Angel of Sparks

Kathy Sutter is one of the multitaskers at Blue Angel Coffee Etc., Sparks’ sparkly new coffeehouse/music venue/mostly vegetarian restaurant.

Kathy Sutter is one of the multitaskers at Blue Angel Coffee Etc., Sparks’ sparkly new coffeehouse/music venue/mostly vegetarian restaurant.

Photo By David Robert

Don’t let the word “coffee” in Blue Angel Coffee Etc. fool you into thinking it’s some quaint little house of espresso. Blue Angel has lots to offer. There’s breakfast, lunch and dinner. There’s lots of parking. There’s lots of original art and jewelry. There are lots of smoothies and sweets (mostly vegan or wheat-free). There’s lots of space, and every month, there are lots of events to fill that space, everything from yoga to all-day band bashes to movie nights. The only thing missing is lots of people.

My friend Bob and I showed up at 7 p.m. on a Saturday. We were the only customers in the large, open restaurant that smelled of baking peanut butter cookies. It felt like we were breaking some long-kept silence. The employees initiated friendly chitchat, informing us that the bands Space Case and Denali would start around 9 p.m. Alison, who would be cooking our food, pointed out that her band, The Cat’s Meow, would be playing near the end of March.

“Do a lot of people come for the shows?” I asked.

“It depends on who’s playing,” the forthcoming guy taking our order said. “Some nights will be pretty slow, and last weekend was so packed I was ready to lose it.”

Bob and I ordered slowly. There were a variety of meal options, including selections for people with gluten sensitivities and animal product animosities. As a predominantly vegetarian restaurant, Blue Angel doesn’t shun meat lovers or make them feel like outsiders when they want to throw some steak on top of their tofu. Along with vegetarian fare, Blue Angel serves antibiotic and hormone-free hamburgers and buffalo burgers ($6.95).

Bob was tempted by the buffalo burger. However, I coerced him into ordering something I wouldn’t mind nibbling from: the portobello mushroom burger ($6.95). I ordered the rice bowl ($5.95) with tofu ($1.25 extra).

After the emptiness, I noticed how comfy and classy Blue Angel is. The flooring is beautiful stained cement, and the walls are painted a happy, sunshiny yellow. People have the option of sitting on couches or at computers. Bob and I sat at a table with a built-in checkerboard in a bright front window. Our food was served 10 minutes after we ordered on mismatched dishes and with worn silverware that gave the snug impression of dining at home.

“This portobello burger needs some cow,” Bob said. When I had a bite, I thought cow would have ruined the powerfully tasty combination of hummus, mushroom, soy sauce, cheese, carrots and cucumbers.

The untraditional yam fries were a nice addition, sweet and salty, potently seasoned with cinnamon and cayenne.

My rice bowl was also nicely spiced. Alison had sprinkled ginger powder over the already flavorful brown rice, carrots, zucchini, yellow squash and tofu. I liked it so much I pretty much inhaled it, which left me more than ready to sample desserts. Bob and I shared a vegan chocolate chip cookie bar ($1.50), a hand-sized piece of wheat-free gingerbread cake with citrus frosting ($2) and a wheat-free apple cake with cream cheese frosting ($2). All were extremely yummy and rich, especially considering their lack of ingredients that might be thought crucial.

Blue Angel is striving to do a lot by offering healthy food and dynamic entertainment in a cozy environment. It fills the need for an all-ages, open-all-the-time restaurant and venue and deserves the patronage of people who like "lots" of choice.