Dining Out: Even more comforts than home

At Stonehill, nearly perfect coffee drinks top a pleasant visit

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Why: Though a cup of coffee may be enjoyed at any of La Center’s casino restaurants or at various eateries on the two main streets that contain most of its commerce, La Center can now claim its very own coffee house. The personal residence of Eric and Trudy Stenberg, which not too long ago housed a day care and pre-school, is now home to Stonehill Coffee House — owned and operated by the Stenbergs.

Atmosphere: Trudy Stenberg’s keen sense of style and comfort infuses every aspect of the coffee house. The soothing green exterior carries over to the inside, where a refreshing shade blankets the walls. Trimmed and accented mostly in white, just the right mix of light and dark wood tones adds warmth and sophistication while avoiding trendiness. Cleverly used everyday items bring interest to the uncluttered space. Vintage finds are for sale.

What I tried: I decided on a Latte; my dining companions tried a Cherry Chocolate Mocha with an extra shot of espresso and a straight-up Coffee Mocha. We also sampled the lemon pound cake, supplied through La Center’s Sadie and Josie’s Bakery, which made a fine accompaniment to our steamy beverages.

I was impressed with the latte. I concluded that it was by far the best I’ve had. It made an impressive statement right from the start with its smooth bold flavor. Where other lattes have disappointed me by being too watery, this one was flavorful and brought satisfaction with every sip. The only downside was that I would have enjoyed drinking it out of a mug so I could have better savored the foam. Presently, Stonehill serves all drinks in paper cups, except to visitors who bring their own mugs.

My dining companions were likewise pleased with the quality of their mochas and we all look forward to a return visit when passing through La Center in the future.

We all also concluded that every aspect of our experience, from product, to service, to atmosphere, made our coffee house visit completely gratifying. We left with a heartwarming feeling that one just can’t find in the big city’s coffee stops.

Highlights beyond what I tried: Stonehill Coffee House serves premium Stumptown coffee and a variety of flavorings can be added to drinks according to your preference. Customers who order 12 ounces of their favorite whole-bean Stumptown coffee by Monday may pick it up on Friday.

Other observations: As soon as the city designates parking, more indoor seating will be available for those who want to stay and enjoy their cup of java before taking on the world.

Restrooms are available across the street at City Hall or to the east, at the market.

Cost: Drinks are available in 12-ounce and 16-ounce sizes and range from $1.80 for a 12-ounce House Coffee to $3.80 for a 16-ounce Mocha. Add-ins are 40 cents for flavor, 50 cents for soy or breve and $1 for an extra shot of espresso. Bottled Coke is $1.50 and apple juice is 75 cents.

Hours: 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.

Telephone: 360-909-1599.

Online: http://facebook.com/stonehill.coffeehouse.

Where: 209 E. Fourth St., La Center.

Health Score: Stonehill Coffee House received a perfect score of zero on Aug.10. Clark County Public Health closes restaurants that score 100 or higher. For information, call 360-397-8428.