Written by on September 2, 2011 in I Eat America, I Eat...Out with 0 Comments

( – Ballston neighborhood, Arlington, Virginia

How I heard of this place: Years ago, when I would visit my sister, Mojgan in the Court House neighborhood of Arlington, we would stop by Cosi for a Margherita melt: basil, tomato and mozzarella cheese on fresh, house-made flatbread, with house-made pesto spread. Those days are long gone, but the memory of the delicious, hot sandwich linger on. After four months of suggesting Cosi’s pesto to my pesto-loving husband, we finally had our moment to try it, together.

Type of cuisine: If life is a journey, food is the fuel that lets us keep exploring what’s ahead. Così was founded on the idea that good food will make that journey all the more delicious. From our hand-tossed Signature Salad to our Tomato, Basil, and Mozzarella Sandwich served on delicious warm flatbread, to the comfortable, urbane and contemporary atmosphere, Così is more than a restaurant. It is a constantly surprising, always delightful experience. A place where people gather to relax, dine and share their common belief that “Life Should Be Delicious®”.  For those who insist on something better, who always seek something new, something different, something a cut above, Così has been a delightful surprise in a world of sameness: “Fabulous!” Exclaimed Ruth Reichl of the The New York Times… “Hot Concept” said the Nation’s Restaurant News. In just a few short years Così has garnered national attention and collected many ‘Best of’ awards from the communities we serve. Evidently, there are a lot of people who agree that “Life Should Be Delicious®”. At the center of Così is our hearth, an open-flame stone oven prominently displayed in each restaurant, reminiscent of a comfortable gathering place where people have met for centuries to enjoy good food and conversation. Our signature flatbread is based on a two millennia-old recipe, similar to the breads first produced by the Romans. Così’s sandwiches are made to order with fresh ingredients and our own, distinctive sauces and spreads, nestled in our signature flatbread. Our salads are equally surprising, tossed to order. Rounding out our innovative menu are a variety of delicious soups, bagels, our unique flatbread pizza, gourmet beverages and desserts. Something for everyone to enjoy any time of dayStarting out as the marriage between a gourmet espresso bar and a sophisticated, eclectic café, coffee is in Così DNA. Our coffee buyers seek the freshest, most provocative flavors from around the world and our baristas are trained to make the perfect cup of coffee, every time.  From straight espressos to café lattes to a great cup of coffee to go, Così is a delightful surprise for even the most demanding coffee aficionados.”

Ambiance: “Our look and feel was first inspired by a small Parisian café – a warm inviting spot where people liked to go for coffee, spend time with the community and of course, enjoy a great sandwich. There is an immediate connection with Così that so many feel when they first walk in the door. You’re surrounded by a sophisticated, modern and warm atmosphere complete with interesting music from around the world, inviting you to relax and savor the innovative flavors of our menu. Così offers a premium convenience where you always feel welcome. At Così, we have created a culture that is both guest-centered and performance-based. We have a commitment to delivering a premium convenience experience to our consumers, while operating our business in a disciplined, strategic, focused, and results-oriented way. We have built a team of experienced leaders and a strong operating business model, and act with passion to create excellence for our teams and our investors. From humble beginnings in 1996, one restaurant based on a small Parisian Café has evolved to a dynamic growth company with more than 100 restaurants in 16 states and the District of Columbia. The story continues to unfold as we plan and open many new restaurants across the country, making life more delicious for more and more people along the way.”

What I ordered: On this venture, having been craving buffalo chicken for a few days, I decided to try something new – to me and the Cosi menu: Buffalo Bleu ($7.95), buffalo chicken and shredded Romaine lettuce with a bleu cheese spread. My husband, and dining companion selected the Pesto Chicken Melt ($7.95), the whole reason we made our way down the block to Cosi), chicken tossed and coated in house-made pesto, with melted mozzarella cheese, and a sun-dried tomato spread.

Cosi Paninis

On a return visit, June 14, 2012: Chris and I were tired after a long week at work, and Chris’s 28-mile bike ride, so we decided, rather than stay at home and cook, we will go get massages and make our way to Cosi for dinner. We started with the shareable Smoky BBQ Chicken ($13.99), a slightly spicy grilled BBQ chicken with smoked Gouda, red onion, sweet BBQ sauce and fresh cilantro. When our chef asked, “Would you like to buy one get one free?” how could we refuse? We also chose the shareable Trifecta ($13.99), with sausage, bacon, pepperoni, shredded mozzarella on a fresh tomato sauce.

What I loved: As always, the pesto stole the show! It’s hard to go wrong with pesto on fresh baked, thin-crust, home-made flatbread, warmed to order and a pesto that is hard to beat.

Why I loved it: Being at Cosi reminds me of visiting my sister in Arlington, enjoying a cozy meal on one of a number of personal, sofas in the Court House Cosi, a cup of hot espresso beverage in hand, and a perfect sister reunion.

Cost: Average to high ($6-9 per sandwich)

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