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Leaf & Ladle: Sandwiches, soups and salads for the soul

Feb 3rd, 2015 | Category: Food

by Scot Casey

PHOTO BY SCOT CASEY

PHOTO BY SCOT CASEY

Right off the bat, I will tell you that I love Leaf & Ladle. Owner Linda Melim’s soups, salads and sandwiches taste like home on a winter afternoon or a beautiful picnic by the lake in the summer. The soups are always hearty and full of rich flavor. The sandwiches are balanced with just the right balance of ingredients and grilled to a golden perfection. And the salads are always fresh, crisp and expertly dressed. The Leaf & Ladle is easily the best vegan and vegetarian restaurant in town. They also have many gluten-free options. And their Tuna Melts, Ham, Brie and Green Apple Paninis will satisfy any meat lover. But, for me, it is the Grilled Cubano Panini that is most extraordinary; it will save your soul.

PHOTO BY SCOT CASEY

PHOTO BY SCOT CASEY

Sitting at the comfortable bar in Leaf & Ladle, I watch Linda prepare all of the food with laughter and good conversation. Every customer that comes in the door seems to be a friend and a regular – even those who are coming for the first time. Linda and her daughter Morgan Gaunt treat everyone like family. It always feels good to be here. A perfect lunchtime sanctuary in the middle of your busy day.

I order the Grilled Cubano Panini with a side of fresh greens and Curry Squash soup. The Cubano is Linda’s variation on the classic with a mouth-watering in-house smoked pork (I swear I could eat just a plate of this and be a happy man), ham, swiss, dill pickles and Dijon mayo on Avenue Bread focaccia. Then grilled on a press until all of the ingredients are married together in a savory ceremony of sweet delight. It is a thing of beauty. After the first bite, you forget where you are, you stop paying attention to what anyone is talking about, all your world becomes enraptured by this beautiful sandwich before you. If you are having one of those days where everything seems hopeless, go to Leaf & Ladle and get a Cubano. It will bring hope back to you – at least, to your mouth and stomach.

The menu is written weekly on pull-down rolls of brown butcher paper. PHOTO BY SCOT CASEY

The menu is written weekly on pull-down rolls of brown butcher paper. PHOTO BY SCOT CASEY

That being said, the perfect sandwich needs appropriate accompaniment. The Curry Squash soup is excellent, just enough curry, just enough squash. Goldilocks would have no problems with this soup. Linda is an artist at making soups. You will never go wrong ordering soup at Leaf & Ladle. Every soup is a unique little masterpiece of flavors unto itself. And, they now sell quarts of soup to go. While you are having lunch, pick up a quart to make a quick and delicious dinner.

The salad is fresh, crisp and lightly dressed. I believe Leaf & Ladle makes one of the best Caesars in town; always a generous portion and dressed with their tangy but sweet homemade Caesar dressing.

Thursday Night Supper Club is held from 6 to 8 p.m. and features one dinner item in addition to the regular menu. Plus, they have beer and wine, and no reservations are needed.

Leaf & Ladle is located at 1113 N State Street in Bellingham and open Monday through Friday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call (360) 319-9718 or follow their Facebook page regarding specials and changes.

Scot Casey lives in Bellingham and runs bellinghamreviews.blogspot.com.

Published in the February 2015 issue of Grow Northwest

 

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