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Restaurant Happenings - February 2006

The New Mondo Café
By Deirdre O. Keating

Mondo Café
59 South Main
in McStiff’s Plaza
Moab UT
259-5551

Mondo Cafe front

Mondo Café in McStiff’s Plaza finally lives up to all the connotations of its name. Italian for world, Mondo offers both Italian and French roast coffee, and, of course, serves coffee drinkers from all over the world who happen into Moab. But did you know Mondo is also a Japanese term for pithy dialogue? We’ll leave out the Zen master part of that definition, in case regulars get any grand ideas. And the new large space, opened up by owners Bob Morgan and Sarah Edmunds, even makes its slang meaning, huge, a fit description.

In the one year that Bob and Sarah have owned the café, they have brought numerous improvements to an already popular location. The expanded café now provides several couches as well as more tables to gather at and enjoy a cup of joe. In their hope of making Mondo Café a hub of activity and culture in Moab, they offer a free venue for local artists to have their work seen or heard. The walls are adorned with constantly changing local artwork, and occasional concerts have celebrated the music of Stonefed as well as other local favorites. Open mic night every Saturday from 7 pm until 9:30 pm has offered everything from jazz quintets to improv actors.

The menu has expanded as well. Mondo Café has a reputation for great coffee, of course, but lately the talk is all about their mochas, created with Bob and Sarah’s own chocolate sauce recipe. Locals can’t seem to get enough Americano’s, which serve up a shot of espresso in hot water. For chai lovers, like myself, it’s like being a kid in a candy store: there’s chai tea, chai mocha, iced chai, frozen chai, chai smoothies, and even Chai-agra, made with South American mate tea.

In addition to lattes and cappuccinos, Italian sodas and smoothies are offered year round. Since September, Mondo Café has been offering local wines and Sierra Nevada beer as well.

In keeping with tradition, Mondo still gets their coffee from the café’s original owner, Terry Patano. Bob Morgan has his own Moab coffee roots, having run a coffee stand at City Market years ago. Like so many residents, he returned to Moab because of its haunting beauty and wilderness. He had his eye on Mondo Café, seeing its potential to serve as a center of activity in Moab. “Our goal is simple,” he says, “to make good coffee and make everyone comfortable.”

Recipe of the Month
Mondo Cafe

Perfect Chocolate Mousse

½ cup pitted soft dates
3-4 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp cold-pressed coconut butter (optional)
1 ½ Tbsp non-alcohol vanilla extract
2 1/12 cups mashed avocado (about 3 med. Avocados)
¾ cup raw carob powder
4-6 Tbsp cocoa powder (or additional carob powder)

Soak the dates in ½ cup fresh water for 5-10 minutes to soften. Drain the soak water and set aside. In a food processor, blend dates, maple syrup, coconut butter, and vanilla until smooth. Spoon in avocado and blend until smooth. Add a few tablespoons of date soak water if necessary to aid in blending. Spoon in carob and cocoa powder and blend until smooth.

Spoon mousse into parfait or wine glasses.

 

And to feed them as well. Mondo Café offers tantalizing creations all day long. Breakfast features giant Belgian waffles as well as Green Eggs. For those who have always longed to know what exactly Sam-I-Am was offering, here it is: 3 eggs steamed with pesto, ham, provolone and tomato, served on focaccia bread. The café’s Stacker literally stacks 3 eggs, provolone cheese, grilled onions and tomato all on a bagel. The Chocolate Oatmeal is another big hit, and another benefactor of Bob and Sarah’s homemade chocolate sauce.

Delicious panini sandwiches are available in several varieties, such as the Italian Pesto or Hard Salami, for the reasonable price of $6.50. Vegetarians will appreciate the assortment of choices, from garden burgers to the Vegetariano, which features artichoke hearts on provolone with roasted red peppers, roma tomatoes, onions and green leaf lettuce. The Italiano can be enjoyed with or without the salami, offering pesto with fresh basil, mozzarella cheese, and all the veggie fixings as well.

Delectable baked goods are always available, from Red Rock Bakery as well as Oh Susanna’s Bakery in season. And where else in Moab can you find real Gelato?

Mondo Café offers a great place for meeting with friends or just reading a book. It also offers free wireless internet, as well as use of their PC at a reasonable cost for those without a laptop. Come in and experience a microcosm of Moab. “We see everybody here,” Bob describes, “cyclists, climbers, jeepers, people just passing through.”

“But it’s the local regulars” adds Sarah, “that allow us to stay open all year.” That’s the world of Moab, or, more accurately, the Mondo of Moab.

Mondo Café is located at 59 South Main in McStiff’s Plaza, they can be reached at 259-5551.

Mondo Cup

 

 

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