October 14, 2005
Deb Luce Ashby’s first restaurant opened on Main Street, Kansas City, MO, in June 1997. She purchased Mildred’s Coffeehouse, in downtown Overland Park, two years later. As the Crossroads District surged to life, Ashby waited for just the right piece of property to come along she before opened Mildred’s in the Crossroads, 1821 Wyandotte, last May.
“I think this neighborhood is lots and lots of fun, and it’s so full of creative enterprises,” Ashby said. Her son, Trevor, manages this Mildred’s.
I enjoyed a Fruit Smoothie ($2.95) as I waited for a friend to arrive on a steamy afternoon. The cool, refreshing purple-red concoction included strawberries, bananas and apple juice but seemed a bit watery.
I surveyed my casual urban surroundings. Lucite and wood chairs surrounded tables in the bright and airy room with a polished cement floor, a high, tin-faced ceiling, exposed brick walls and huge picture windows. Sleek, leather-strap chairs and tall stools filled a “lounge” and coffee bar.
When Sheila arrived she ordered a cream cheese and veggie sandwich and also an egg salad sandwich ($5.99). Due to miscommunication between her and the server, the original plate featured a hummus sandwich, but he quickly delivered the correct order.
Served on wheat bread, the cream cheese sandwich featured thin-sliced cucumber, tomato and carrot slices accompanied by a liberal spread of cheese. An herbal cream cheese or heavy sprinkling of dill would add pizzazz to this fresh offering.
I sampled and appreciated Sheila’s egg salad sandwich. I have never liked pickles in egg salad. This version featured just the right amount of mayo and touch of Dijon for my taste buds, with bits of red onion and celery, tomato slices and red lettuce.
I enjoyed the savory goodness of an open-faced sandwich special that featured mounds of thinly sliced lean beef, serious blue cheese crumbles and a bite derived from generous sprinkles of black pepper ($5.99), atop marble rye bread. Potato chips and a small bunch of deep red grapes completed the plate. A bit of salad, perhaps with slightly sweet vinaigrette, would be a nice substitute for chips.
During another lunch visit, Kerri’s very pretty Albacore Tuna Salad ($6.79) featured what looked like half a pound of flaky Albacore served atop field greens. Occasional grapefruit and avocado segments, thin-cut cucumber slices, and waffle-cut radish slices added color and crunch. The salad could have used more citrus-soy vinaigrette and tropical fruit chutney, and a little less tuna.
My Spinach Salad ($6.49) featured a huge mound of brilliant dark green baby spinach leaves, topped with fanned hard-boiled egg, cucumber, and carrot slices, plenty of feta cheese crumbles and tender bits of real bacon. I wanted more warm bacon dressing with a bit more sweetness.
Kerri and I ordered iced Mocha (12 oz. for $3.15) and iced Oregon Chai (16 oz. for $2.95) to accompany our meal.
My cool, spicy tea effectively zapped the outdoor heat. But one sip of Kerri’s Mocha — a blend of espresso and Ghirardelli chocolate — transported me to a cozy room with a roaring fireplace and a gentle snowfall outside, despite its icy quality. These were only two of 13 specialty coffee, tea, hot chocolate and “steamer” drink options.
Mildred’s also shines in the dessert department. A four-inch-diameter oatmeal cookie ($1.29) burst with raisins and combined soft homemade goodness with the slightest bit of crunch. The Peanut Butter Brownie ($1.79) was a perfect merger of ultra-dense brownie with creamy, fresh peanut butter icing. And the cinnamon roll ($1.79) had avowed chocolate lover, Sheila, proclaiming it was even better than my brownie. Freshly baked scones and muffins, cookie bars and soft biscotti are other dessert options.
Our water glasses never reached empty and dishes were cleared quickly throughout both visits. Orders were taken at our table, although several other customers ordered at the counter. I paid at the table the first time. However, upon seeing others pay at the register the second time, I followed suit. It was all a bit confusing.
But maybe that’s because I’m not a regular yet. A few more visits and Trevor may sit down for a chat with me, when the pace slows in the kitchen
Lisa Waterman Gray can be contacted at email@example.com.
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