City Java Now Serves Lunch! And the Lunch Bunch is Thankful!


By Wendy Pollitzer

July 8, 2010

City Java has gone to the next level…lunch!  I’ve been waiting for this since Matthew Pieper, Java’s General Manager, told me they were bringing soups, salads and sandwiches to the already delicious menu a few weeks ago.

You see, I go to City Java nearly every morning for a cup of Joe and an occasional serving of oatmeal. I check emails, write a few articles and organize my day. Essentially City Java is my office and Ian Leslie’s office, and Carrie Carper’s office and a host of other young professionals’ office. I guess the folks under City Loft like us so much, they decided to add a meal to keep us here throughout the day!

And they nailed it! The menu is packed with creations made with organic ingredients purchased locally.  Tomatoes, cucumbers, beets, arugula and more come from local farms on St. Helena Island, Lowcountry Produce, Three Sisters organic farm and the Brant Family organic farm. Most of the produce is purchased from one of the three local Farmer’s Markets in Downtown Beaufort, Port Royal and Habersham.

Even their wines, which are exceptional by the way, are organic and biodynamic-great for the planet, since grapes are among the most pesticide-laden produce. But what does organic and biodynamic really mean, you ask?

100% Organic carries the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) organic seal (the certifying agency must be listed) and indicates the wine is made from 100% organically grown ingredients and has been monitored throughout its entire production process. This wine can contain only naturally occurring sulfites (or sulfur dioxide, an antimicrobial substance) in less than 100 parts per million (ppm).

Organic also carries the USDA organic seal and indicates the wine has 95% organically grown ingredients (the other 5% must not be available organically). Again the certifying agency must be listed and the wine has the same sulfite requirements as 100% organic.

Made with Organic Grapes or Made with Organic Ingredients means the wine contains at least 70% organic ingredients. It can have artificial sulfites added, but it may not contain more than 100 ppm. (It does not have the USDA organic seal.)

Biodynamic is based on the precise observation and an attempt at balance of nature, a concept originated by the early 20th-century Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner. So, biodynamic wine is not only 100% organic, in addition, the grower has gone beyond to try to bring the farming process more closely in tune with nature. For instance,biodynamic wine growers may make their own compost and/or watch the stars and planets to time what they do.

So, the folks at City Java have done their research about earth friendly products with regard to wine and produce, and it’s working! Our lunch was a memorable, if not perfect meal that Pieper and owners Matt and Laura McAlhaney delivered to the Lunch Bunch this week.

And, this was the first Lunch Bunch experience that allowed us to sample wine. Kim, Christina, Elizabeth and I enjoyed the 2008 Cline Cashmere from Sonoma and the Frog’s Leap Sauvignon Blanc, also from California. They were the ideal compliment to the ultra fresh midday meal.

The staff brought out three salads to start, and the six of us shared the tasty greens eager for more. We dined on the Beet Salad (Red Beets, Arugula, toasted Pecans and Chevre Cheese), the City Java Salad (prepared with Romaine Hearts, hard boiled free range eggs, tomatoes, avocado, cucumber and locally grown sprouts) and the Caprese Salad (tomatoes, home made Mozzarella, Basil and EVOO). All were served with our choice of Balsamic and Citrus Vinaigrettes and a creamy Bleu Cheese dressing, each created in house.

We all agreed the Beet Salad was our favorite. But we were very impressed that Pieper made his own Mozzarella on the Caprese Salad. Matthew gets milk curd and flavors it with spices, breaks the curd down and puts it in boiling water. He then stretches the cheese himself in the boiling water, resulting in the yummiest dairy product you’ve ever tasted!

Heather ordered The Veggie, packed with avocado, lettuce, cucumber, sprouts, Provolone Cheese and Mustard Vinaigrette while Kim took the opposite route and asked for The Beef, which included Roast Beef, Caramelized Onion and Bleu Cheese.  Both ladies were beyond pleased with their selections.

April and Christina knew from the moment they looked at the menu what their selections would be. April opted for The Turkey (Roasted Turkey Breast, Muenster Cheese, Avocado and Herb Mayonnaise), and Christina liked the Mozzarella so much in the salad, she ordered the Caprese sandwich.

Honestly, since I frequent Cit Java so often, I’d already sampled almost everything on the menu. But, I had not tried the H/C (Peppered Ham, Gruyere Cheese, Spicy Brown Mustard and lettuce and tomato). It was delicious! Pieper allows his customers to order the sandwiches hot or cold, and a good ham and cheese is always better hot!

Yeah for Elizabeth! She won this week for best dish. She picked the Prosciutto and Fig sandwich served with Arugula, Fontina Cheese and Fig Preserves from Lowcountry Produce. Oooooooh, it was so yummy! Even April, who had never tasted figs before, loved it.

We are definitely a group of girls who don’t mind passing plates or double dipping! How on Earth would we ever decide who got best dish? It is funny to watch though…twelve hands reaching for the same dish talking a million miles a minute about work, kids or miscellaneous goings on around Beaufort. What scene!

The meal didn’t stop at the sandwiches. Oh no! Although full, we saved a little bit of room for the Rockslide Brownie and Blueberry Gelato.  These two desserts crossed the “t” and dotted the “i.” putting the perfect end to a delightful lunch. And I highly recommend any of the flavored Gelatos City Java serves. Is there a better treat in the summertime?

So, when I asked Matthew if he was the chef at City Java, Pieper quickly responded, “No, I’m just a dude that loves food.” He explained that he doesn’t exactly cook anything. He just brings fabulous ingredients together for delectable delights. He’s worked at fine dining establishments his whole life, and always asked the right questions with regard to unique dishes.

We’re glad you did Matthew! You’ve taken the chic coffee hang out and made it into an organically infused bistro, exactly what our generation demands. And we love it!

If you’re thinking about a bringing a small group to lunch, remember City Java. It’s not just coffee anymore! Thanks Matthew for a refreshing lunch! Keep being the “dude that likes food!”

About Wendy

Wendy Pollitzer is a versatile writer living in the Lowcountry of South Carolina.

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