Dirt Cheap Eats 2008: Big Bear Cafe

Fine-dining chefs aren’t the only ones eager to share the provenance of their ingredients: This cafe’s bread is from the local Lyon Bakery, the milk from Pennsylvania’s Trickling Springs Creamery. One bite of the simple, flavorful caprese panino—stuffed with late-season, ripe tomatoes, creamy mozzarella, and aromatic basil—made us glad they’ve taken the care.

Simplicity is also celebrated with the turkey-apple-Brie panino ($6.50) and the molten grilled cheese on pumpernickel. Jessie’s Salad ($7)—with juicy grilled chicken, feta crumbles, and cucumbers dressed with balsamic vinaigrette—is a substantial meal. And the latte is lovely not only for its flavor but also for the Seattle-coffeehouse swirl on top. Open Monday through Friday 7 am to 8 pm, Saturday 7:30 to 6, Sunday 8:30 to 6.

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Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.