Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Mickey's Lakeside Café

My favorite solo lunch spots are those that are not crazy-busy, have both healthy and decadent options, and have a laid-back atmosphere where I can read, people watch, or just check out the scenery. Mickey’s Lakeside Café offers all of the above.

This charming café located at Lake Ella offers two rooms of indoor seating and outdoor seating just feet away from the lake. The indoor seating in the back room is quiet and has a nice lake-view window and the minimally decorated café is scattered with wooden tables and chairs. It is not the chicest place in town, but it is warm and welcoming.

Mickey’s menu offers an array of soups, salads and sandwiches made with Boar’s Head meats. The salad selections were nothing to write home about, however, the sandwich and quiche options were a bit more diverse. Sandwiches range from the Cuban to the Mickey’s Roast Beef with grilled onions, sweet red peppers and mozzarella on pressed Ciabatta; and the Real Chicago Dog made with an all-beef hotdog, mustard, onion, relish tomatoes, peppers and celery salt. The quiche selection includes a spinach quiche or the quiche-of-the-day, which was a choice between tomato-basil or artichoke and goat cheese during my visit.

 I was in the mood for something on the lighter side, so I went with the Grilled Veggie sandwich. The first bite – heaven! The warm Ciabatta was crisp and paired well with tender eggplant, zucchini, peppers, onion, mozzarella, and pesto, creating a great combination of textures and flavors. The second bite brought me back a little closer to earth, revealing the need for just a pinch of salt on the eggplant. The sandwich was served with a choice of chips or coleslaw. I’m usually hesitant about coleslaw, but I decided to be adventurous and give Mickey’s a try. The coleslaw had a nice crunch, but lacked the zippy flavor my server promised. However, it was not over-dressed, which is something I appreciate, especially with mayonnaise-based dressing.

 My overall experience at Mickey’s was good. Enjoyed a good book, watched the walkers go by, and ate a good meal. I will definitely visit again.

 Mickey’s Lakeside Café is located at 1611 North Monroe Street in the Cottage of Lake Ella. Its lunch hours are Tuesday through Saturday 11:00 a.m.-3 p.m. with extended hours and food/drink specials on Friday until 7 p.m. The phone number is 850-222-9709.

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Soup Swift Café and Catering

Each time I eat at Soup Swift, I want to curl up in a ball and purr like a kitten. This small café offers an ever-changing menu of soups, salads, sandwiches and pastries. However, if you are looking for a run-of-the-mill turkey sandwich and chicken noodle soup, this is not the place for you.

Soup Swift’s gourmet fare caters to meat-eaters, vegetarians, and vegans alike, and can include items such as Crab Cake Sliders, Chicken Sausage Quiche, and a Chilled Lemon Drop Melon with Pear Soup. My all-time favorite menu item is the Butternut Squash Bisque, which is so creamy and has such depth to its flavor that nothing, not even Tallahassee’s 95-plus degree weather in July, can keep me from ordering it whenever it appears on the menu.

I usually pair my soup with one of the salad options which never cease to amaze me. During the fall and winter, they have offered a Stuffed Acorn Squash which is all sorts of wonderful, with its combination of grains, dried fruits, nuts, and/or veggies.  The quiche selection is just as appealing as the soups and salads, and include combinations such as goat cheese and butternut squash, broccoli and chicken sausage, and corn soufflé.
Butternut Squash Bisque and Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese

And last, but not least, the desserts. Oh the desserts. While some of their soups and salads may seem  too exotic or unusual to the casual diner, Soup Swift’s desserts can definitely please the masses. Traditional chocolate chip, peanut butter, and oatmeal raisin cookies are almost always available, as well as a lemon pound cake that simply melts in your mouth. They also occasionally offer a Rosemary Citrus Olive Oil Cake, that I have yet to try, but is definitely on my to-do list.     

Soup Swift is an intimate space with indoor and outdoor seating. It is not exactly the place to have an office luncheon, but that is not a problem, because it offers a “crock pot” catering service which includes delivery and pick-up. 

Soup Swift is located at 2510 Miccosukee Road. It is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and delivers from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The phone number is 850-576-SOUP. The daily menu is available at

Soup Swift on Urbanspoon