BELLINGHAM - Discriminating downtown diners can only hope the third time will be the charm for the café space inside Whatcom Museum's Lightcatcher Building.
Twofiftyflora is the latest effort to establish an eatery in one of downtown's main attractions. Like its predecessors in this venue, it serves up lunches that manage to be both creative and tasty.
The menu is based on soups and tartines - French-style open-face sandwiches. On any given day, you can choose one of three soups and one of three sandwiches, and the selections change every two weeks.
Vegans and the gluten-averse will find much to like here, but omnivores are not neglected.
In fact, one of the soups and one of the tartines is actually labeled "omnivore." The other two options are labeled "vegan" and "paleo." You can go both-vegan, both-omnivore, or both-paleo, or you can mix and match. A generous heap of baby greens with tangy vinaigrette fills out your lunch tray nicely.
On my recent visit I went with - you guessed it - paleo. The soup was a thick, intensely flavored yam ginger veloute with apple vinegar onions, smoked bacon and crushed almonds. It was superb. Ginger seemed the perfect setting for the rich yams.
The paleo tartine was roasted chicken smothered with house-made chipotle mayo and quinoa, topped with pumpkin seeds and cherry tomato. It was flavorful and satisfying, a filling meal combined with the soup and greens.
My companion chose omnivore, and for our visit that meant Senegalese curry peanut soup with organic chicken thigh, fresh cilantro and chopped peanuts. This was an exceptionally hearty and rich cupful, with a fiery chili afterglow on the palate.
The tartine was a generous pile of thinly sliced rare roast beef, balsamic red onions, arugula and double-cream brie.
Twofiftyflora is a sophisticated and creative option aimed at a sophisticated lunchtime clientele, but so were its predecessors at the museum. Perhaps this place will manage to offer that little something extra that keeps people coming back. After more than three months in operation, the place still appears to be bustling.
Address: 250 Flora St., Bellingham
Hours: Lunch, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday; Thursday happy hour, 5 to 8 p.m.
Price range: About $15 for soup, tartine and salad.
Reach John Stark at span class="emailaddress"> firstname.lastname@example.org or call 715-2274.