Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Plate 21

Plate 21
3664 Rugby Drive
Toledo, OH 43614
6:30am - 4:30pm M-S
Closed Sunday

Looking for a fun, relaxing, warm atmosphere in which to meet a few friends for breakfast, lunch or a snack? Need a quiet space where you can sip a perfectly brewed cup of coffee and use free Wi-Fi to check your emails? Desperate for fresh baked goods and too tired to make them yourself? Ready to while away a Saturday afternoon playing dominoes, chess, or Scrabble with a pal while sipping a Mexican Spiced Hot Chocolate ($2.75)? Plate 21 is the answer!

Sandy Spang of South Toledo opened Plate 21 on Rugby Drive near Detroit and Glanzman in September of this year. The lime green and pine wood interior is a sunny and cheerful alternative to the forgettable interiors of chain coffee houses in and around Toledo. Tracy Ladd, of the Toledo Museum of Art, designed vibrant colored fused glass installations that are featured in wall niches on one wall. The joyfulness of the interior is nothing compared to Sandy and her staff. Everyone is knowledgeable about the full variety of items on the menu and especially the coffee and tea drinks.

The first time I visited, I grabbed a quick cup of Tanzania Zanzibar Peaberry coffee ($1.70 for a 16oz medium). The barista was quick to explain that the coffee comes from Flying Rhino Coffee, a local purveyor that delivers the beans to Plate 21 on the same day on which they are roasted. He also shared that a "peaberry" is when a single coffee bean grows inside a cherry rather than the usual two beans. He was charming, he was smiling, he was telling me about my coffee beans and I was really trying to pay attention. But Toledo's newest coffee house happens to employ its best looking barista. Ladies, drive out of your way for the barista, stay for the great atmosphere, fabulous coffee and wonderful menu items. No harm intended, Josh. Give that man a raise...

Whew. I just got a little distracted remembering his smile...Anyway, on my second visit I decided to dive in to the pastries, house made soups and the sandwich specials of the day. I chose a cup of the Tuscan Bean with Sausage soup and a half portobello mushroom panini ($5.95). My dining companion chose the pesto chicken panini ($5.95). Both sandwiches come with ruffled potato chips. The sandwiches were filled with high grade ingredients and the pesto was rich, green, basil perfection. The soup was delicious with plenty of beans and just a little spice to the sausage. We couldn't stop our menu sampling there. We ordered the Plate 21 Pistachio muffin ($1.95), a palmier cookie (.75) and an order of Russian Tea Cakes ($1.00). You will like the muffin so much you will want to place an order to pick up a dozen and share them with friends, and family. Please call ahead if you want more than one or two muffins and Sandy will make sure she has them ready for your pick up time. If you've ever had Russian Tea Cakes (also known as Mexican Wedding Cakes) you know that underneath the powdered sugar exterior is melt in your mouth, buttery, nutty goodness. Plate 21's version does not disappoint.

While the hours for Plate 21 are still limited the friendly service, great specialty coffee drinks, teas, and confections are worth making a bend in your schedule. If you don't already live in the neighborhood, take a drive to South Toledo and enjoy Plate 21. For many reasons, ahem, it is worth the trip.

“Glass City Gourmet” is a chronicle of one woman's attempt to cook, eat, diet and entertain with both flair and whimsy while based in Toledo, Ohio. I encourage you to read on as the "Glass City Gourmet" attempts grand recipes, samples locally owned restaurants, visits indigenous markets and humbly pursues her quest to be formally recognized as the official "Glass City Gourmet".

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