Cities love to compare their restaurant scene to that of San Francisco. Durango, CO claims to have almost as many restaurants per capita. Fairfield, IA claims to have more. Who’s going to check? But Fairfield does, for an Iowa town, have a broad range of choices including American, Asian, French, Indian, Italian/Pizza, Medi-terranean, Mexican, and organic.
Having steeped ourselves in Ayurvedic theory and wanting to maintain our “healthy minds in healthy bodies”, we headed off to Revela-tions Café and Used Bookstore for some ovo, lacto, vegan-friendly, organic, international, and non-veg food.
“…Julie Stephens and the staff at Revelations Café and Used Bookstore are barely keeping pace with orders from customers seated at tables wedged among the shelves of used books that fill the two-story building and at café tables set up on the sidewalk to handle the overflow. Stephens opened Revelations as a bookstore with her mother and two sisters in 1996 and began serving customers coffee and other specialty drinks, as well as pizza they’d learned to make in the brick oven a previous tenant had installed. Reinventing itself in typical Fairfield fashion to meet market demands, Revela-tions now offers a full menu of sandwiches, soups and salads made from locally grown organic produce, and its owners are among the most enthusiastic cheerleaders of the Practical Farmers of Iowa’s ‘Buy Fresh, Buy Local’ initiative in a town full of champions of local food systems. ‘Rev,’ using a pet name for the popular lunch, dinner and just plain hanging-out spot, ‘is always busy’ (www.travelfairfield iowa.com).
Located in the former Fairfield Tribune office, Revelations seems to be a local favorite. On the day of our visit, the café was full of groups and single diners, and numerous visitors were perusing the book shelves for the latest in yoga, health, self-help, reflexology, psychic, and/or supernatural tomes.
Miss M. posting on yelp.com said: “This is probably my favorite coffee shop in Iowa. All the food is great...organic, fresh, tasty, inexpensive. The wood oven pizza is the best, but I love their salads and pastries, too. The coffee is always fantastic. The best part of Revelations is the atmos-phere. There is always an eclectic, lively crowd and they even host music and poetry readings upstairs.... I could get lost here!”
Numerous reviewers mentioned the pizzas, especially the Wilted Spinach Vegan No-Cheese Pizza (made with fresh spinach, shredded carrots, grilled onions, toasted sesame seeds coated in ginger soy dressing on organic pizza crust) and the Portofino (made with artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, feta, kalamata olives, grilled onions with organic tomato sauce and organic mozzarella). This may fall under the heading of “Hard to Believe,” but neither of us was in the mood for pizza. Instead, we both opted for soup and sandwiches.
We both ordered a cup of the Bogota Potato soup. I have “googled” to no avail looking for a recipe that conformed to what we received that day. The recipes I found called Bogota Potato all call for chicken, potatoes, and ear of corn sections in either chicken stock or a cream base. We were served a hearty and creamy soup that was golden orange in color and contained limas, tomatoes, cabbage, some form of greens, and small chunks of what could be sweet potatoes or butternut squash. Even though I don’t know what we were eating, it was delicious.
For his sandwich, Chuck ordered the Revelations Nut Burger which came on a hearty and grainy bread (Could they serve anything else?) and was dressed with carrots and sprouts. A small cup of buttermilk dressing came on the side. Both of our sandwiches came with a small portion of chips and a dill pickle spear. The burger tasted just as the name suggests—nutty. And it had a hearty (There’s that word again.) and grainy texture. And there was a reason for the buttermilk dressing. The sandwich would have been unbearably dry without it.
I ordered the Hummus Wrap. A white flour tortilla (What! No whole wheat?) was stuffed with cucumber, sunflower, radish and sweet pea sprouts, shredded carrots, feta cheese, lettuce, and hummus. The veggies were impeccably crisp and fresh and made a wonderful textural contrast with the smooth hummus. If only the hummus had flavor. This was the blandest hummus ever. There was no trace of lemon, no trace of garlic, no trace of tahini. It tasted of nothing more than pureed garbanzos.
Not a bad lunch. Not a great lunch. A 3.5 Addie lunch.