As cooler weather comes to town, nothing makes the body feel better than hot baked goods and coffee. Whether you’re looking for somewhere to grab breakfast, lunch or a caffeine fix – or maybe to not even get out of bed all day – here are some best bets for fall weather comfort food.
Artisan pastries and elegant lunch fare unite Uptown at Rivista Bakery, where a husband and wife team have already achieved quite the impressive following since opening in late spring of this year. Granted, Lisa Barbato, the mastermind behind the pastries, is an acclaimed baker who made her name at Crescent City Farmers Market, and husband Chris is the former executive chef at Café Adelaide. Here the duo creates inspired seasonal specialties from frittatas and salads to scones, with all things in between. Pumpkin prevails for fall with pumpkin soup and muffins on tap, and decadent pumpkin brioche cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting perfect for destroying any pilates workout. In hotter months, you’ll find delicate salads topped with octopus , peach tarts and summer squash quiches. But despite the season, heartier sandwiches seem to always be a lunchtime staple, with panini showcasing bot h chefs’ skills and a variety of quality, mainly local, ingredients and expertly baked breads. The lunch menu itself has an Italian twist, always offering the option of a piadino, a sandwich made with tender flat bread. Chef Barbato’s pasta preparations are the showstopper here, with the likes of roasted butternut squash risotto with shrimp and other specialties beckoning for a second helping. Add all that to the fact that local Grammy award-winning musician David Doucet actually works as t he barista part time, and you’ve got yourself an amazing breakfast or lunch experience like nowhere else in the world.
Hivolt Coffee in the Lower Garden District is a fabulous lunch option for healthy-minded folks (with a few sinful exceptions). Here, third wave coffee is the name of the game, with owner Benji Lee and his wife and chef Laura serving pour-over style coffee in a hip, modern café. The menu mainly features vegan and vegetarian cuisine – think vegan Caesar salad and hearty bean soups – that sometimes delve into the tempting, such as a cream cheese stuffed pumpkin muffin. Also tempting are the various breakfast small plates, especially Laura’s housemade ricotta cheese, served simply and beautifully with honey and salt on toasted baguette from Bel legrade Baker y. Breakfast items won’t set you back more than $5, which is a welcome break from extreme pricing with the holidays fast approaching. Lots of folks linger here, as is the custom in most coffee shops these days, but this space is so bright and vibrant – with outdoor seating available – that it begs for a lunch date with friends or maybe an extended coffee break amidst holiday planning and shopping.
Mid-City residents have something quite enviable to look forward to when it’s too cold to get out of bed (or even when it’s not): delivery from breakfast hub Wakin’ Bakin’. Housed in the small former home of Huevos, owners Conrad Chura and Zak Pizzeck, along with their team, turn out a bevy of indulgent morning fa re including Pancrepes (exactly what they sound like) and pain perdu , until well after lunchtime. Biscuits get the royal treatment, with drizzled caramel and a bacon and almon d reduction (including sweet morsels of both) sprinkled on top. Burritos and scrambles round out the savory options, but quite honestly, it’s the bread that has folks in the neighborhood singing Wakin’ Bakin’s praises. Sourdough , baguette , biscuits and Engli sh muffins, all freshly baked in-house, are also av ailable for purchase alongside the daily breakfast menu and are considered some of the best baked goods in town, for those who know about them, that is.
At P’s & Q’s (Pies & Quiches) on Magazine Street, Betsy and Jude Matthews specialize in seasonal sweet and savory pies from ginger pumpkin to a lump crab quiche. These are the P’s & Q’s you’ll actually want to mind.
Hivolt Coffee: 1829 Sophie Wright Place, 324-8818, HivoltCoffee.com
Rivista Bakery: 4426 Magazine St., 371-5558
P’s & Q’s: 5720 Magazine St., 897-5131, PiesAndQuiches.com
Wakin’ Bakin’: 4408 Banks St., 252-0343, WakinBakin.com