Blue Dragon Coffeehouse

by Scott Sharot

January 6 - January 12, 2000

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Tasty information for you to chew over

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Food News and Events

Eat Your Vegetables
Winter Squash

Restaurant Review
(October 21, 1999)

Restaurant Review
(October 7, 1999)

Restaurant Review
(July 21, 1999)

When I walked into the Blue Dragon Coffeehouse, I ran into a friend I hadn't seen in ages. She gushed, we hugged and she said, "This goes into the category of cafes we have known and loved." Bill and Lise Feste opened this little gem on Mother's Day last spring, and it seems like they've developed a family of loyal customers. The retro couch, piles of periodicals and board games, book-lined shelves and a heavy duty sound system that plays a great mix of tunes -- everything about the place says, "Stay awhile."

The coffees are from Aroma Coffee, one of my favorite local roasters, and the teas are from Tazzo. Of course, you may order espresso, cappuccino, latte, hot or iced organic chai or emerald cappuccino with green tea if you like. They also serve sodas and spritzers.

Breakfast is served all day and features a lox plate with nicely smoked salmon, cream cheese and garnishes with a bagel for $4.50. The tasty breakfast pizza comes with whole wheat crust, eggs, mozzarella, breakfast sausage and green chile for $4.25, and is also available vegetarian style. Or you might be in the mood for granola ($1.50). The continental breakfast comes with coffee and a pastry or croissant for $2.25.

There are several pizzas that come with whole wheat or white crust and a choice of sauces. The red sauce is earthy with herbs and roasted garlic. There are four sizes, from 15" ($10.75) down to the 8" ($3.25) and a slew of toppings to choose from.

Gumbo is the king of the Cajun section of this menu. Gumbo gets its name from an African word for okra, but there ain't no okra in this gumbo, neither is there filé (ground dried sassafras leaves). Both help thicken it, so this version is a little thin, but deliciously spicy with Andouille sausage (a spicy Cajun pork sausage), shrimp, chicken and rice. I didn't detect any crab, as the menu promised, though. A vegan version is also available.

Rounding out the Cajun selections is muffaletta, a popular New Orleans sandwich layered with salami, ham, Swiss, provolone and Italian olive salad. A whole muffaletta is a lot of food for $10.50; a half will set you back $5.75. It's a big city price for a Big Easy sandwich, but there are plenty of less expensive sandwiches to choose from.

Homey desserts include cookies, various shortbread squares, pecan and lemon bars, whole wheat banana bread and rich, gooey brownies.

The Blue Dragon is more than just a coffee house, though. Twice daily offerings of live entertainment include open-mic poetry and sultry blues singers. Check their calendar for times and listings. The parking lot here is small and fills quickly during lunch, but be careful not to park in the neighboring business lots; you can park on the streets nearby, though. Next time you're at Harold's Laundromat, go across the street to the Blue Dragon for a break between loads. It is one of those rare places that has the potential for building real community.

The Blue Dragon Coffeehouse is open from 6:30 a.m. until midnight Monday through Saturday and from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Sunday. They accept checks, Visa and Mastercard.

Scott Sharot is a cook at Cafe de las Placitas.

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