May 23, 2011

CAFE on the Loveland Bike Trail

A few days ago my sister posted the follow status update on Facebook:
"Just took a walk to Nisbet Park in downtown Loveland and discovered a cool new "Cafe" on the bike trail! (used to be a BBQ Grille) They serve sandwiches, organic meats, vegetables, fruit, GRAETER's ICE CREAM, and much more.....check it out if you are on the trail."

The next day I sent her a text message that said "I want to go that restaurant."  We planned a bike ride on the Loveland Trail and ended at the CAFE just before the torrential downpours on Sunday and split the Crab Cake salad and the Vegetarian Panini.

As much as my sister raved about the place I had my doubts.  I was familiar with the location and knew the building itself was very small; apparently I equate culinary greatness with a large space.  We dug into the Crab Cake salad and I was speechless.  At first glance I thought the remoulade dressing was going to be heavy and have me overwhelmed after a few bites, but no dice.  I could have eaten this entire salad by myself, which says more about it's deliciousness than it does about the size of my stomach.  The crab cakes were flavorful (all 4 of them) and grilled to perfection, with a slight spicy kick of cayenne perhaps?  They were served over leafy romaine with remoulade dressing, macadamia nuts and currants!  What an amazing combination.  The salad was also topped with 5 slices of pita for the perfect complement.
Next was the vegetarian panini.  I was hesitant ordering this sandwich.  I anticipated the ratatouille could be overbearing with spices and turn the focaccia bread soggy.  Sweet baby Jesus this sandwich was one of the best combinations of flavors and textures I have experienced.  The focaccia was fluffy and had just enough flavors and herbs and spices to mesh nicely with the ratatouille and slice of provolone.  I didn't get to the point with this sandwich where I had "had enough".  I could have kept taking bite after bite simultaneously saying "mm" after each one.  The ratatouille would make a nice side dish for the CAFE's other sandwiches.  It had so much smokey flavor and some charred pieces of vegetables added even more texture and variety.

Sandwiches are served with a side and we went with watermelon; they were out of fruit salad and chips.  But, like everything else we tried, the watermelon was perfect too.  Sweet and juicy and cut into manageable slices.  Just enough sweetness to go along with our savory dishes.
My nephew ordered the kid's panini which was a grilled cheese sandwich with cool "panini lines".  I asked him how his grilled cheese was and he said "it's not grilled cheese, it's panini."  Pardon me.  My niece ate the free peanuts the CAFE provides at their ordering window.  I also spotted a container of dog treats for furry friends.

After some research (1 Facebook page view and 1 website) I learned that the CAFE is owned/operated by Loveland Chef, which is a personal chef and catering business that offers culinary services to some northern Cincinnati suburbs.  Their Facebook page provides helpful information.

How can you not like a restaurant that is dog friendly, serves mostly organic local fare and has food offerings that are out of this world?  The CAFE on the Loveland Bike Trail is the unexpected pot of gold you will find at the end of this rainbow. 
CAFE on the Loveland Bike Trail on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. Great review! This has become my family's new favorite spot in Loveland. The ratatouille sandwich is one of the best sandwiches I have ever eaten. It is so nice to have some delicious vegetarian options other than a cheese sandwich or Gardenburger.