This is Marie, talking about a cute little restaurant in Florence, Alabama called Bookmarks that we visited as a part of Florence Restaurant Week. It’s located in the same building as the Florence-Lauderdale Public Library, and more libraries need to do this. My goodness, how are you going to compete with a bookstore if you don’t have caffeine attached physically to the building, people? Make it hip! Plus, 100% of the proceeds from the shop go directly to fund library books, materials and programs.
Giddiness aside (can you tell I’m channeling the caffeine?) this is a worthwhile place to visit. The selection of coffees I can’t comment on, though the girlchild swooned over her drink and told the barista that she liked their work better than the competition who inhabits bookstores. The teas, however, were delightful. They had an absolutely wonderful option of a smelling selection for the teas which allows the customer to check out unfamiliar varieties before making a purchase. Sadly, my photo of the tea selection was, ahem, “low-res” and not really suitable for sharing.
I think I would have chosen the same selection even without a sniff first, just because of the name. Maya’s “Blue Lady Black” is similar to Lady Grey tea with floral and citrus notes. I’d thought at first it had blueberry based on the name, but those colored bits are actually flower petals. I’m not a huge bergamot fan, but this blend just made me happy. Here’s a better picture from the actual website that sells the stuff.
If I lived here, though, I would have to work my way through the other kinds as well, of course. The Four Horsemen and the Blackberry Sage both smelled wonderful. And I love those quirky names! I will have to check out their source and order some of the other types.
Of course they also have frozen drinks, with summer coming on, but I was at that point very nearly devoid of caffeine at a time in the morning when I’d normally be on my fourth cup. So hot tea it was, even knowing I’d be bringing it into a hot car after our visit. Grant had a root beer from Jones Soda, which of course you can get anywhere, but it was in glass in the case, and well worth revisiting.
For breakfast I chose what essentially amounts to a grilled cheese sandwich. They serve paninis at this shop, which are of course fancy cheese sandwiches with extras, but you know…what really goes better with a good book and some tea than something gooey and delicious? And the panini grill makes such adorable lines on the bread. It tastes better just because it looks cool. Although if I’d been thinking at all, I would have paid attention to the East of Eden option and taken that instead. Cheese and spinach are happier together. The girlchild also had a panini and declared it adequate; she had to wait on it for a bit, but enjoyed her iced latte sugar coffee thing meanwhile.
I was slightly distracted by my toddler, who enjoyed his yogurt (ordinary grocery store type) so much that he somehow got it into his eyelashes. He then went into the delightful children’s section of the library and dove into the Clifford’s Doghouse that they have in the middle. He had so much fun I didn’t even get to read him any books.
(As noted, this was a media event held by Florence Main Street. A portion of our meal was complimentary, and accommodations were provided. It’s our policy to always note when we’ve received our meal without charge. If you would like to invite us to your restaurant or your city’s media events, please drop Grant a line at firstname.lastname@example.org .)
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