If you work downtown and you want to get away from the office and feel like you’re on a mini vacation, grab lunch at the Taft Museum of Art’s Linder Family Café (316 Pike St., Downtown, 513-241-0343). The Federal-style estate, featuring exhibits such as Drawn by New York, a collection of rarely exhibited works from the New York Historical Society, is the perfect cultural break from the daily grind.
Recently, a coworker and I stopped in for a lunch getaway, some tea and the soup she’d been raving about. Set in the foyer of the museum, the café is a collection of intimate tables, ideal for quiet conversations. When we arrived, we were concerned that we didn’t have reservations, but there were a few tables left and we were seated right away.
The menu was small, so it didn’t take us long to order. My coworker chose the soup of the day ($5.50) — Taft is famous for their soups — and I chose the hearty-sounding Donegal pie ($10), with layers of creamy mashed potato, sautéed onions, cabbage, Swiss chard and crumbled feta and cheddar cheeses.
Heavy, but for the second week at a new job, enough to give me some much-needed energy. Both arrived about 15 minutes later. My coworker savored her lightly spiced lentil soup with plenty of sage, and I enjoyed the first (and last) bite of my Donegal pie. Unfortunately, I’d forgotten to ask if it had rosemary in it (a food allergy).
Lucky for me, the server whisked it away and immediately brought out the quiche du jour ($11). Fortunately, there were some similarities — the sautéed onions, Swiss chard and a bit of spinach. Just as hearty but a little lighter with a perfectly flakey, buttery crust.
Of course, we couldn’t resist dessert, which was a little slow to come. Our server was busy with what seemed to be half the café. When the apple pie arrived, it was half-frozen inside. It took our server a while to come back, so we ate half of it cold. When she found out, she whisked it away and brought us a gooey chocolate cake. The cool consistency and creamy flavor hinted at a touch of yogurt, with pleasantly un-sweet frosting. While the apple pie taken away to warm up never returned, we did enjoy the chocolate. When we received our check about 15 minutes later, our friendly server said she took both desserts off, which was generous.
Paying is a bit of a hassle at Taft, because you have to go up to the main counter, swarming with servers looking for change and guests trying to pay. But we were able to complete the process in about 10 minutes. Taft is not the place to go for a 40-minute lunch, but if you have an hour to spare it’s a nice, quiet getaway from the chaos of the office.
It’s the perfect place to grab tea and soup with a good work friend and talk mere feet away from some of the best exhibits in the region.
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