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Taste of the forest and plains

Driving along Black Forest Road, it might be easy to miss R&R Coffee CafÈ. The quaint yet roomy cabin is unassuming, but locals appreciate the culinary treats within because a steady flow of customers keeps most of the tables filled during business hours.With plenty of unique breakfast and lunch options, customers can stop in for a bite to eat and a warm cup of coffee or swing by and pick up an order they placed through the website or an app for iOS or Android devices.Since opening in late 2007, R&R has prided itself in its on-site craft coffee roasterie, and we felt it only fitting to sample a few of the warm drinks from the extensive list of offerings. Both of my kids had a cup of hot chocolate, and said it was the best they had ever tasted. The savory pumpkin latte, which R&R compares to the Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks, outdid its competitor with a richer flavor and no overly sweet artificial pumpkin taste. My husband ordered the spicy Third Street Chai, and said the flavor was delicious but the spice was more intense than he was expecting. Next time, he said he might order the honey vanilla version instead.None of us was brave enough to sample the more daring drinks, like the Kick in the Pants, which is four shots of espresso, steamed half and half and vanilla syrup; or the Death Wish, which is 10 shots of espresso with a drip coffee chaser. The wonderful roasting aroma filled the restaurant, however, and it made for a cozy and warm atmosphere.Adding to the cozy feel was original artwork and photography that decorated the walls, some of which could be purchased. The main dining room features a mural painted by local artist Donna Hartley. Although the noise in the room was manageable at first, when the overhead music came on, it became a bit tough to carry on a conversation.When our party arrived at about 8:30 a.m., some of the menu items had already sold out, which told us the locals knew something we did not: The early bird gets their favorite breakfast item. There were plenty of other delicious options to choose from, though, including breakfast burritos, sandwiches and other standard breakfast offerings.My son ordered the cinnamon roll French toast and was excited to see that it was exactly that: a nicely sized made-from-scratch cinnamon roll, sliced in half lengthwise, and prepared as two pieces of French toast.The cheddar biscuits and gravy had a surprisingly herbaceous flavor; although the gravy may have been a bit on the floury side, the cheddar taste came through and balanced out the dish. My husband said the meal tasted just like his grandmother used to make.The skillet breakfast featured roasted squash, mushrooms, tomatoes, red and green peppers, home fries, diced onions and bacon (other meat options were available). The dish was topped with two eggs, which could be prepared to each customerís preference. The veggies were diced small, allowing each bite to contain a bit of everything, maximizing the flavor. Although the menu indicated the dish would come topped with stoneground mustard hollandaise sauce, it was either absent or had blended in with the rest of the ingredients. Even without the sauce, the dish was hearty and filling, definitely worth ordering again.Alongside the skillet breakfast was a choice of toasted bread ñ- sourdough, honey wheat or white. The honey wheat was crumbly and a bit dense but the light sweetness was a great pairing with the savory flavors of the meal itself.The TABLE sandwich featured tomato, avocado, coffee-marinated bacon, lettuce and scrambled eggs covered in stoneground mustard hollandaise and served on a cheddar biscuit with a side of home fries. The avocado was a bit overpowering; when removed, the sandwich flavors shined through, creating a beautifully built meal. The home fries could have been fried a bit longer to make a crispier outside, and the cheddar biscuit seemed to have been replaced by a roll but overall, we agreed this dish was a top-notch order-again meal.The B.O.B.S ñ- ìboring olí breakfast sammichî ñ- featured a scrambled egg, bacon and slice of cheddar on a fresh, flaky croissant and was anything but boring. Perfect for anyone looking for traditional breakfast flavors but executed well enough to stand out from the crowd.The plethora of pancakes were made with buttermilk, resulting in a pleasantly crumbly texture and rich flavor. My daughter practically licked her plate clean.Loaded with tangy chunks of cranberries and crunchy walnuts, the cranberry walnut muffin was both mouthwatering and sweet. It came hot and fresh from the oven and served as a great leftover snack.Overall, R&R Coffee CafÈ gets a resounding yum! We each agreed this cafÈ has staying power, and my kids even tried to convince me to bring them every weekend.

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