Dining Out: Grab a great sandwich at Cream & Sugar

Cafe adds location with skilled service, fresh baked goods

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Why: Cream & Sugar owners Joel Nehm and Joseph Nutting recently opened a third location. Sandwiches are made at the cafe with bread baked fresh daily, and a small selection of pastries, which include cookies, are also made fresh every day. Many customers stop in for a lunch box to go — a wholesome alternative to many fast food options.

Atmosphere: Purple, black, and gray create a cool basic foundation for the uncomplicated decor of the cafe. The order counter is opposite the dining space, which holds approximately 20 guests, and a few colorful paintings decorate a portion of one wall.

I found the decor a bit on the bare side and the temperature a little chilly — less welcoming than I'd expected.

What I Tried: I settled on the Pesto Primo sandwich made with sliced turkey, provolone cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, pesto, and a ranch aioli. I also took home a brownie, a French toast muffin, a chocolate chip cookie, a double chocolate chip cookie, a snickerdoodle cookie, and a peanut butter milk chocolate cookie. In addition, I had an Americano, to which I added some cream.

The bread used to make the sandwich is topped with pesto. I found it was enough to add flavor, not so much as to overwhelm. Although I requested "light on the aioli," I received what seemed to me a regular amount. In spite of this, the sandwich was delicious. The ingredients were fresh, the bread was soft with fresh-baked goodness, and the sandwich had an overall nourishing, homemade quality.

All four cookies were scrumptious. I really couldn't settle on one favorite. I appreciated the texture, without the feeling of granulated sugar that I find unappetizing and all too common in "homemade" cafe cookies.

The brownie had a slight crust around the edge and was moist, on the verge of gooey, within. I detected just a few chocolate chips and pecans, completing the brownie's classic profile.

The French toast muffin was iced and had a flavor similar to a very light spice cake. I thought nutmeg and cinnamon would have been the perfect pair of spices to emphasize to bring some French toast flair to the muffin.

The Americano was just as I'd expected and super-hot.

Menu Highlights Beyond What I Tried: The Turkey & Havarti and Chipotle Turkey sandwiches are favorites of regular customers. I thought the Sweet & Spicy Thai salad, made with grilled chicken, crunchy noodles, sweet chili sauce, and creamy Thai dressing, sounded tasty.

On Fridays, Cream & Sugar serves Biscuits & Gravy.

Other Observations: The service was friendly, and my order was prepared quickly.

I arrived just before the lunch crowd, and although there were only two people working behind the counter, each customer's order was taken without rush and prepared with utmost efficiency. Each was greeted and treated in the same friendly manner that I had experienced.

Cost: Bagel Breakfast Sandwiches are $4.99. Oatmeal is $3.49. You may also create your own breakfast sandwich, wrap or scramble for $3.75. A Lunch Box, which includes a sandwich, wrap or salad; fruit, chips, or a cookie; and a beverage, is $7.98. Half-sandwiches cost $4.49. A bowl of soup is $3.75. Soup and a half-sandwich costs $6.49. Lunch salads and wraps are all under $6, as are whole sandwiches. Coffee drinks, tea and smoothies come in 12-ounce, 16-ounce, and 20-ounce sizes and range from $1.70 to $4.50.

Hours: 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Telephone: 360-735-5927

Where: 309 E. 15th St., Suite B, Vancouver.

Cream & Sugar's other locations are in the Vancouver Center Building, 700 Washington St. (to go), and inside the Education Service District, 2500 N.E. 65th Ave.

Web:creamsugarcafe.com.

Health Score: Cream & Sugar has received a pre-opening inspection at its 15th Street address and is scheduled for a routine inspection in the near future. Zero is a perfect score, and Clark County Public Health closes restaurants that score 100 or higher. For information, call 360-397-8428.