It’s 10am on a Sunday and you’ve just woken up. You’re drowsy and hungry and you have a long day of last-minute homework ahead of you. Now do you want to snack on one of the granola bars you keep in your room, or do you want to grab a few friends and have your tastebuds rocked in five different directions before noon? That’s right: it’s time to head to Carriage House.
After approaching the host stand and putting our name down for a table of four, my friends and I are informed that the wait will be about an hour. For 10:30am on a Sunday, this is standard. It’s frustrating, but the popularity also indicates just how great the food is. We retire to the loft upstairs and wait our turn. In the meantime, I snap some pictures of the decor. Carriage House was built in 1850 and, although it has been renovated since then, it retains a lot of historic charm. An antique cash register perches atop the pastry window which is filled with specialty house-made scones, and plenty of other knick-knacks line the window ledges.
Eventually we are seated, and after much deliberation we settled on the following:
1) The Sconewich: “Scrambled egg with NYS cheddar on a griddled ham-and-cheese scone.” The Carriage House makes their own scones and loaves of bread using as many local ingredients as possible and you truly can taste the difference.
2) The House Salmon Plate: “House-cured pastrami-style salmon, brie, french bread, and candied fig” You feel classy just looking at this dish. The salmon is a little saltier than you may be used to from typical packaged smoked salmon, but it blends beautifully with the creamy brie and sweet fig.
3) The Smoked Turkey Sandwich: “Smoked turkey breast, apple chutney, Chimay Grand Cru [a soft cheese], and grainy dijon mayo on ciabatta.” From the lunch side of the menu, this sandwich is available in a small and large size. The small is pictured here. The turkey is incredibly flavorful and the chutney is delicious.
4) The Rabbit Sausage Sandwich (Special): “Savory rabbit apple sausage patty sandwich on griled ciabatta, topped with an egg your way and mixed greens. Dressed with a chipotle, citrus, and cilantro aioli, side of home fries.” This one looked incredible. The sausage was very juicy and flavorful and the poached egg was a very tasty addition.
5) The Brie-Stuffed French Toast: “Brioche french toast, cheese-filled, with berry coulis and Delevan Farms maple syrup.” This is the french toast which has ruined all other french toasts for me. The bread has a slight crust but is fluffy and sweet on the inside. You can order the french toast on its own, but in my opinion the decadent brie which flows from the center once you make a cut is to die for.
6) The Sweet Potato, Cinnamon, and Caramel Scone: To finish off my meal, I ordered the tastiest looking scone from their pastry window. It was hard to decide between options like, “White Chocolate Strawberry Jalapeno” and “Tarragon Citrus Poppyseed,” but I’m a sucker when it comes to caramel. The choice was a very good one. It was so moist and fluffy I didn’t even need butter or jam.
Overall, I’ve been to The Carriage House Cafe many times and I always leave full and happy. Plus, the fact that they support local farmers makes you feel pretty good, too. The delay up front may not appeal to the impatient, but I promise it’ll be worth the wait. If you’re looking for the perfect place to start a lazy Sunday morning, look no further.
The Carriage House Cafe: 305 Stewart Avenue, Ithaca NY 14850
Open Tuesday-Sunday 9am-3pm, closed Mondays.
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Carriage House Cafe’s Website