Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Iris Book Cafe: An Enchanting Spot Both Inside and Out

Iris Book Cafe on Main Street
      We were crazy about Iris Book Cafe with our very first visit back in 2009.  Eric appreciated their collection of used books for sale, and I wanted to spend every afternoon in the courtyard.  At first, we thought the co-owner, Julie Fay, was actually “Iris”.  It was only years later that we realized it’s the name of the building.  She, along with her business partner Mike Markiewicz, are a large part of the arts and entertainment scene on Main Street and can be seen helping out at the coffee house often.   

Latte and Apricot Pecan Scone
      I have to admit, all of our visits have been mostly for a latte and the occasional dessert or scone (Julie makes them and they are almost always exceptional, especially the Apricot Pecan Scones).  On our most recent venture there, we were celebrating Eric’s birthday so a more extensive
lunch was in order.  The Avgolemono Soup sounded intriguing with simple ingredients of rice, egg, chicken broth, and lemon.  We both had a cup, which was a generous portion that was a richly flavored interpretation of the traditional Greek recipe.  All of the soups are listed as either house made or guest soups that come from Avril’s on Court Street 
Avgolemono Soup
or Myra’s in Clifton.  The emphasis at Iris is on local foods and there is a large selection for every dietary preference.   We shared the Salmon and Avocado with house made dill mayo on multigrain bread (from Shadeau Bakery across the street).  Served with a choice of tortilla or sun chips, we found the salmon mild and everything fresh with each bite enjoyable.

Salmon and Avocado Sandwich
We finished off with a latte and Cranberry Walnut Scone.  The lattes were great, but I thought the scone was on the dry side that particular day.  Aglamesis Brothers’ Ice Creams are also offered.  Service has been inconsistent over time, but our most recent visits have found the servers to be both friendly and competent.

The Welcoming Interior
Bookshelves and Art

      Not only is the large book selection very diverse, but there are also CD’s, vinyl records, DVD’s, and sheet music offered for sale.  The contemporary space (with modern Arts and Crafts accents) encourages closer inspection of all of them, and patrons can spend hours perusing and researching their collection or on the wireless internet provided.  Comfortable booths, table and chairs, and wooden benches are scattered throughout the cafe with muted wall tones that accentuate the bookshelves and changing art exhibits.

Garden Courtyard
Timber and Rope Cavern

My favorite area is the outdoor courtyard that simply has to be experienced.  It’s a sculpture garden in progress with a timber and rope cavern as the centerpiece.  Facades of the area buildings enclose the space and add color along with the vegetation growing in every direction.  Wrought iron garden furniture completes the serene room.  A clear day or night is utopia.

Iris Book Cafe on Urbanspoon

I sure would like to explore the courtyard.  Maybe the guys will take me down someday when they want to stay a while and relax.

No comments: