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Sunday, August 7, 2011

Columbia Eats: Drip

French-pressed coffee has become kind of the new fad in the South as of late, with a flurry of small, independent coffee shops popping up around the deep South. The recipe is the same for most: supply high-end coffee at Starbucks prices alongside a small, but charming menu of bistro-esque items for under ten dollars. And free wi-fi of course. Each differ a bit in their approach food-wise, but the general sentiment of "provide a damn good cup of coffee without the pretensions of a chain" is kind of the flagship message of these establishments.

Drips take on the trend pairs coffee with high quality ingredient sandwiches, several involving prosciutto with some cheese pairings. I opted for one of those, a prosciutto and brie concoction on sourdough with a small bowl of honey and balsamic to dip with a side of fruit. The standout of the sandwich for me was the sourdough. Crisp to touch and beautifully crackling to the ear, yet nice and light to bite, just they way you want any sandwich bread. The ingredients inside were okay, not oh-my-god amazing in an earth-shattering way, but nice and not overly salty as some may fear. The fruit was spot on, nice and sweet, and a good way to mop up the excess honey and balsamic.

Honestly, I was a little puzzled on how to go about reviewing a cup of coffee without sounding like a Tyler Florence special. I could say that "the Sumatra has a luscious, velvety texture and a rich, dark, malty body that pairs beautifully with..." but you know what, screw it. Drip serves a damn fine cup of French pressed coffee. Period. It's nice and silky, and comparable to Starbucks in prices, but with a greater quality. It actually took me a moment to look around for the menu items, but once I got adjusted (some coffee options on the front right wall, food items above the bar for newcomers) it didn't take long to make a decision.

No Reservations, the lowdown on Drip
Atmosphere: Casual, but contemporary. Think Starbucks,
but a little more homey.
Costs: Sandwiches are priced around $7.95 for lunch on, but breakfast items are mostly around $5 and offered all day along with a couple of under $6 options for lunch.
Try: Uh, Coffee.

Drip is still a newcomer in the scene, but I think it's safe to say they have all the makings of a quality coffee shop. I worry about the seating, which could slow things down for those who want to come in, wi-fi and work during the school semester. It was already decently busy on my visit, I only imagine things getting busier as USC kicks back into gear at the rate it is going, but for a place like Drip I imagine this to be a good problem for them. Food-wise, there's still room for growth. While I enjoyed what I had, I still had a slight yearning for something more than fruit and a sandwich. Drip's shown that they've only begun to show what they can do though. With the recent announcement of evening hours for the school year, I hope to see them push out some greater fare for the afternoon and evening crowd like Cafe Strudel and 116 - Cola's Tea and Wine bars - have on the other side of the river.

Drip on Urbanspoon


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