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Caffé Autogrill


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#1 John DePaula

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 08:47 AM

Hillsdale News: Caffé Autogrill replaces Capitol Coffee House

Spak said that in addition to serving Stumptown coffee and espresso, Café Autogrill will offer sandwiches and soup and beer and wine. It will also feature baked goods from Baker & Spice, Picklopolis goods from Three Square Grill and pasta from Alba Osteria.


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#2 Flynn

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 09:19 AM

Excellent news. Let's hope he can break the curse of that location.

#3 John DePaula

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 09:34 AM

Here, here! Agnolotti and other fresh pastas available for takeout - and so close to home - sounds good to me!
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You cannot legislate compassion into your fellow man (or woman, as the case may be), but we should at least attempt to create a society in which each individual has the opportunity to realize his or her potential. If we meet our citizens' needs for Health Care and Education, everything else will take care of itself. --Me

#4 SarahWS

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 10:20 AM

After hearing my parents rave about the food at Italy's autogrills (aka interstate truck stops / restaurants) and knowing how much I love Alba's pasta, this sounds like a wonderful addition to a neighborhood that needs a few more casual options. It sounds like Jeff Emerson, sous chef at Alba Osteria and a wonderful teacher at Sweetwares Pasta classes, will have an ownership interest in the new venture:

Kurt Spak, who owns Alba Osteria, and Alba's sous chef, Jeff Emerson, are owners of the new business.


Other interesting info in the article:

Patrons will find the two-story space brightened and renovated, said Spak. The establishment's neon sign, a Hillsdale icon, will keep its shape but sport the new name. The outdoor seating will remain, but the ambiance will be more "traditionally Italian," Spak said.


The article also says Capitol Coffee House closed due to a legal dispute between the owners.

#5 Calabrese

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 11:30 AM

Hooray for this. Good news for our part of the city. I am looking forward to this, especially since I love Alba.

#6 nwexperience

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 12:03 PM

Oh my...things from Stumptown, Baker and Spice, AND Alba?! Dang...I may never have to stop anywhere else on the way home from work ever again.
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#7 Jill-O

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 02:16 PM

Now all he has to do is get the salon out of the way and he can take over the whole building! ;o)
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#8 John DePaula

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 02:49 PM

This just in from Good Stuff NW:

...while the place is primarily a coffee shop, it will feature paninis, "tramezzini" (cold sandwiches), beer and wine.


He let it slip that Julie Richardson of B&S [Baker & Spice Bakery] is chomping at the bit to bake some specialty Italian pastries that will be exclusive to the café, so expect those to be the new "it" desserts to show up at your next potluck or picnic.

He's planning to throw the doors open on June 7, with hours will be from 6:30 am till 6 pm seven days a week. Then the weather warms up he'll take advantage of the sidewalk with evening hours till 8 pm.

Very exciting for the neighborhood! :angry:
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#9 Calabrese

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Posted 06 June 2010 - 01:35 PM

When the rain subsided somewhat a bit after noon, I thought I would go to the Hillsdale FM and decided to hit the (very) soft opening of Caffe Autogrill on the way. If after reading this you decide to stop by, just know that the place is still very much a work in progress.

I ordered a cup of vegetarian minestrone, a ham, speck, fontal, and mustard Panini, and had a small bottle of San Pellegrino limonata.

Let’s start with the minestrone. It was pretty much the epitome of Italian soul in a bowl. The broth was a tomato based veggie broth, deep and rich. The heart of the soup was the cannellini beans. For veggies there were carrots, celery, onions, and kale. The kale was a surprising standout. I generally don't care for kale. The large shreds were not wilted into nothingness but in fact had real body with a robust texture and flavor. Fantastic soup, though I’d have loved a bit of reggiano or something of that ilk for a bit of salty bite.

The café has both panini (grilled) and tramezzini (cold) sandwiches. As it’s a soft opening, there were but a few options today. Most of them looked good but I am a sucker for ham and cheese in one variant or another. These sandwiches are Italian in their approach to fillings. Mine was not overloaded with anything except flavor. I say this by way of expectation setting. The grilling on my sandwich was pretty much perfect.- very crispy and brown, yet surprisingly not much trace of oil or grease. That really let the melted fontal shine. There was a generous side of pitted black and green olives with a dill spear. I thought the olives were good. I am not into dill pickles.

There are coffee drinks that I cannot have so I cannot report on that part. I knew soup and a panini would be filling enough so I did not try any of the baked sweets that are available. A couple looked pretty good.

Service was friendly.

Total of my meal, pre-tip $9.

I am happy that this is in my ‘hood and I will be back.

#10 Calabrese

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Posted 06 June 2010 - 01:46 PM

PS - Forgot to mention, right now it's cash only until they get things set-up with the bank.

#11 joeleatspdx

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Posted 06 June 2010 - 07:27 PM

Cool! Italian Autogrilles are freaky good compared to our highway fare.
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#12 Calabrese

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Posted 25 June 2010 - 02:07 PM

I had my third lunch there today.... hooray for a good place in my hood.

I had the salami tramezzini .... good salami, I'd have liked a bit more cheese to cut the intensity of the saltiness of the meat. Dining partner had the grilled cheese (paninni formaggi). It was really excellent..... melty, stringing, crispy bread. I have got to get one of those next time. It looked really good

I also got the russala salad (potatoes, beets, carrots with capers, aoli, herbs). It was unusual for someone with American potato salad tastes but.... I liked it. The soup was not ready at 11:30 so I branched out and tried this.

