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I have a shopping theory: find a good parking space, and you’ll find great stuff inside. I know, I know, it sounds pretty lame, but I swear it works for me most of the time. And today my parking theory was in perfect alignment. The morning was joyfully filled with great parking spaces as my friend Melissa and I shopped for a work project. Now any seasoned shopper knows that great shopping works up an appetite, and by 12:30 we were starved. Melissa had heard of a place in nearby Mason, a non-chain kind of place that we both prefer, so we plugged the address in the GPS and set off.

Soon we were navigating down a narrow driveway alongside a charming century-old yellow house in downtown Mason, Ohio and into the tiny parking lot of Wildflower Cafe and Coffeehouse. In perfect step with our successes of the morning, a car was pulling out just as we arrived in the completely full lot, and we secured an excellent parking position just steps from the rear entry. Was it a sign of great stuff inside?

The back picket-fence gate led us down a path bordered on one side by herbs, sunflowers, tomatoes and a greenhouse; on the other side were picnic tables, a grill and a smoker. Inside we found the original rooms of the house converted into intimate dining rooms and kitchen; upstairs a bar and additional dining space.

As we walked in, we were asked if we had a reservation. For lunch? Really? Oh my yes; business was that brisk, and we happily settled for two seats at the bar.  Our water and iced tea were served in plastic cups made from recycled material that is compostable. Lovin’ that.

For lunch, we decided to share the Assorted Organic Cheese Board: salted nuts (cashews, almonds, pecans), cow’s milk feta with a drizzle of something truffle-y (other items on the menu spoke of a lemon truffle oil), crumbled bleu with a touch of local honey, raw milk sharp white cheddar, Ohio Amish Pastured Cheese du jour (ours was fontina), and warm (WARM!) marinated olives, all accompanied by Carr’s black pepper crackers and a heap of dressed spinach. Seriously yummy. [I am hoping my brother Michael makes me a board this lovely from the black walnut he’s currently drying in his back yard. Hint.]

Next, the Wildflower salad: edible flowers, spinach, micro-greens, ever-so-sweet grapes, shredded organic carrot, mixed nuts,  and organic bleu cheese, tossed in a raspberry champagne vinaigrette, served with wood-fired Blue Oven bread & Jam Lady Jam. The crust of the bread was dotted with sesame, poppy and fennel seeds and sea salt; inside the bread was dense and chewy. Oh, and toasted.

Melissa was right on target when she said “the only thing that could have made this lunch better would have been a glass of vino.”  And in the end, my theory remained true. Good parking; good stuff inside.

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