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Saturday, January 19, 2008

Getting out of the house

With the temperatures below freezing outside, hibernating for the next few months sounds like a great idea. But we're trying to avoid cabin fever by venturing out of the house every once in awhile - and luckily we found a couple of new places worth going out for.

Last weekend, we took the Blue Line up to Western. Nestled under the tracks across from the station is Vella Cafe, a cheerful place that opened last spring. We enjoyed a simple yet satisfying brunch, beginning with the Cafe de Olla Latte. Made with Intelligentsia coffee, this latte is infused with orange, cinnamon, cloves, and brown sugar - a perfect way to warm up on a cold winter morning. Then we tried the sausage frittata panino, one of the cafe's signature items that the owners served at the Green City Market long before they opened their storefront. Not only was the sandwich warm, crispy, and delicious, but the smashers it was served with were addictive. We closed out the relaxing, slow-paced meal with a couple of freshly baked cookies from Vella's pastry counter - a nice finishing touch to a good morning.

Last night, we trekked up to Devon to check out Uncommon Ground's newest location. With plunging temperatures, we really didn't feel like going anywhere - but it turned out to be just the right place to go! Decorated in deep earth tones and featuring a fireplace near the entrance, Uncommon Ground was incredibly cozy and inviting. We enjoyed our entire meal, from the Meditteranean trio and the baked artichoke, goat cheese and pesto dip appetizers to the Ginger Snap mocha for dessert. Just as our coffee was served, the lights dimmed and the live music began - Yoko Noge's Japanesque played an energetic set that helped us forget just hold cold we would be on the way home.

As much fun as we had visiting these two new places, I have to admit that I'm not very motivated to go anywhere else this weekend... I'll just stay here with my blanket and warm tea, hoping for spring to arrive soon!

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