Monday, May 29, 2006
What's a Coffee Commentary?
Location visited: Collingswood, NJ
Rating: 3+ [see key]
Last week, my parents gave me a call to meet them for lunch. We defaulted to Collingswood since it was halfway between me and home, my mom suggesting a Cuban place called Casona. Not being extremely picky with types of food (as long as it's good), I opted in.
Located on Haddon Ave (west side of Collings Ave) in a refurbished, what-looks-like-a-colonial blue house with a gorgeously structured porch, Casona was a perfect pick for the warm, spring day. To cut to the chase, the food was amazing (a little pricy). The portions ranged from hearty sandwhiches to smaller entrees. Most food was served with plantain chips, which were surprisingly good.
But the reason I'm writing about it was that they had a fully-functional espresso bar (and I'm not saying they served espresso, I'm saying they had a small coffee house within the restaurant). Always hesitant of such an arrangement (quite often such espresso bars get little priority in quality), I was surprised to find it not half bad. The brand of coffee was Lazza(?), a latin-american roaster that I've never heard of (or could find on google).
As far as how they brew the coffee, they had two industrial drip, hot-plate machines, kinda like WaWa, which meant burnt coffee (tear). I tried about 3 oz. and though I could taste the effects of the plate, it was pretty good. A very full but smooth coffee. Hopefully they'll get new coffee hardware.
The tea was Republic of Tea. I didn't have the hot tea but I had an iced pomegranate green tea, which was really good (though I swore it had some kind of artificial sweetner in it). Not a cheap drink but a tasty one for those of you avoiding sweets.
As far as espresso, I can't definitively say thumbs up or down b/c I had a latte (I wasn't in the mood for something strong). The latte itself was good though it seemed a little weak. From what I could tell, the espresso wasn't half bad but I'll have to try it again another day.
Though I didn't get a chance to try anything like the hot chocolate or chai, overall Casona's side coffee bar (which operates seemingly independent from the restaurant) was great. Overall, I'd recommend a trip to Casona for lunch or brunch to try out the food (the prosciutto in the Caesar salad was unbelievable) and a cup of java after.