Excellent | Worth a Detour
Ridgecrest Coffee Bar
Review by: Michael Stern
** THIS RESTAURANT IS PERMANENTLY CLOSED **
Its squat, mobile home-shaped building set back from the highway does little to hint at the charms found inside the Ridgecrest Coffee Bar. Nor does its name give full disclosure. Yes, there’s coffee and it’s fresh and good, as are espresso and cocoa and slushy fruit smoothies — all on a level far above corporate Starbucks cookie-cutter standards. But good as the coffee is, it’s for food I’ll return.
Wonderful muffins: big, blocky things with large stumps under modest tops. The tops do offer the extra crunch that generally makes them the better part of a muffin (especially the crisp streusel top on carrot muffins), but what’s underneath is not second class. Moist, fresh, chockful of apple chunks or berries, the muffin bodies are fragile enough that an easy poke or pinch will separate a bite-size mouthful.
Two kinds of breakfast sandwich are on the menu. A hefty panini comes loaded with thin-sliced ham, egg, and melted white American cheese, its good bread exoskeleton grilled crisp and served hot. A breakfast biscuit, while half the price of a sandwich, is mighty substantial in its own right, made with a sheet of bacon, scrambled eggs, and cheese. The biscuit is a large, gnarled, high-domed circle, energized with the smack of buttermilk, perfectly balanced between soft and crumbly.
Paninis are the featured lunch item, built with the same sturdy bread that makes the breakfast sandwich so good. I love the “Philly Beefsteak” of shaved sirloin, melted American cheese, and caramelized onions, all bound in a robust garlic aioli. Beef also plays a starring role in Ridgecrest’s Black and Blue Salad, where large coils of it share space in the bowl with hunks of Gorgonzola cheese, various lettuces, sliced tomatoes, croutons, and vinaigrette dressing.
|Meals Served||Breakfast, Lunch|
|Credit Cards Accepted||Yes|