Michelangelo's Coffee Shop
In a word: Great coffee and the rest.
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JM ate the ham and Swiss panino with a Nantucket Nectar and a cinnamon roll.
Nichole ate the turkey and Swiss and spinach panino with a cappuccino (and stole bites of everyone else's pastry).
Trish ate the pesto, cheese and tomato panino with an iced tea and a raspberry cream cheese croissant.
The bill was about $20, or $6.67/person.
JM gave Michelangelo's Coffee Shop an A-; Nichole and Trish gave Michelangelo's Coffee Shop a B+ (see our grading rubric).
Michelangelo's Coffee Shop, with its eye-catching black and white awning, and the Fair Trade Coffee House further down State Street share ownership or management, so we hear. Similarities are evident from the bakery case to the drinks, but Michelangelo's, being the longer-established coffee shop, and nearer the Capitol than the University, has a more businesslike feel than its funkier downmarket cousin. Cushy seating is not abundant. Wooden chairs at small round tables make for a more bustling, active atmosphere, and we saw few people camping out during our lunchtime visit.
We each picked a different sandwich from the selection of a half dozen kinds in the cooler. The best thing about Michelangelo's sandwiches is the bread baked at Kabul. It's even better when you ask them to press your sandwich on a hot grill. There can be too much of a good thing, as the comforter of bread smothers a thin layer of fillings and prevents them from getting heated quite through. Trish observed that the ingredients are of good quality, notably the tomatoes, but oddly enough they don't add up to a very flavorful experience. JM noted that his ham and cheese (#39) was good and the ham tasty but the bread also overwhelmed what were pretty delicate flavors for such a standard dish.
Nichole was disappointed in the thin foam and too-large size of her small cappuccino. She agreed with Trish, who shared her raspberry croissant, that the pastry was not terribly flaky. The OK raspberry sauce nearly saved it, but it didn't win any croissant awards. The cinnamon roll was a large portion of an average item.
A big perk of Michelangelo's is that they not only have free wifi but a PC that's free for customer use. Their brewed coffee is also superior in quality, and the baristas have been friendly. It's the closest coffee shop to the farmer's market and the line often moves faster than those at the coffee carts. But the food isn't a big draw on its own.