February 12, 2009

Sandwiches and Soup at Café Sola

Reviewed by T Arrington.

 ■■■□□ 3/5 “Good”

 As a guest visitor with the Taste of Bozeman gang, I was a part of the visit to Café Sola.  This establishment is new in Bozeman and is located at the corner of Kagy Blvd and Wilson Ave.  The place looks as if it could be small, but inside, it’s bright and a nice place to hang out.  The ambiance is par with the Bozeman hippie food scene—local, organic, and environmentally aware.    

I ordered the ½ panini-smoked turkey, havarti, and roasted tomatoes with salad greens and a cup of butternut squash with apple bisque soup.  For a drink, I chose a Coca-Cola in a glass bottle (cringe! I forgot that Bozeman does not recycle glass.)  If I wasn’t in such a need for a caffeinated carbonated beverage, I would have chosen something less environmentally impacting.  Plus, the Coke was made in Mexico.  Mexico?  Is it the glass bottle appeal, because it seemed to me that Café Sola seems to have a good grasp on the local, organic food scene and Coke from Mexico seems a little off that path.  Oh well. Anyway, because of the lack of caffeinated, carbonated beverages on premise, I chose it. But, since it was $2.50 a bottle, and Bozeman does not recycle glass, I would make a wiser choice next time to a juice or even good ole H2O. 

Back to my lunch.  I love the red square plates that my lunch arrived on.  I think the portion sizes were equivalent to a lunch portion (see photo).  In fact, I was full after eating the ½ panini and the salad.  I couldn’t even finish my soup.  My sandwich was very good.  The bread could have been sliced a little thinner and I think that something else could be added to this sandwich combination to make it pop, perhaps a little cranberry sauce or something along that thought.  My salad mixture had a fig balsamic dressing on it and that was the first to disappear from my plate.  My soup was healthy and slightly bland.  I increased the taste by adding a little bit salt and pepper to it, but also some cream in the overall mixture would have boosted the flavor.  All in all, the meal was worthy of a good, healthy lunch.  I paid $7.75 for the combo, which I believe is fair for Bozeman.  

I like Café Sola’s atmosphere.  The building can sustain a lot of hungry people, and there are more tables on a smaller, 2nd floor.  Pottery and paintings from local artists and chalk drawings on a kid-sized wheeled board from children are welcome.  The café also has a small, but adequate selection of wines, beers, and even a few refrigerated staple items in their coolers. 

One thing I hope that will improve is the traffic coordination.  The “lobby” seems like a perfect place to view the specials and menu, and one menu is posted for coffee and some specials when you enter, but there is a second menu located up on the wall opposite the cashier way past the lobby, and yet we were directed to the little gold menus that have everything else on it.  These paper menus were inconveniently located past the lobby coffee station and closer to the food display cases.  And, there are even more posted specials on or near the display cases that you wouldn’t see unless you were right in front of them.  Our group seemed a little confused at the different menus and it took us awhile to order.  Bottlenecks and ordering, it seems, might be commonplace right at the lobby for those who are expecting a streamlined menu system.  However, I think the traffic coordination will get better and I am happy to return to Café Sola.