ęcor, as I noted before, is pleasantly loud. The endless, depthless pink floor, though at first a bit jarring, is actually kind of soothing in the morning light. And the views of the still-standing train station ruins from the windows are outstanding.