In her opinion:
I was pretty excited when the Brown Dog Coffee Shoppe opened up in Cambridge...its fourth location (they have St. George, Paris and Waterdown locations as well). I heard that their apple fritters were to die for...well that meant we needed to go and try them. I had originally wanted to go for fritters and coffee only, but when Sunday came and lunch time hit, why not go for a meal instead.
Walking into this eatery and frittery, you are welcomed by a warm interior, nice furniture and a wall of food...an apple fritter observation area, a muffin display case, and a long bar where you can sit and watch the open kitchen at work. This is indeed a welcoming space...it is large enough to have a large screen with a comfy sitting area. Overall, the type of place where you can hang out reading and enjoying a coffee, sit and enjoy the company of friends, have lunch or dinner with the family or surf the net with their free wifi.
As I indicated, we went for lunch...not knowing what to expect, I was pleasantly surprised to find a very nice lunch selection. I ordered a diet coke to start. I decided to have the "Quiche du Jour" served with a side salad, bacon or ham. Today's quiche selection was sun-dried tomato, onion, spinach and feta. I choose the "Mama Mia" salad. This consisted of cranberries, cashews, feta, raspberry vinaigrette on spinach.
The quiche was light and fluffy. It reminded me of a similar quiche that I had at Angelina's in Paris, France. Just really really good. The flavour was perfect. I'm glad that I went with the Mama Mia salad. This salad was packed with amazing flavour and textures. It had the chewiness of the cranberries, the crunch of the cashews, the saltiness of the feta and the sweetness of the vinaigrette. A really enjoyable salad.
We ordered a grilled cheese sandwich and a freshly squeezed orange juice for our son. I asked that the grill cheese be made on white bread and that instead of including both the Monterrey and cheddar cheeses that it normally comes with, that it just be made with cheddar.
Let's say that this was delicious sandwich...unfortunately, not processed enough for our super picky son. He ate a quarter of it and said he was done...like I've written before...there's no accounting for taste.
To end our meal, we had to have the apples fritters of course. So I decided to order "Hot and Cold" - three fritters served with ice cream. I was super excited to this dessert.
In a word...excellent! The apple fritters are absolutely out of this world good. They are light, fluffy and flavourful. The apple has the right amount of crunch to it...with the ice cream...I can honestly say I have found my new obsession. So so wonderful.
Overall, this is a very nice new addition to Cambridge's coffee house scene. The food is really good and the fritters are outstanding. We will definitely return.
In his opinion:
It seems to me that specialty coffee places are popping up everywhere these days. It seems that not that long ago, we were stuck having Tim Horton's horrible tasting coffee that only becomes drinkable with its trusty sidekick "cream". Thankfully, things have changed and the choices are plenty.
The Brown Dog is a little different then your average coffee shop. It boasts a very spacious room, with multiple seating areas including a media room where movies are playing non-stop on a big screen and also a kids corner to satisfy the young ones.
This day we decided to actually go for lunch and make a meal of it (no pun intended).
I got myself a vanilla latte and a montecristo sandwich. The latte itself was good, maybe not Starbucks good but good nevertheless. Foamy, tasty and with cinnamon sprinkled on top. The montecristo sandwich was actually much better than the coffee. The bread was panini toasted, with multiple layers of delicious ham, almost non-existent cheese and with a layer of spinach which was a nice touch. It tasted fresh and delicious.
Of course we could not leave the Brown Dog without having their specialty fritters, including their now famous apple fritters. We ordered some to have right there, with a side scoop of ice cream and also some to take away. The fritters are indeed very good, arriving warm and freshly made. My only remark is that the apple slices stay a little too rigid (uncooked) for my taste, but it provided a good contrast in texture to the soft dough of the fritters.
The Good: Great choices of food, good coffee and amazing fritters.
The Bad: The space is a little too large, you feel that even though it's warmly decorated, it still feels a little cold, warehouse like.
The Verdict: Great addition to Cambridge's coffee scene. The free wifi will surely attract the laptop and tablet crowd. The owner is very pleasant and the staff courteous. Overall, a very good place for coffee, fritter or lunch.
I give it 3 out of 5 olives as rating