The Fountain Bistro

Written by on August 11, 2011 in I Eat America, I Eat...Out with 0 Comments

( – Bellingham, Washington 

How I heard of this place: Nearly two weeks prior to dining at The Fountain Coffee & Wine Bistro, I found my high school guidance counselor on Facebook. We struck up a conversation via email and decided to get together to catch up, after 18 years. The Fountain was her recommendation, and I am so pleased to have learned of this delightful spot.

Type of cuisine: Similar to the bistros in France, The Fountain offers a wide variety of sandwiches, quiches, salads and sides (including delectable sweet potato fries, lightly salted). “OUR FOOD: American Bistro-style fare with fantastic weekend specials! Fresh seafood, steaks, salads and sandwiches, pasta, and our famous fish ‘n’ chips. Also, vegetarian and gluten-free options. OUR COFFEE: The Fountain features a full espresso bar using local Bellingham Bay Coffee Roasters espresso and brewed coffee, inside and at the drive-thru. We also have a wide selection of whole-bean coffee available by the pound and in cans. OUR DRINKS: Classic cocktail menu featuring some delicious combinations. Try our Basil Lemon Drop or Wild Turkey Manhatten. We have a great wine menu and 8 beers on tap, both with several local selections. Also, check out our delicious bar appetizer menu. Or take home any of our wine or beer at retail prices!”

Ambiance: “Much like the proverbial fountain of yore, The Fountain will provide nourishment from dawn until late to our neighbors near and far. Sit down, stay awhile. Drive-thru. Take some time, or save some time. Whatever your direction, we look forward to being a part of your day! A BISTRO: Open 7 days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We also have a fantastic Saturday and Sunday brunch until 2pm. Enjoy great food, coffee, cocktails, beer & wine while dining in a fabulous and funky atmosphere! Large communal table for parties of 8 to 12 inside and outside. Private sunny patio for basking in the sun or dining al fresco. Sit down, stay a while! A MEETING PLACE: The Fountain is a great place to have business or club meetings. Our dining room holds about 40 guests and is available Monday-Friday, 6:30-10:30AM. We offer a Fountain-style continental breakfast with a full spread of fresh baked pastries and our amazing brewed coffee and tea($6/person). Please reserve the space 48 hours in advance.  A DRIVE-THRU: We recognize that sometimes you can’t stop and relax. That doesn’t mean that you should have to sacrifice quality for convenience. As well as being a full-service restaurant and bar, The Fountain also features a drive-thru service for people on the go. Skillfully made espresso drinks and thoughtfully sourced food such as breakfast burritos, French ‘train’ sandwiches, and fish and chips are among our offerings. And not to worry, this is not your run-of-the-mill drive-thru menu. Our coffee is artisanally roasted by Bellingham Bay Coffee, and our staff is professionally trained to deliver an amazing drink every time. Our food is fresh, whole, and prepared in-house by adept cooks who care. This is not fast-food, but rather slow food prepared quickly. Open at 6AM everyday! A BOTTLESHOP: Feel like staying in? Take home any of our wine and beer at retail prices. We have 8 beers on tap, with growlers to fill with your choice. We also have a great to-go menu!” The space is quaint, whimsical and happy. Driving up to the corner of Broadway and Girard in the Fountain District, the parking lot and adjacent street parking easily support the number of patrons. Outdoors, one is immediately welcomed with a covered patio with wood-latticed walls leading up to a wooden trellis overhead. Underneath can be found a large, eight-to-ten-person rustic, wooden table, finished, but with edges that lack perfect symmetry – the way a tree should be. Black chairs are available for seating at this and other patio tables. Making your way indoors, the open space, the floor-to-ceiling windows surrounding at least three of the four outside walls make for a clean and bright establishment. The coffee counter to your right, the kitchen directly behind, friendly staff smiling and greeting patrons, regulars and newbies. A make-shift wall of dusted glass to the left of the entryway, hangs from the ceiling and is decorated with large circles, creating a spirit of whimsy throughout the establishment. A similar pattern is found on room dividers in the cafe seating area, as we are escorted to our seat, along the window facing Broadway. Pale yellow walls (where there are no windows) and ceilings, set against the dark, wooden chairs and tables give a sense of a refined coffee shop, where everything from business meeting to a baby shower might be conducted and celebrated.

What I ordered: After some deliberation, and with the help of my dining companion and our server, I selected the Toasted BATC ($10.50), smoked bacon, arugula, tomato & melted sharp white cheddar on Breadfarm focaccia. The sandwich is served with herb sea-salted fries or sweet potato fries (for an additional $0.75)…which I was easily swayed into sampling. My dining companion ordered the bacon, four cheese and green onion Quiche in a Crepe Crust ($7.50) with a gorgeous and generous salad on the side.

What I loved: I loved the thick-cut, perfectly crisped bacon and the melding of flavors with the pepper arugula and sharp, creamy, melted cheddar cheese. The quiche looked absolutely gorgeous in its individually prepared ramekin dish with crepe crust slightly burnt on the edges, giving the feel of tissue paper surrounding a wrapped gift. The sweet potato fries: the best I have ever had; soft, flavorful, tender and beautifully salted, not to mention, plentiful!

Why I loved it: I love the whimsical, friendly and bright space, combined with delicious, freshly prepared and served foods. The company could not have been better and the location easy and convenient. I look forward to trying The Fountain again…and again.

Cost: Low to average ($5-$12 per breakfast/lunch entree)

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