Boca Cafe brings new flavor to College Hill

Tricia Peterson

Featuring local art and handcrafted light fixtures that catch the eye – such as the cheese grater lamps hanging above the food line – the Boca Café is quaint and inviting.  The menu consists of artisanal sandwiches and salads, a soup of the day and three vegetarian options. Although it may seem simple the menu items each have a special twist and tons of flavor.

The first salad I tried was called the Drunken salad with marinated tomatoes, sliced artichokes and brandy-soaked mozzarella tossed in mixed greens. The dressing is a simple balsamic vinaigrette that compliments the ingredients nicely. The sun-dried tomatoes seem to be made on-site as well as the croutons that are made out of their focaccia bread.  I like their croutons because they aren’t hard like pre-bought croutons. They are crispy on the outside and spongy on the inside and soak up the dressing just enough so they aren’t soggy, and at the same time, they aren’t so crispy they cut your mouth. It’s called the drunken salad because the mozzarella is soaked in E&J brandy and when eating the salad the taste of brandy is there, but not overpowering, either.

For lunch, the salad came with a small cup of their soup of the day. That day, (and the second day I came back, actually,) it was tomato-basil. It was thick and bright red, with a hint of basil. I was impressed with the soup and salad so I decided to come back for more.

I am very happy I decided to come back. On my second visit, I ordered the special of the day, a Monte Cristo sandwich. This sandwich had sauerkraut, which I personally don’t like but kept it on there, smoked turkey and provolone cheese. I also chose to have it made on focaccia bread – if you don’t like focaccia bread, they have several kinds to choose from. The best part is the raspberry jam, spread on the bread, but I also like to have it on the side for dipping. I ended up liking the combination with the sauerkraut so I am glad I forgot to ask for none – some things are just meant to be, and I really think the sauerkraut is one of those things. It pairs nicely with the sweetness of the raspberry jam and the smokiness of the turkey. No one flavor overpowered the other, they blended well together to make a perfectly balanced sandwich.

The other sandwiches offered include a Cuban sandwich, which consists of pork, mustard, sweet pickles and provolone cheese; the B.L.A.T., which is like a BLT only with avocado, herb aioli, lettuce, tomato and a choice of prosciutto or bacon; and the Affamato with smoked ham, salami, pepperoni, mozzarella and sun-dried tomato marinara. For sides the café offers the soup of the day, rice chips, chickpea chips or a salad. There are many other choices on the menu than what are listed here and in the next week there will be a breakfast menu featuring waffles and waffle sandwiches. Also, in six months, the menu will be changed completely.

I highly recommend checking this place out. Not only is it right next to campus, (across the street from Burger Stand, at S.W. 16th and Lane in the College Hill development) but it’s also affordable for the college student. On Mondays, with your Washburn ID they give you a free drink and 10 percent off your meal, although the prices aren’t that bad anyway.