Saturday, June 10, 2006
Urban charm and contemporary comfort food personified. Sacramento, and the gay community in particular, has been in dire need of cafe that offers classy coffee, a savory menu, and a swass attitude and atmosphere.
Butch-N-Nellie's Coffee Co. did all that and then some.
A year after it's opening, Butch-N-Nellie's is probably one of the most enjoyable places in Sacramento. This is all thanks to the creative power of Liz Phillips and Kristi Bielski, who had a hell of a time opening the place, but thankfully followed through to the end. Entering the cafe, you'll find it warm and welcoming. The inside is clean and contemporary, with an emo edge. Bold colors invite you in and right away the dessert case entices you with chocolate dog topped treats and an encouraging chalked up menu hangs from above. Yet it's the personal touches that really bring the place together; local artist's canvases cover the colorful walls, and board games await any group of friends wishing to escape their busy lives. The tables are functional and simple, the chairs and couches leather and tempting you to plop down and play with your laptop on the free WiFi and update your blog for hours.
A large flat screen TV can keep you up with the news, or if you need to get a study group or meeting ready, a private room in the back can be reserved. Your favorite pooch is also more than welcome and can even get a treat when they drop by! It's little touches like this that don't make this another run of the mill mom-n-pop's cafe, but a wonderful meeting place and new Sacramento culinary comfort cornerstone.
Ah but the food. First off, it's nice to finally see a cafe staff properly trained. The mocha wasn't burnt in the slightest. It was coffee, some chocolate taste, an artful syrup swirl on a frothy top. It was what a mocha should be. My Mexican Hot Chocolate, one of their many signature drinks, was on the spot. Using whole milk and a bit of cream (per my request), chocolate, real cinnamon and cinnamon syrup. No chilli pepper, but thats a personal thing. Regardless, this was the best hot cocoa ever. Hands. Effin'. Down.
Rob and I both had paninis which were made fresh. No pre-packaged here. Desserts are made by Carina's Creations fresh daily, and everything else is made to order, much unlike many other chain cafes. I had mine with proscuitto and swiss, and Rob had turkey and swiss. Both sandwiches were adorned with garlic mayo, kalamata olives (joy!), mustard, pepper mix, and sundried tomatoes. Total mouth orgy. I was about ready to eat Rob's food too, but he slapped my hands away.
The tomato, basil, and gorgonzola soup was filling. There was so much gogonzola melted in, and so many chunks of tomatoes, that it was a meal in itself and I found myself unable to finish. Rob decided to go sans soup and get more panini and some chips, and lets face it, you can't go wrong with chips.
Each dish was accompanied with a piece of gum as well. A cute personal touch, and as a gum addict, one that made me smile from cheek to cheek to get a free fix.
The only downside of the experience were the smoothies. Nothing but really ice and juice, no fruit or yogurt. I suggest you head to jamba juice for smoothies or make em' yerself. Other than that, everything was very cafe top notch.
I never got to eat any desset, I was too damn stuffed. I plan to head back next time and maybe order a cake for myself, then sinfully gorge myself.
Overall, I would give Butch-N-Nellie's a 4.5 out of 5. Needless to say, no string of superlatives could do this place justice. The food and coffee, top-notch. The staff, friendly and skilled. The atmosphere, snazzy and snuggly. Go grab your favorite four-legged friend, best bud, or laptop, and relax.
Butch-N-Nellie's Coffee Co.
1827 I Street
Sacramento, CA 95816