This summer has been all about the ice cream.
Ice cream, that evil, beautiful, thigh thickening, creamy, delicious temptress has caused my coffeehouse adventures to suffer.* I blame summer.
*Please note: I still drink coffee on a daily basis. Don’t get that wrong. I also still take frequent trips to Starbucks and stop in at previously visited coffeehouse adventure locations.
For over a year, & Grain sat atop my edited list of The List as one of the places I wanted to hit first. Only about a ten minute drive from Hubby’s work, it is preposterous we took so long to try it out.
I’m going to warn you. The content of this post will seem a little strange to be categorized under ‘Coffeehouse Adventures’, but please, hang on…it’s all so worth it.
Knowing & Grain served up more than coffee, we went for lunch. They instantly won me over with their minimalist decor composed mostly of ‘&’ signs throughout and their wall of rolling pins.
During our lunch, Lance observed that the majority of patrons were women.*
*Including Lance, there were four men total during our visit. There were many, many more women.
Clearly, ladies, we know a good thing when we see it.
Hubby’s philosophy was this: Women want carbs, men want protein. Therefore, though & Grain serves protein filled sandwiches, men will hesitate in choosing to patron a location whose name is based around carbs.*
*My theory is that it was an off day and we happened to be there when a lot of women visited.
Sparkling water usually makes me make the face that Will Farrell makes in the movie Elf when he sprays Passion Fruit Spray perfume in his mouth. However, the assortment of flavored Dry Sparkling waters that & Grain offers changed my viewpoint just a little. Hubby went with Vanilla Bean. Though the Blood Orange tempted me, the Cucumber won me over simply due to the intrigue of cucumber flavored water.
The taste of cucumber mildly lingered in the background creating a refreshing drink–which we both needed on this particularly raging hot and humid day.
Harvest Turkey Club
Because I never can decide when there are dozens of delicious options lingering before me, Hubby suggested we split two sandwiches.
I love him.
For starters, the bread used in both sandwiches is of such a quality that it makes me want to shun all other breads on earth, especially your typical grocery store bagged bread.
The Harvest Turkey Club came on a five grain bread. Hubby wasn’t a big fan of it* only because of all the visible nuts and seeds throughout. However, I loved it. I feel like it’s a great way to sneak in extra protein and nutrition while also creating more flavor. It seems the perfect bread to toast and smear with butter, jam, or peanut butter.
*Still he said that of the two sandwiches, this was his favorite. So, obviously, he didn’t hate it!
What elevated the Harvest Turkey Club from just any ordinary club, aside from the artisan bread, was the cranberry spread. Can you say Thanksgiving?*
*92 days…just saying.
Although I loved the turkey club, the grilled cheese won me over at first bite. The bread used, pain de mie, though when translated to English turns out to be basic sandwich bread, in taste and texture it was anything but basic. The thick slices were crisp, buttery* and so fresh, I could have eaten the bread alone and been perfectly satisfied.
*From their garlic butter spread—yum!
Inside Gruyere, goat cheese, and prosciutto combined to form a cheesy, meaty combination of splendor. I always thought I wasn’t a fan of goat cheese, but the creamy texture and extra kick of flavor it gave this sandwich made me realize I’m a fan.
At first glance, & Grain doesn’t exactly seem coffeehouse material. I knew they served Stumptown coffee, which I’d had once before, and knew it was good quality coffee, but had forgotten just how good.
I’ve learned that good quality places offer good quality coffee. If ever you see Stumptown coffee, know that you’re in good hands. Despite an outside temperature of 98 degrees and a humidity level somewhere around 85%–I ordered a hot coffee* to go and sipped it the entire ride home.
*They also serve cold brew and Nitro.
They didn’t have syrups to flavor my coffee with, but I found that just a little cream was all this coffee needed. Its naturally nutty aftertaste gave it an additionally addictive quality that made it irresistible.
Seriously. I couldn’t put it down.
In addition to coffee, & Grain also serves pastries. I needed to try their croissant in order to get a feel on whether or not I’m on the right track with my own recipe that I have been practicing all summer.
It was airy. It was flaky. And it inspired me to keep at it on creating my own airy, flaky, rolled up wonderfulness.*
*FYI: I’m close. So very close.
700 North Avenue
Garwood, NJ 07027