It wasn’t that long ago that people looked at me with a certain amount of compassion when I mentioned I lived in Almere. That “boring ass” city where no one would want to be caught dead in. At first, I couldn’t help but bow my head somewhat and agree. But long gone are the days when venturing outside of town was necessary in order to shop (commerce is growing stronger by the day), enrich the mind (plenty of cultural activities such as expositions, readings, film and theater), and wine and dine (though not all of them are equally exciting, there are enough new restaurants popping up all over the city).
I had heard of Barista in Almere, a café which opened late this past July, but had yet to visit.
To be perfectly honest (and I’m sure you know this by now if you’ve read my reviews), I’m not much of a ‘sandwich-for-lunch’ kind of girl. First of all, I don’t really eat much bread and second of all, I will gladly admit to being a snob when it comes to my Saturday lunches. I want good food and good wine, and for some reason, sandwiches, to me, no matter how good, fall under the category ‘snack foods’. Plus, I don’t really go out for coffee much either. In fact, you’ll probably only see me at a café after shopping with my teenage daughter or once in a blue moon during the winter, when I crave an arty farty, expertly prepared dose of caffeine.
The mood struck yesterday though after a browse through their extensive coffee menu, and the realization that I was actually craving a sandwich for lunch after celebrating Thanksgiving the evening before. A big plus, in my book, is that they not only offer coffee, but also wine. Had that not been the case, I probably wouldn’t have been writing this review.
The first thing I noticed when I came in was the huge bar of lime green tiles located in the center, and the second thing was the sheer spaciousness of the establishment. We found a booth, ordered a drink (the balanced and find-bubbled Castillo Perelada Cava for me, and the silky Nouveau Monde Cabernet Sauvignon for Hans) and quickly decided on a club sandwich. There was a pleasant, welcoming buzz to the place and I felt totally at ease.
The zingy salmon club with capers, cucumber, lettuce & lemony crème fraîche was served with a side of tortilla chips and a tiny bowl of creamy sundried tomatoes. The bread — thickly sliced, dark whole grain — had a good texture. Hans’ club sandwich came with generous slices of chicken, ham and truffle butter. The plates were returned clean, so the food was certainly enjoyed. My only gripe was that our waitress approached us while I was still eating, and asked if we wanted coffee. A shame, because aside from that faux pas, she was attentive and friendly.
Our meal ended with a perfect cappuccino and espresso accompanied respectively by a sampler plate and a slice of apple pie. The sampler included their carrot cake (fragrant and moist), brownie (could have been a little fudgier) and their seasonal speculaas cake (sweetly spiced and beautiful!).
Barista is more than a coffee/lunch joint. There’s breakfast, high teas, high wines, a variety of homemade pastries, smoothies, chais, hot waffles in the winter, ice cream in the summer… Plenty to choose, in other words. And they work with organic products, too. A pretty nifty new addition to what is no longer a “boring ass” city, if you ask me. Hey, and I even dig their sandwiches.