201029MOCHAFOOD

Jennifer Spangler, a member of The Gazette’s restaurant review team The Four Dishes, enjoyed this grilled sausage and egg panini during a recent visit to Mocha Moment in Janesville. The sandwich also featured cheddar cheese with garlic and herbs.

JANESVILLE

Mocha Moment has been growing in popularity and with good reason. It is the cutest little hideaway.

The exterior is rustic and homey. A pergola greets you near the entrance. Beautiful perennials are scattered throughout the grounds, providing happy, bright colors. A large deck with several tables and chairs gives customers a birds-eye view of the surrounding woods in all its glory.

There is nothing like sitting on the sunny deck overlooking the quiet woods. The bird feeders are kept full, and hummingbirds and cardinals regularly stop in.

Inside, the homeyness continues. A stately fireplace with four oversized club chairs beckons you to come and sit a spell. Counter seating is also available as well as several tables and chairs. The coffee shop has numerous windows and a set of French doors that guarantees spectacular views no matter the season.

I’ve been a weekly 6:30 a.m. regular for years. A friend and I usually split a Southerner Panini ($4), which Mocha Moment makes with its homemade, seven-grain bread, and it has a spicy, limey addition that makes my day.

Sometimes I have the cheesy Denver in a dish ($2.50), but at that hour, it’s the dark, house-roasted coffee that tastes best.

If I look at the home-baked goods, I have to have one. The shop offers a variety of scones, and I prefer the bacon cheddar ($2.75) when I’m there early. At this time of year, the pumpkin bars ($2.25) are wonderful, too. They are spicy, moist and light with a fluffy frosting.

When I visit for lunch, I love the chili or tortilla soup ($2.25 per cup), which is served every other day. Tomato-based with ground beef, a mix of beans and kernels of corn, the chili is best when you top it with cheese.

For the sake of this review, I had to try the caramel macchiato cheesecake ($4). The rich coffee flavor was followed by the creamy cheesecake, and the light caramel gave it a perfect finish.

Nikki took advantage of the drive-up window and stopped for a quick lunch to go. There isn’t a phone at the restaurant for ordering ahead, but the turnaround time was pretty quick when she placed her order at the window.

Nikki ordered the grilled ham and Swiss on rye ($3.75) and the mango medley ($3.75). The sandwich consisted of grilled bread and a few slices of ham and melty Swiss cheese, which was simple but satisfying. The fruit cup—with chunks of mango, sliced strawberries and kiwi—was just the right amount of sweetness to end her lunch.

Jennifer stopped in at lunchtime but thought breakfast sounded appealing, so she opted for the grilled sausage and egg panini ($4).

A perfectly grilled French bread sandwich arrived with a sausage patty, egg and cheddar cheese. Its crispy exterior gave way to an exceptionally moist center. Seasoned with fusion garlic and herbs, it was the garlic flavor that gave the sandwich the little added kick that she so enjoyed.

Even though it was chilly outside, Jennifer chose to sit on the deck. She relished the lovely sounds of nature as birds chirped, autumn leaves fell delicately and a gentle breeze permeated the air.

Helene also visited over the lunch hour. The garden turkey sandwich ($4.50) caught her eye when she saw it had spinach and garlic/herb spices.

All of the bread here is homemade, and the whole-grain bread that this sandwhich was served on was the highlight of the plate. Grilled and giving the crustless bread a bit of crunch, the seeds added to the heartiness of the sandwich. While not a huge sandwich, it was ample enough to satisfy Helene’s hunger pangs.

The garlic seasoning added a nice aromatic flavor, and the warm cheese played well against the chewy bread.

Since she also decided to dine outside on a bit of a blustery day, Helene added a cup of broccoli soup ($2.25) to warm up. Very creamy with chunks of broccoli, it complemented the sandwich perfectly.

For dessert, she also tried a slice of coffee cake ($1.75), which was cakey and cinnamon-y. She said it was delicious.

After a trip to Mocha Moment, you might say, “I went to the woods.” And you would be right. Members of the Dean family created a wonderful, thoughtful retreat when they built Mocha Moment. Sitting inside or out on the deck, you really feel as if you are outside the city, nestled among the trees.

The Four Dishes—Nikki Bolka, Helene Ramsdell, Jennifer Spangler and Beth Webb—review regional restaurants for The Gazette.

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