Trouble With Toast

Alon’s: Pricey, but Pretty | September 1, 2009

On our way back from doggie obedience class this past Saturday, Jason and I were hungry for lunch but not interested in our usual Subway (the limited options of this diet are starting to get to me).  I decided that it would be the perfect time to try Alon’s, a bakery/restaurant I’d heard about for quite some time.  Nestled in the Morningside neighborhood (past Virginia Highlands), Alon’s sells a variety of salads, sandwiches, and prepared foods that you can eat there or take to-go.  They also offer various breads, cheese, chocolates, and gift baskets.  Think of a gourmet market (like Dean & Deluca or something), but then make it local, and you’ll have the vibe of Alon’s.

I ordered a portobello sandwich, which came on rosemary focaccia with spinach, swiss cheese, and Thai basil pesto.  Jason opted for the French Connection salad (field greens, Anjou pears, spiced pecans, and a port vinaigrette) with grilled chicken.  We also added a small container of curried Israeli couscous, which had peppers, sun dried tomatoes, and apricots.  We also grabbed a Diet Dr. Brown’s cream soda (my fave) and a Pellegrino to drink.  The staff was friendly and efficient, despite the place being packed with people (the space is a bit cramped, and the only seating is outdoors).

The first thing we noticed was that the portions were larger than anticipated.  My sandwich was chock full of shroomy goodness, and there was no shortage of spinach or cheese.  The bread was very fresh and tasty, the ingredients were high quality, and the flavors worked well together.  My only complaint was that I would have preferred a hot version–the cold spinach took on a bit of a slimy consistency that wasn’t the most appealing.  Jason’s salad was absolutely lovely, with a healthy helping of grilled chicken on top.  The pears were crisp and refreshing, and the pecans contributed a spicy crunch, but my favorite part of the dish was the delicious dressing.  The couscous salad was good, but not great–it was a bit too sweet for my liking.

Our lunch cost just over $25, which is definitely on the higher side of what I prefer to pay for sandwiches and salads.  Next time, we’ll skip the fancy drinks and bring our own bottled water, and we’ll know not to order a side dish (we were too full to really enjoy it anyway).  We’ll definitely be back, though, as Alon’s is a nice change of pace from standard lunch fare.

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