Counter help said all of today's baked goods were from Alba. Though I have never gotten any, they also sell day old pastries, etc. marked down. They are serving Steven Smith tea and dining partner had a big glass of iced tea which she liked.

After lunch we walked to Baker and Spice where I picked up something for much later.

#13 nwexperience

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 01:54 PM

Actually stopped in here twice this weekend. First time just got a mocha and scoped the place out - mocha was solid. The second time we ordered a mocha, a deviled egg, a strawberry and almond scone, and a slice of asparagus quiche.

The deviled egg was pretty good, but my personal preference is for a creamier filling. The scone was fantastic when there was a bite with strawberry - as in really freaking amazing fantastic. Unfortunately, my entire scone had only two strawberries. :(

The quiche, though, was one of the better ones I've ever had. I can't recall the name of the cheese it uses - something like fontina, but it was a longer name, a cheese I'm not familiar with - but the result was so light it practically melted on your tongue. I loved it.

Will definitely have to go back for sandwiches sometimes soon. Also noticed they had a very small amount of pasta in the case from Alba. No agnolotti...yet.
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#14 Calabrese

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 05:03 PM

Actually stopped in here twice this weekend. First time just got a mocha and scoped the place out - mocha was solid. The second time we ordered a mocha, a deviled egg, a strawberry and almond scone, and a slice of asparagus quiche.

The deviled egg was pretty good, but my personal preference is for a creamier filling. The scone was fantastic when there was a bite with strawberry - as in really freaking amazing fantastic. Unfortunately, my entire scone had only two strawberries. :(

The quiche, though, was one of the better ones I've ever had. I can't recall the name of the cheese it uses - something like fontina, but it was a longer name, a cheese I'm not familiar with - but the result was so light it practically melted on your tongue. I loved it.

Will definitely have to go back for sandwiches sometimes soon. Also noticed they had a very small amount of pasta in the case from Alba. No agnolotti...yet.


The name of the cheese in the quiche and many of the sandwiches is fontal.....

#15 Calabrese

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 08:35 PM

Stopped by for dinner tonight with a friend. It was great to sit outside in the sun.

We ordered:

Insalata Mista - she wanted it but she shared a bit of the ricotta salata that was part of the salad and I had a taste of both dressings she got on the side. The gorgonzola dressing was surprisingly good.

Cold Potato Leek soup - I liked it but it's not transcendent like the minestrone

Insalata Russula.... I really like this take on potato salad.. the beets really make it stellar. There were also fresh peas in tonight's offering.

Formaggi Panini - After seeing this last time I just had to had to have it..... yum..... cheesy melty crispy goodness...

And I decided to try a bottle of the San Pelligrino Chinotto. Chinotto is a bitter citrus fruit that grows in S. Italy. It's used to make Campari as well as the Italian take on root beer. I liked it quite a bit. The first taste is disconcerting and then it grows on you.

I was awfully tempted by dessert but we resisted.

#16 Jill-O

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Posted 02 July 2010 - 03:39 PM

Stopped by for lunch yesterday. Shared an insalata mista yesterday with the beet/potato salad and a Tails & Trotters ham and cheese panini. All were delicious and prices are reasonable (most sandwiches are around $5) and that seemed enough for two of us for lunch (it was for me, but I ate most of the potato salad).

Upstairs is kind of barren, but there is plenty of seating up there when it is raining out, so don't think that outside is your only option.
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#17 Prone to Hyperbole

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Posted 03 July 2010 - 01:16 PM

Whew hoo!!!! This place is gonna kick so much arse in my hood! How lucky I am to live on Capital hwy! I like Alba, but don't do much dining out last 7 months. But the idea of sitting outside on the sidewalk and drinking san pelligrino, birra, noshing on fresh veg based salads, peas, breads.... life just got a little better.
What a killer thing to have in the hood. Wow!
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#18 emilia419

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Posted 03 July 2010 - 01:44 PM

I feel a duty to mention the $3 and $4 glasses of wine. Last night we had a bottle of a Spanish white for $8! I think the most expensive bottle is $12.50. Quite a few beers too, but I don't remember if they were such a steal.

My day old blueberry scone with the welcome addition of lemon curd ($1) was quite delicious as a leftover this morning.

#19 John DePaula

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Posted 03 July 2010 - 04:45 PM

I've eaten there a few times now and I like it a lot. Next time I'd like to try one of the cake/pastry items even if it's just to go. Coffee is excellent, too. Would love it if they got some shades for the outdoor tables - maybe some of the ubiquitous Cinzano umbrellas?
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#20 Calabrese

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Posted 08 July 2010 - 06:45 PM

Here's some info on hours.... Mon thru Thurs open until 6 PM, Fri. and Sat. open until 8 PM, Sunday until 5 PM.

OK. I got there tonight close to 6 not rememberingclosing time. The panini grill had already been shut down but they were willing to make me a cold sandwich and salad to go. I also got some of the lemon pound cake. It was nice to find something close and not have to cook. I got the turkey sandwich. OK but not one of my favorites. Like the lemon pound cake a lot. So glad this option is in my hood.

One thing I will comment on is kitchen needs to figure out packaging to go a bit better. No paper need under potato salad in carton. The napkin utterly stuck to the cake. The carton is waxy enough to take both of those items without the paper. Though the cake would have been OK on the paper that was used on the sandwich. The napkin was just a disaster.