We were heading to the Weber House for breakfast, but we were sidetracked by the architecture.
"The Howard K. Weber House is one of the few remaining great private houses left intact in the area once known as 'Aristocrat Hill.'
"It began as a small house of the 1840’s (or earlier) and grew through numerous changes until it evolved into its present exterior form sometime in the 1870’s.
"The house is a successful hybrid of two opposing styles--both typical of the 19th century--the classical and the romantic. It is a two-story, L-shaped, brick structure with overhanging eaves supported by brackets.
"The main (East) facade has a two-story bay window, which combines Corinthian columns, classical pediment, and decorative rectangular arches with non-functional keystone, which enhances the classical feeling of the Italianate Villa style.
"The porches, which were originally of wood, were rebuilt about 1900 in the neo-classical style then popular, which is sympathetic to the Italianate Villa style. The porch running north and south, along the east facade picks up details from the earlier structure and carries out a successful transition."
Stained glass windows, such as the one on the left, were added during the 1893 remodeling.
"Although this has undergone several changes throughout its history, the basic structure (in Gothic Revival style) is still intact. Taken as a whole this building is a truer example of a late Victorian home and all that this entails than many museum rooms which portray one decade or less of 'Correct' fashion" (from springfield.il. us/HowardWeberHouse).
Not only is the Weber House a spectacular building, it houses the Incredibly Delicious Café and Boulangerie. You enter through the gates on the south side of the house.
You then pass through a small garden with a few tables and chairs for those wanting to dine al fresco.
The interior best reflects this mood in its major restoration/remodeling of 1893. At that time the Webers installed parquet floors, a Romanesque Revival stairway, yards of lincrusta Walton wainscoting, in rooms which had been primarily classical in proportion and detail.
Just inside the doors is a hallway with a shelf unit with a variety of olive oils and jams.
Past the hallway is the counter where you can order breakfast, lunch, or one or more of their incredibly delicious breads and pastries that are the creation of the French trained owner/chef.
Not all of the bread selections are available every day, but they include: traditional French--baguette, batard, or epi (a series of yeast rolls which are interconnected to look like a stalk of wheat); King Midas semolina loaf; Country French made with sour starter; Multi Grain--wheat, rye, flax, millet, sesame seeds, oats, corn; Kalamata Olive; Challah- traditional Jewish egg braid; Wheat Raisin Walnut--zante currants (very small and intensely flavored) and California walnuts in a whole wheat base; and Pepper Parmesan--sourdough base finished with imported parmesan and cracked pepper.
And then there are pastries--cranberry walnut tart, cherry almond tart, mixed berry tart, coconut snowball cake, sour cream coffee cake, assorted cookies, and handmade croissants.
The café menu is not for big eaters and could be described as being for “ladies who lunch.” The lunch menu, which changes daily, is posted online. Today’s was: Mushroom and Goat Cheese Quiche; Artichoke, Tomato and Parmesan Quiche; Fresh Mozzarella, Pesto, and Tomato Bruschetta on a baguette; Chicken Salad Sandwich; Aroasta Chicken (?) and Jack Cheese Sandwich with lettuce, tomato, and mayo (all of the preceding are served with soup or salad); and Roasted Chicken Breast Salad with mixed greens, dried cranberries and raspberry vinaigrette. The breakfast menu is equally short and includes: an egg and cheese sandwich on a croissant; your choice from three quiches served with nut bread and coffee; and a selection of pastries and croissants (plain, chocolate, raspberry, and almond cream) with coffee.
We placed our orders—for Chuck the egg and cheese on a croissant and for Dora and me the artichoke and tomato quiche (and a plain croissant for me)—and went to find a table in one of the multiple dining rooms. Being located in an old house, Incredibly Delicious offers multiple dining areas in what were rooms in the original residence. Some rooms were painted white with teal blue trim. Some were flooded with light from the tall windows. And others had a more rustic look from exposed brick.
Soon our food was delivered to the table. Chuck’s sandwich, which contained a fried egg topped with good nutty Swiss cheese, was delicious. The croissant? We’ll get to that later.
Dora and my quiches were incredibly delicious. First, the tart’s crust was rich – very rich--and flakey. And the quiche mixture was a combination of chopped artichokes, sun-dried tomato strips, eggs, and parmesan cheese. The filling was as rich as the pastry crust with just a bit of fruity/nutty/salty flavor from the cheese. And the kitchen resisted the temptation to go overboard with the sun-dried tomatoes. The flavor of sun-dried tomatoes is quite intense, concentrated, and slightly salty, so a little goes a long way.
Our quiches came with toast that I suspect was made with the multi-grain bread. It was good, but multi-grain breads are not my favorite; so I am glad that I had added the croissant, which was buttery, flakey, and I think contained a hint of almond flavoring.
There is no better way to start the day than with a delicious breakfast in a beautiful old house. Truly a 5.0 Addie stop.