D.K. Crawford

 

“Work is too much a part of life not to recognize moments of achievement. Make a big deal out of them. If you don’t, no one will.” — Jack Welch

After years of anticipation, My Florist opened for lunch Dec. 12. There was no grand opening or public announcement; someone simply answered the phone other than the manager. Having this café commence without fanfare is akin to Howard Hughes sneaking the Spruce Goose out of the hangar for a maiden voyage without the public realizing. It seems anticlimactic. But at last we finally have something tangible to taste.

I prefer to call this a preview instead of a review because My Florist, though open, isn’t fully functioning. They are serving a lunch/dinner menu until 11 p.m. and hope to start their breakfast menu by the end of next week. They do not yet have their full liquor license, so shelve that craving for a Mojito or Cosmo and think wine or beer.

The bakery in the back of the restaurant is open, but the shelves and tables aren’t in. There were fresh loaves of ciabatta, cranberry hazelnut and sunflower bread, cheese and lemon tarts, cinnamon rolls and croissants. I sampled the lemon (curd) tart made with croissant dough and the rich, deep, chocolate-filled croissant and both were rich, buttery and simply addictive!

In the daytime, My Florist is a light, bright, modern open-air café. At night, the volume is turned up, literally, as the blue-purple neon lights and chic club atmosphere come to life. As you walk into the outer café it has a high-end industrial aesthetic — like an airplane hangar in Manhattan. There are glass walls with steel crossbeams. Molded blue chairs bracket the chrome tables of the veranda and projected videos play on a silver wall. Large images of Usher, Jessica Simpson and Fergalicious Fergie distracted me as I walked into the dining area.

On the interior a black lacquered concert grand piano vies for attention with a huge silver statue named Flash. Flash held the lone holiday decoration from his crude block hand — a silver metal star. The staff was eager, dressed in their slate blue shirts and black ties. Blond male twins worked the bar.

The current menu features 11 creative salads, 12 sandwiches and two wraps. There are a handful of appetizers, a daily soup and two vegetarian sandwiches not including the fancy PB & J and cheese sandwich. The wine list starts with an Italian Prosecco and ends with a Meritage from Napa. It is a well-rounded, diverse list that includes more unusual finds like Gewürztraminer and Rivola.

My dining companion and I started with the My Florist Chips & Salsa. Then I had the Turkey & Brie Sandwich and she had The Portobello. We were intrigued by the description of the appetizer.

“I’ve never had chips and salsa where there are no actual chips,” posited my friend Shelly. The chips are thinly sliced, crisply toasted pieces of baguette, like crostini, sprinkled with chili powder and a hint of jalapeno jack cheese. They are accompanied by fresh avocado slices and house-made salsa.

“This bread is amazing,” said Shelly. But she noted that the tomato paste flavor of the salsa was too prevalent, and I agreed.

My sandwich was sliced turkey served on pumpernickel bread. Again, the bread was phenomenal. The cranberry relish was imbued with fresh jalapeno that added a fruity, spicy hint to the Brie and turkey. It’s a good holiday sandwich when you are craving that combination of flavors.

Shelly loved her Portobello sandwich, but its ingredients, (roasted portobellos, caramelized onions, eggplant, provolone and red pepper), tumbled out with each bite.

“This is not a good date sandwich,” she joked. Her bread, garlic butter and pesto brushed rosemary foccacia was “delicious,” and she really liked the eggplant.

I leave you with the mystery I faced at the restrooms.

“Be careful when you go in there, the lighting is a little crazy,” warned a waiter. I won’t spoil it, but indeed, I could hardly see when I came out.

My Florist’s menu centers on its baked goods (which so far are amazing) and clever flavor combinations. I am so pleased there is a café downtown that serves food until 11 p.m. Now if only we could work on that grand opening …