Earlier this evening, I went to Stardust with the intention to have dinner there, but with the parking lot full and the chairs loaded with people, I opted instead to check out a new place I had my eye on as it was opening.
The sign for Bikes, Beans & Bordeaux had intrigued me when I passed by the little strip mall the restaurant was nestled in, or rather, going to be nestled in. At the time I had noticed it, the cafe was still in the process of “coming soon!”, so I was sort of waiting until I had seen it was open for business. Sometimes, the time it takes for a restaurant to open can be lengthy, but it didn’t seem so with Bikes, Beans & Bordeaux. I believe it was sometime earlier this week or last week that I had seen its little “Open” sign alight above some curtains.
Since Stardust was crowded, and I wanted to try out the place anyway, I scooted on over to Bikes, Beans & Bordeaux. Now, when I think of people who ride bikes in Orlando, I’m more inclined to think of the group of youngish folks behind Orlando Critical Mass: the bike punks who work it with their cut-off jean shorts, longish hair, tattoos and a disdain for automobiles. I had fully expected for Bikes, Beans & Bordeaux to be a bike punk haven, but when I entered the small cafe and was met with light wood veneers, little tea candles and low lighting, “bike punk chic” was not what I had gotten.
The proprietors, a husband and wife, greeted me eagerly behind a couple and baby seated at a little bar area. The husband, who later introduced himself as Darrell, kindly directed me to the menus in a couple containers mounted on the wall near the entrance. “The Beer & Wine menu is two pages!” he informed me as I looked at the fixtures. I grabbed them, although I went with getting some organic English Breakfast tea in the end, but it should interest you to know that their house beers, served in bottles, include beer from Orlando Brewing, and there’s a bunch of wines I’m woefully unfamiliar with, because I’m not a wine person, but I’ll list some for you winey folks: Chateau Paradis Casseuil Blanc, Bordeaux, France; Moon Mountain, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma Valley, California; Echelon, Pinot Grigio, Clarksburg, California; Chateau La Nerthe, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France.
Although I was not interested in getting any beer or wine, I was very keen on getting some food, and was torn between the Tour Mediterraneen and the Caprese Panini. After a fevered deliberation at the cash register, I decided to go with my first instinct and ordered the Tour Mediterraneen: Smothered with hummus, this tasty creation is served up with lettuce, tomato, red onion, sprouts, olives, cucumber, feta cheese and drizzled with Greek dressing on Italian bread. Upon ordering the sandwich sans onions, I was told that they were out of the bread, but offered multigrain or honey wheat in its stead, of which I chose the latter.
When I got the sandwich, it came with a bag of Sun Chips (although you could also opt for carrot sticks), a pickle and, interestingly, a tiny bag of Jelly Belly jelly beans, which I later tucked away to eat in whenever I got in a candy mood, or to give away to someone, as I’m not particularly big on jelly beans. My sandwich was delicious. The only thing I would have liked to have made it perfect was to have had a fork to scoop up the stray tomatoes, olives and feta that would slip out from between the bread. I loved the flavor of the Greek dressing, and the cucumbers tasted so wonderfully fresh and crisp.
Ah, Sandwich Nirvana.
I had texted a few of my friends while I waited for my sandwich, because as I studied the menu, I could definitely see many of my friends liking the place. The food is both vegetarian and non, and in addition to beer and wine, they have a nice selection of different coffee drinks and organic teas, as well as smoothies. Plus, they’re open at 7 am every day for breakfast, except for Monday–they’re closed.
As I ate my sandwich, drank my tea and read a book I had brought along with me, the place began to fill up, and what struck me was how warmly the owners greeted these customers by name. There was a group of men who came in and grabbed some beers after handshakes and chit-chat with Darrell, and sat in the facing leather couches under a flat-screen television showing, from what I could tell from a few glances at the screen, the Cycling Network. Is there such a thing? There were a couple of guys who came in on their own, one of whom was visibly taking advantage of the free Wi-Fi in the cafe.
If you’d like to check out the menu to see if you’d like to make a visit to “B3,” you can visit their website: www.B3Cafe.com.