While Mack was occupied at BarCampCalgary, I played tourist and had lunch at Caffè Artigiano (Unit 100, Centrum Place, 332 6 Avenue SW). A west coast import that had coffee aficionado John Manzo, among others, excited about its first location outside of metro Vancouver, I wanted to see for myself what all the hype was about.
Occupying a rather large storefront in an office tower, the high ceilinged space resembles a European lair more than a typical café at first glance. A pedway positioned above Caffè Artigiano and its neighbours prevented much natural light from coming through – but perhaps the designers preferred it that way – the dark furniture and earth toned walls absorbed what sunlight did trickle through.
Peering into the cooler that contained an assortment of premade sandwiches, wraps and treats, I decided upon the Chicken and Brie Panino ($8.59) for my main course. A Spanish Latte ($3.59), which the clerk explained to me was a latte with a bit of condensed milk added, completed my meal.
I sat down at a large table fit for a library to await my food and drink. Lucky for me, Caffè Artigiano subscribes to a number of papers (including my favorite, The Globe & Mail), and like a library, affixes each edition onto a large wooden rod.
A few minutes later, my drink was called. Beautifully presented with an artful rosetta design, I almost didn’t want to take the first sip. I did, of course, and found that the latte walked the fine line between the jolt of a strong espresso and the creamy smoothness of milk, accented as a whole with just a hint of sweetness.
My panino, served with a small cup of coleslaw, was equally satisfying. Generously filled with chicken, cheese, then grilled, it left me full but not stuffed. While the chicken was a touch dry, the thin spread of fig jam helped alleviate somewhat parched bites.
I still struggle with the idea of having to pay nearly $10 for a sandwich in a coffee shop (granted, Caffè Artigiano is not just any coffee shop). So although I may be back for another cup of coffee, I would probably head elsewhere for something to eat first.
Chicken and Brie Panino and a Spanish Latte