Carson City might be our state’s capital but it’s still a small town. I think they now have running water and electricity—I’m kidding, Carson City—but the dining choices are still sparse. Whenever I head back to my old stomping grounds to visit my parents, my usual excitement of scoring a free meal just isn’t there. When they offered to take me to lunch at Artisan Café, I didn’t have high expectations, but instead I ended up with a solid lunch.
Artisan Café is a cozy space with windows facing onto Carson Street, the main drag through Carson City. You order at the counter, which also has a bakery case filled with mini cupcakes, bear claws and muffins. They also have lots of coffee drinks and serve breakfast and lunch. Artisan Café offers a variety of salads, panini and other sandwiches, and wraps. In order to try a little bit of everything, we all decided to go with “this and that,” a special which allows you to combine two items for $6.99. We placed our order and had a seat at one of the tables. Our meal was brought out quickly, so it’s nice to know you could get in and out of here on your lunch break.
My parents went with quiche and a side of Aztec chicken chowder. My dad got the bacon quiche, while my mom went with spinach. The quiches were very pretty and had a layer of toppings on them, but I noticed that with the spinach quiche, the spinach was only on the top and not mixed into the quiche itself. This wasn’t a problem with my dad’s bacon quiche, as it was stuffed and topped with lots of bacon and cheddar cheese. I kind of wish they would combine the bacon and spinach so I could at least pretend the spinach balanced out the bacon and was therefore healthy. The other issue with the quiche was they are pre-made and are nuked in the microwave to heat them back up, which causes the crust to lose its flakiness. The large serving of chowder had flecks of carrots and whole corn kernels. It was really filling and perfect for a cold day.
I went for the Albany panini and an Aztec chicken salad. The panini was crammed full of chunks of chicken, avocado, tomato and basil spread on a focaccia roll. Everything on the panini tasted fresh and they didn’t scrimp on anything. Despite this being half a sandwich, there was more than enough to fill me up, not to mention the large salad that accompanied it. The Aztec salad was filled with black beans, tortilla strips, cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce and cheese served with a side of cilantro ranch. I liked the bright green color of the dressing and the cilantro hints in the ranch were nice touches.
Throughout our meal, various staff members came to make sure we were doing OK and to fill up our iced teas. I appreciated their attentiveness and friendliness. We decided we couldn’t leave without sampling a baked good, so we shared a coconut muffin ($2.10). I’ve never had a coconut muffin before, and I’ve been missing out. Flakes of coconut permeated each light, airy bite. This is a fine muffin, so for next time, there’s no way I’m messing with this “sharing” business.
Overall, I enjoyed my lunch down in the capital city, and I’m glad to see a place like this in town. I can definitely see me hitting my parents up for another lunch here.