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Challenging Elements: Honey


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Sun Rose Cafe is just the sort of place downtown Longmont needed: a classy gourmet soup, salad and sandwich place for those daytime shoppers or early evening commuters looking for a good, solid meal.

I’d eaten at Sun Rose several times, and thoroughly enjoyed their beautiful salads and gourmet sandwiches, both piled high with ingredients of the highest quality, so I was excited to give them a challenge and see what chef and owner Steven Carlson and his wife and co-owner, Susan, would come up with.

When the Carlsons moved to Longmont from Chicago, where they ran a very successful gastro pub, they had a vision of the kind of restaurant they wanted to open. And when the space on Main Street, formerly occupied by the City Newsstand, became available, they snapped it up. Much of the charm of the historic building remains: beautiful sculpted metal ceilings, wood floors and stained glass.

Unfortunately, with that historic charm came some parts that weren’t up to code, so their dreams of a full kitchen had to be put on hold. Everything they do at Sun Rose they do with a panini press and a hot plate.

The secret ingredient for Sun Rose Café was honey, and they chose a local variety from Madhava. Combined with beautiful browned butter, the honey was drizzled over a sourdough crostini spread with smoked Haystack goat cheese and topped with slivers of finely shaved Serrano ham. Carlson served the crostini with a side salad dressed in their bright and flavorful sweet basil vinaigrette, the base of which is also honey, and topped with toasted pecans and a little crumbled Stilton.

The result was a beautiful light lunch with flare. The salty ham and goat cheese played off the sweetness of the honey and the butter, and I was already a fan of the sweet basil vinaigrette, but the honey in the dressing complimented the browned butter sauce to complete the meal.

With free WiFi, local art adorning the walls and a gluten-free menu, Sun Rose Cafe is what a local sandwich shop ought to be. The sunny atmosphere and friendly owners draw you in and make you want to linger over your artisan bread, fresh produce, fine cheeses and superb deli meats. Order a glass of lavender-infused lemonade and sit a spell.

Stop in for breakfast or lunch and order the honey brown butter crostini in August at Sun Rose Café, 379 Main St. in Longmont, or visit sunrosecafe.com for menus and other information.

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Lacy is an award-winning food writer and blogger. She lives in Westminster with her family. Google

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