Thursday, July 12, 2012
NEW FIND: Alice's Village Cafe in Carp
Alice's Village Cafe in downtown Carp (my husband laughs when I say Carp has a downtown) has been open for 6 days. I first heard of the place from Hummingbird Chocolate Maker at the Ottawa Farmers' Market on Sunday. Her beautiful 'bean to bar' chocolate may be available at Alice's Village Cafe 'soon'. I digress, but here are Hummingbird's beautiful bars!
Always keen to explore the culinary experiences in the far reaches of Ottawa, we ventured the exactly 30 kms this morning to check them out. Although the building is shiny and new, it is styled of yesteryear and fits in well with the feel of Carp's country heritage. (They also appear to have an obsession with bikes. Something I would have tagged on urban-focused Bridgehead, and not a place whose destination transportation most likely requires a motor. Perhaps an image akin to the yesteryear theme.)
The business cards placed by the cash, shows that this is another Crystal and Dustin Therrien production. They are also the proprietors of nearby-and-much-loved The Cheshire Cat Pub. Ah, people with experience. Lots of experience. This should bode well for Alice's Village Cafe. So now this new Cheshire Cat connection has me thinking, Alice, as in Alice in Wonderland. A departure for sure from that Arlo Guthrie tune swirling in my head as we headed up Carp Road - Alice's Restaurant. Though, reflecting back on the visit, I don't see connections to either.
I am focused in my order. I have what I pretty much always have at a coffee shop. A small latte. Their sizes are 12, 16 and 20 oz. $3.50 for the small. I do fret over being flooded in warm milk and so asked for an extra espresso shot for a mere additional 75 cents. She assured me that the double shot that goes into every small cup would satisfy. She was right. (For all you coffee crazies, their machine is a La Marzocco from Italy.)
Although there were no tricky outlines of hearts, palm leaves, flying monkeys or diving swans, I was quite okay to see a covering of dark caramel-y crema. To me, that spoke 'flavour'.
I guzzled it and greedily returned for a second.
Their 'house' beans are from Equator Coffee Roasters in Almonte. The mister went for a brew of their bold Mufferaw Jo!.
But they also serve up a 'guest' bean each month as a way of showcasing local roasters. What a great idea! This month the guest bean is from the little known and very new, Kinburn Coffee Co.
You can't travel 30 kms on a country drive without tasting the treats they will no doubt become famous for. They bake everything in-house, except for the bread for their sandwiches and panini. That is Art-is-in Boulangerie's Dynamite bread. Of course.
For $3.00, the mister attacked The Big Nasty. Close to 4 1/2 inches in diameter. I just love the name. It is catchy and sassy and will easily become the talk of the town - country and city. "Oh heck, ya!"
For $1.50, I went for the 'selling like hot cakes' Lemon Muffin. We all know that muffins are just cake but lemon calls to you when the sun is high and the weather is sweltering. Did this muffin cool me down? No way. It was pretty hot stuff in each of its big puckery citrus bursts. I loved every fresh-from-the-oven bite, including the light sugary dusting garnishing it's hood.
The main seating room is expansive with 5 tables for 4, 2 tables for 2 and a center harvest table that spaciously seats 8. Facing the gazebo in the back is a small enclave with 10 sit-up bar stools for when you just want to be away from the bustle.
The yesteryear charm includes wide plank floor boards, wooden tables and chairs and walls of brick in an early 20th century reddish, rust colour. The modern touches show in such things as the eclectic overhead light fixture.
And there is that love of bikes again! I like it too!
There is multi-medium artwork adorning the walls. Many items are for sale. The artist is Dulce Tapp.
The food selection is what you would expect of a coffee shop and cafe. Every form of coffee, tea, cold drinks, which include house made Italian sodas, lemonade, Kiju juices and Boylan soft drinks.
To eat there are breakfast sandwiches, panini, potato salad and soups. As well as sweet treats of cookies, tarts, scones, muffins and, of course, The Big Nasty.
Also for sale are complementary paraphernalia such as tea pots and travel mugs. And also bags of the monthly 'guest' bean.
On a day like today, the generous front porch, with a collection of Adirondack chairs, is the spot to sit and sip and watch the happenings on Carp's main street.
Street parking is plenty, including the angle parking out front. No meters here. (Or hitching posts.)
As it is early days in the set up, Alice is only accepting cash. The new world forms of transacting money will follow in time.
They are located right across from St. James the Apostle Anglican Church, which is right beside the Carp Agricultural Fairgrounds where the Carp Farmers' Market is held each Saturday from 8 am to 1 pm. No doubt this place will be buzzing on the weekends!
Consider the Farmers' Market, the Diefenbunker, Alice's Village Cafe for breakfast or lunch and you can make a day of it. Worth the drive? You betcha.
Alice's Village Cafe
3773 Carp Road
Facebook: Alice's Village Cafe
Website: www.alicesvillagecafe (content coming soon)