Why: It's been just more than two years since Latte Da Coffee House & Wine Bar opened for business. In that time, the inviting coffee house has become a staple of the Lincoln neighborhood. A recent change brings breakfast sandwiches and biscuits and gravy to the menu.
In addition to food, coffee and wine, owner Scott Flury serves up music and art events, cultural and social opportunities that enhance Latte Da's appeal to the community.
Atmosphere: The combined coffee house and wine bar feels more like a home than a workplace.
Every room of the houselike setting offers cozy seating arrangements to accommodate one to several diners. Outdoor patio seating is available as well, with benches set around a fire pit adjacent to the wine bar that opens up to the patio area via a roll-up door.
Inside, honey-colored wood flooring is complemented by tan- and mocha-painted walls trimmed with white casings around windows and doors.
Local artwork is on display, and board games and books are on hand for those who desire to indulge.
What I tried: I tried the Biscuits & Gravy with a cup of coffee, and my dining companion had a slice of Spinach Quiche with a sugar-free, decaffeinated, vanilla Latte.
Biscuits are made at Bleu Door Bakery, and the gravy is made in house. The biscuits were soft inside with a firm exterior, yet still manageable with a fork. The gravy was thick but not too heavy, with texture and flavor from a generous amount of sausage. A few larger crumbles topped off the dish. Although biscuits and gravy can vary from plain to herb-laden, this dish reflected a classic homemade recipe.
My dining companion enjoyed the quiche, made with a thick layer of spinach near the bottom and a thick layer of cheese on top. Much of the egg mixture filled the space between the two. The crust was flaky like phyllo dough.
My companion's sugar-free, decaffeinated, vanilla Latte was just as she ordered, which seemed nearly sacrilege to me: Could it still be a real latte? To each his or her own; she enjoyed it.
My coffee was robust and deliciously complex in flavor.
Menu highlights beyond what I tried: Bacon or sausage breakfast sandwiches are made-to-order on either an English muffin or bagel.
The Rockin' Roast Beef wrap — with chipotle mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato, onion and pepper jack cheese — sounds like a tasty lunch option. The Mediterranean Experience, which includes stuffed grape leaves, olives, roasted red pepper, hummus, feta cheese and naan, could pair well with wine.
Caffé D'arte is the coffee of choice at Latte Da. This is one of my personal favorites for its esteemed profile and the complex, interesting flavor of a fine Italian artisan coffee.
The wine menu focuses on local wines, but there is one from Portugal and one from Argentina as well. Latte Da offers a beer of the month.
Other observations: Biscuits & Gravy is served only from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
The service was friendly, and our order was swiftly prepared. I enjoyed the unrushed atmosphere, substantial fare and overall experience of my visit. It exceeded my expectations. The only downside was the limited street-side parking.
Check Latte Da's website for a calendar of upcoming events.
Cost: Breakfast sandwiches, quiche, and oatmeal are just less than $5. Biscuits & Gravy costs $6.75 for a whole order or $4.75 for a half-order. Pastries range from $1.50 to $4.50. Sandwiches served with potato salad or chips are $6.49 to $7.49. Wraps are $7.99. Soup is $3.25 for a cup, $4.99 for a bowl. Small plates and salads start at $5.99 and top out at $6.99. Coffee and espresso beverages in 12-ounce, 16-ounce and 20-ounce cups are $1.57 to $3.99.
Hours: 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Where: 205 E. 39th St., Vancouver.
Health score: Latte Da received a score of 0 on Jan. 28. Zero is a perfect score, and Clark County Public Health closes restaurants that score 100 or higher. For information, call 360-397-8428.