It was about 11:30 am on Sunday, maybe 11:15, and I was thinking about how I have never made it to Catboat Coffee to try out the Lebanese options (which carry the Epicure label that’s also under their umbrella). I am not a summer person. I am a fall and winter person, so I am more likely to try out a new year-round place when it’s not the busiest season of the year.
I was delighted to see that there were plenty of open parking spaces at the Tisbury Marketplace, where you’ll find Catboat Coffee next to one of my other faves, Rocco’s. Being a strategist, I wrote down my order at home so that I could take it there and see if they had everything I wanted: Toum (a very, very garlic-y-creamy dip), $8; two Falafel Salads, $12 each; Fattoush (a cucumber, tomato, radish, and parsley salad with a light dressing and toasted bits of pita), $12; Muhammara (another dip, only with roasted red pepper and spices), $10; and an add-on I decided I needed once I got there: a one-pound tub of Chocolate Halawa, whose price escapes me because it was an impulse purchase, and I don’t care to pay attention to how much those cost.
I’ll admit that when I saw all the dips lined up in a cold case, I was a little disappointed that the food wasn’t being prepared right in front of me. The no-fuss containers were tidy, though, and it all looked pretty tasty. They prepared my two Falafel Salads in the back, and the falafel was still warm when I got home. Two young women helped pull my order together, and they were delightfully friendly — Anja Pejic and Jordan Price. Oh, and I almost forgot: I ordered eight pitas, $2 each. (Trust me, they’re about the size of a large pizza, and you don’t need more than four of them for three people.)
I plated some of the bounty so that I could take photos, and I figured my son Dan would be completely crazy about this, because he loves Middle Eastern food like his mom. My husband was very interested too, and decided mixing the Toum and Muhammara together was the way to go. Once they were settled, I got myself a nice-size bowl of Fattoush, and a spoon of each of the dips. The Toum was outstanding. Imagine the creamy texture of a whipped cream cheese infused with plenty (plenty) of garlic and a little lemon. The Muhammara was sweet but sassy, with a bit of spice, and equally as tasty.
By the time I was done with that, I thought I better open that giant jar of halawa to give it a try. I buy halvah bars every time I see one at Cronig’s, next to the baked goods, so I figured this tub full of the sesame paste treat would be right up my alley. It’s like they took five of those bars I love and crushed them and put them in a jar so that I can eat it with a spoon. I showed my daughter a photo of it, and all she could come up with was “You bought a pound? A pound?” Yes, I did.
The best part of Catboat Coffee is that you’ll also find pastries, breakfast sandwiches (also a fan of these), artisanal cheeses and specialty foods, cool merchandise, and 24 drink options, including Turmeric Latte and Rose Lemonade. Twenty-four.
I’d love to tell you how much I enjoyed that warm falafel salad, because that was supposed to be my main event. I am now sitting in the recliner, unable to take another bite of anything, because I’m stuffed. The leftovers are in the fridge, and around 4 pm, I bet I’ll hear them calling to me.
All of this is to say that you really ought to give Catboat Coffee a try. Even though I had no coffee at all, I completely enjoyed my take-out lunch. There are more options I’ll have to go back for, especially the baba ganoush. I’ve been thinking about it ever since I saw it in the cold case.
Catboat Coffee and Epicure, 79 Beach Road, Vineyard Haven. Open 7 am to 4 pm, seven days a week. Check the website for more information, catboatcoffee.com.