Heaven on the Hill

I’d been excited about today’s breakfast for quite a while.  Not because of the food – until a couple of days ago I hadn’t even decided where we were going – but because of the company.  Frankly, I didn’t really care where we went.  I simply wanted to meet my new Breakfast Buddy; who just happens to be one of my biggest cheerleaders, and someone who has done great work in getting my little food blog out there for all the world to find.  Even though we had never met.

Today was a dichotomy: it was all about the food & at the same time it was nothing to do with the food.  Luckily, we got the best of both worlds – great food AND a great place to hang.  Urbanspoon did a {very} fine job, as usual, of pointing me in the direction of utter goodness.

Volunteer Park Cafe – the most adorable neighborhood cafe, known to locals as “Heaven on the Hill”.  Now I’ve been there I totally understand why.

Oozing cuteness, quaintness & oodles of warm fuzziness.  Like a hug from your favorite Aunt first thing in the morning.  The Hot Chocolate was one of the better ones too – a slight hint of spice in there, along with a creaminess that so many of them just don’t have, since they’re made with water & some ghastly concoction from a packet.  Or the dreaded “H” syrup.  Gah.  Not so at Volunteer Park Cafe.  Hoorah!

The Bacon & Egg Panini ($9.50): Poached eggs, Gruyere & seasonal tomatoes

Fresh panini goodness.  By all accounts, one {really} great breakfast sandwich.

The Brie & Apple Panini ($5.50): Served on a croissant, with lavender honey.  Except they were out of Brie, so I told them to just surprise me.  They used Fontina.  It was a particularly nice surprise.

I would happily eat this again.  And again.  And it was all the more wonderful simply because of the ambiance.  The sunlight filled windows, the warm, welcoming staff, the pillows scattered across the benches, the delicious smells wafting from the kitchen…just the whole darn *feel* of the place.

This was where the food fell down: the Almond Croissant.  The almond bit was awesome.  The croissant itself…{really} not so much.

Nice flavor, texture was completely wrong.  Croissants should disintegrate before your very eyes - the second that your teeth touch that golden, crisp exterior.  This was like eating a croissant-shaped cake.  You may like that.  But that still doesn’t make it a croissant.  I need to be able to make a complete mess with my croissant.  This one was entirely mess-free.  And heavy.  Croissants should be light as air.

Outside on the sidewalk was more cuteness.

I admit, I didn’t want to leave.  I could have sat & chatted with my new friend for hours.  We actually did, but I could have just stayed some more.  But the place was packed – laptops humming, newspapers & books rustling, friends chatting – and everyone clearly just having a wonderful start to their respective Friday.  We felt we should let someone else have a chance to sit in the window & bask in the loveliness that is Volunteer Park Cafe.  It made me wish I lived within walking distance.  Oh yes, one more reason to move to Capitol Hill.  Like I needed one.

Note to self: must have lunch here.  Soon.  Neighborhood goodness at it’s finest.

Volunteer Park Cafe and Marketplace on Urbanspoon

*SANE™, inSANE, SANEity – terms used in Jonathan Bailor’s books, The Smarter Science of Slim (out of print) and The Calorie Myth.

What does SANE mean? Click here.Want more scrumptious recipes? Click here to check out my SANE Cookbooks!

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