Liv Cafe’ & Bistro: A Reviewby Jim Gressinger on Jul. 22, 2012, under Restaurant Reviews
Well, thought I as we entered, this won’t be much of a review. There’s nothing about the general appearance of Liv Café & Bistro to suggest anything but ordinary. I mean, inside it sorta looks like just another Starbucks, only more sparse. The patio seating is OK, but it’s not like there’s a great view or anything.
But Ms. Sue, our frequent dining companion, had suggested this nondescript establishment in St. Philip’s Plaza because they serve extra-ordinary breakfasts. Yet, here we were, Ms. Sue, Ms. Karen & I, at least a half hour past when breakfast is no longer served. Thus, lunch it would be, and that translated to just another ordinary salad or sandwich. Or so I thought.
First things first. “Liv”, the name of this establishment, could be pronounced either “live” or “live”. So while ordering our mochas, I inquired of the cashier. She explained that it’s pronounced “live”, not “live”. So that cleared that up.
Shortly thereafter, Ms. Karen & I were agreeing that our respective mochas were unusually good, not too sweet.
Second, they describe their place as a “café” AND a “bistro”. I, as a professional reviewer, know full well that a “café” is a small, informal restaurant that serves, among other goodies, coffee.
I also know that a “bistro” is a small, informal restaurant that serves, among other treats, coffee.
Once the cashier had cleared up the pronunciation, I inquired as to which part of this small space is the “café” and which is the “bistro”. I was politely informed that the interior is the “café” and the patio is the “bistro”. I returned to our table satisfied that the matter had been completely cleared up.
Soon thereafter, our lunches were served in wire baskets. Ms. Sue had ordered their Caprese sandwich: “fresh mozzarella, homemade basil pesto, heirloom tomatoes, and a drizzle of balsamic reduction on a ciabatta roll, brushed with olive oil and pressed”. Several “ooo’s” and “aaa’s” later, I inquired as to how she liked her sandwich. It took her a while to put her sandwich down and reply, “This is really, really good.”
Ms. Karen had ordered the Curry Chicken Salad in a lettuce wrap rather than the advertised flatbread deli sandwich. “So, how is it,” I asked. “Very good,” she replied. “But it’s more than I can eat at one sitting, so I’m taking half of it home.”
In the meantime, I was looking at my Turkey Bacado (sandwich): “turkey, crispy bacon bits, Cheddar cheese, avocado and a “schmear” of chipotle mayo on a ciabatta roll, brushed with olive oil and pressed.” It didn’t look like any turkey sandwich I’ve ever had. For a moment, I thought they must have gotten my order mixed up with someone else’s.
I took a bite. Unsure as to what I had just experienced, I took another bite … and another. WOW! There was no doubt. I had just tasted the best turkey sandwich in a lifetime of turkey sandwiches. “Excellent” doesn’t do it justice. This sandwich was out of this world delicious.
I devoured the first half, got up, went to the register, and asked the cashier if I could speak to whomever made my sandwich. A shy young man came out from the kitchen, certain that I was about to register a complain.
I introduce myself, gave him my business card, and congratulated him on making the best turkey sandwich on Planet Earth. Big grin. He said his name is Dan.
I asked him if I could take his photograph. The result is the picture accompanying this review. Does Liv make the best sandwiches in Southern Arizona. YUP! Can’t wait to try their breakfast.
I will be adding Liv to our 2012 List of the Best Restaurants in BajaArizona.