Coffee, fresh fare served fast

TAKEOUT

Food at Wannago is generally tasty, portions are large

September 07, 2005|By Tom Waldron | Tom Waldron,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Drive-through coffee places are scarce around here, a mark of cultural deprivation, I suppose.

This year, we added one more when the Wannago Coffee & Cafe opened in the parking lot of the Shops at Kenilworth in Towson.

On a recent visit, we were not there to order lattes from behind the wheel; we were there for the carryout, so we ventured inside Wannago.

It sits in a neat eight-sided building with a copper-colored metal roof. Inside, the high-ceilinged space is decorated with avocado green accents, exposed black air ducts, halogen lamps that hang from the ceiling and racks of display cases holding coffee beans that can be bought in bulk (top price: $34.95 per pound for Jamaican Blue Mountain).

There are no burgers or fries at this cafe. Instead, Wannago offers reasonably priced salads, sandwiches, wraps and paninis - and, of course, all types of coffee drinks. While waiting, I downed a mocha smoothie ($3.94), which was made with chocolate syrup, half-and-half, ice and two shots of espresso. Pow!

Service was friendly and quick.

Back home, the food turned out to be freshly made, generally tasty and big enough to feed our group and then some.

Of the two soup offerings, we tried the New England clam chowder ($2.95). I'm not sure why the cafe was serving chowder on a hot summer day, but it was thick and unremarkable.

The four-cheese panini ($5.95) was wonderful - provolone, cheddar, American and Swiss cheeses and tangy sun-dried tomatoes cooked up in a delicious sourdough roll. We also enjoyed the grilled chicken salad ($6.50), which featured a nice selection of greens, grilled chicken pieces and spicy feta cheese. Without being asked, we ended up with blue-cheese dressing, which created a slightly odd pairing of feta and blue cheeses.

A Wannago club sandwich ($6.15) had good bacon, while the turkey broda wrap ($5.95) included a big wad of shaved turkey, yummy pesto basil, more bacon and cheese.

There were a couple of cakes for dessert, but we opted for a black-bottom muffin ($1.84), which looked great but tasted a bit dry, perhaps even tired.

There's plenty of parking right out front of Wannago.

Wannago Coffee & Cafe

Food: **1/2

Service: ***

Waiting area:***1/2

Parking:***1/2

Where: 798 Kenilworth Drive, Towson

Phone: 410-296-0405

Hours: 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday

Prices: Soups, salads, sandwiches, wraps and paninis, $2.25 to $6.75; credit cards accepted

Outstanding: ****; Good: ***; Fair or uneven: **; Poor: *

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