Why now is the perfect time to visit Table of Contents Cafe

Published: Monday, February 19, 2018 @ 6:00 AM

A tuna melt with Tillamook cheddar and a bowl of homemade cream of tomato soup taken surrounded by books at Table of Contents Cafe. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY ALEXIS LARSEN
A tuna melt with Tillamook cheddar and a bowl of homemade cream of tomato soup taken surrounded by books at Table of Contents Cafe. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY ALEXIS LARSEN

XENIA — With the announcement last month that Blue Jacket Books in Xenia would be closing, my first thought was simply just how sad it was.

One more local bookstore to disappear. Another mom and pop operation that’s closing its doors.

>>MORE: Independent bookstore in Xenia going out of business

With a single visit to this homey independent book store it quickly became clear you were in a place that was built on a deep-seated love and commitment to the written word. It was always a nice place to visit that was warm, comfortable and offered voracious readers plenty to dig into.

My next thought went immediately to Table of Contents Cafe.

>>RELATED: Cozy local cafe enchants with literary magic, Harry Potter drinks

Lawrence Hammar and Cassandra Lee, husband and wife and co-owners of the bookstore and cafe, have created a really sweet stop in Xenia to peruse 50,000 used, rare and out-of-print books and grab a bite to eat right in the middle of the store.

Table of Contents is a cafe inside Blue Jacket Books at 30 S. Detroit in Xenia. Specializing in used books, the store has 50,000 books. CONNIE POST/STAFF(Connie Post)

The bookstore, now in its 11th year of business, opened at its current location, 30 S. Detroit St., in 2013 while Table of Contents Cafe, run by Lee, opened a couple of years ago.

Hammar announced in a Jan. 30 Facebook post that May 12 will be the store’s last day. Table of Contents Cafe and the other businesses that share the space, including Our Family Soap and Yellow Dogs Pet Supplies will stay open.

That news welcomed a sigh of relief when I read it.

The cafe, tucked away a few rooms back from the front of the bookstore is surrounded by handwritten signs directing book lovers to the subject matter they might be in search of.

>>RELATED: 7 soups to warm you up this winter

Hungry diners are only a few steps away from a wealth of knowledge on Ancient Greece and Rome, German and Russian studies, Psychology, The United Kingdom, Historiography, African American studies, Asian studies, Central America, Archeology, Native and non-native Americans and the United Kingdom.

Table of Content's Grilled Cheese (with tomato bits and scallions in the melted cheese) and a coup of Anjou Pear Soup hit the spot. The cafe is inside Blue Jacket Books at 30 S. Detroit in downtown Xenia. CONNIE POST/STAFF(Connie Post)

The Table of Contents Cafe menu is small, but mighty and often has changes with specials and updates. One thing always seems to be consistent — fresh, healthy, vegetarian-friendly, homemade soups, salads and sandwiches. Even the bread has been made fresh in-house.

>>HIDDEN GEM: Belmont's best-kept lunch secret

The cafe’s Facebook page is updated almost daily, so learn more about the specials and what’s being offered there if you are interested to see what’s being served up on a particular day.

Both businesses reflect the owners Pacific Coast roots and sensibilities, for a little touch of Portlandia in Xenia, Ohio.

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The food makes for a delicious and filling lunch that’s reasonably priced and good for you with plenty of heart-healthy options to choose from.

The menu at Table of Contents changes daily. The cafe is inside Blue Jacket Books at 30 S. Detroit in Xenia. CONNIE POST/STAFF(Connie Post)

This is not the place to go to if you are looking for soda or anything fried.

In fact, beverages you can choose from are hot coffee ($2.25), hot tea ($2.25) or hot spiced apple cider ($2.75). If that doesn’t float your boat, go with water because it’s the only other option.

>>MORE: 9 must-eat sandwiches in Dayton

The paleo-inspired salad plate on a recent visit in January featured deviled eggs, greens, sweet potato quinoa, coleslaw, black rice, mushroom lentils, carrot and couscous for ($9.75). The homemade soups served in a bowl with salad and fresh baked bread ($7) included cream of tomato, potato-kale and a white bean soup with ham.

>>RELATED: Check out these ADORABLE tea stops in the Dayton area

A tuna melt with Tillamook cheddar ($6.50) hit the spot on a blustery winter day with a nice cup of the tomato soup. The special was a pulled pork burrito topped with roasted poblano and sweet pepper spaces served with black beans, brown rice and lime coleslaw ($9.50). It was packed with meat and a great value for the size of the meal and the quality of the ingredients used.

Made-from-scratch Chocolate Cake and Meyer Lemon Cake at Table of Contents -- why choose when you can have both? The cafe is inside Blue Jacket Books at 30 S. Detroit in Xenia. CONNIE POST/STAFF(Connie Post)

This is a feel-good dining spot knowing there are no preservatives, everything is fresh and almost everything is made from scratch.

The business has a five-star rating on Facebook after more than 60 reviews. Probably because it does exactly what it says it is going to do and does it really well.

Last year a reviewer wrote: “Stopped on my way home from work and picked up takeout. I got soup, four types of salads, and two types of bread for $34. It fed four of us with enough leftover soup and bread for my lunch today! I had my food in 10 mins, it tasted great, and cost less than fast food for four!”

>>RELATED: 11 (more) sandwiches you must eat in Dayton

If you are into clean eating, there’s no doubt that this is a spot that can do what you are looking for. And if you are into books the Facebook post from Hammer said they will be selling everything in the store beginning in early March, so some great deals may be available for those willing to put in the time to look.

In the winter months, there is nothing better than curling up with a good book and this is a humble little spot to find your next book while you grab a bright, tasty meal.

Now is certainly the time to try out this little gem before they sell all of the inventory and the Table of Contents Cafe is no longer surrounded by Tables of Contents.

Table of Contents cafe is inside Blue Jacket Books at 30 S. Detroit in Xenia. CONNIE POST/STAFF(Connie Post)
Dayton Eats looks at the regional food stories and restaurant news that make mouths water. Share your menu updates, special dinners and events, new chefs, interesting new dishes and culinary adventures. Do you know of new exciting format changes, specials, happy hours, restaurant updates or any other tasty news you think is worth a closer look at? E-mail Alexis Larsen at alexis.e.larsen@hotmail.com with the information and we will work to include it in future coverage.

Want to go?

WHAT: Tables of Contents Cafe

WHERE: Inside Blue Jacket Books, 30. S. Detroit St., Xenia

MORE INFORMATION: 937-376-3522 or www.facebook.com/Tables-of-Contents-Cafe-409499402572427

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Where to eat Easter brunch and dinner in Dayton

Published: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 @ 6:00 AM

Cookbook recipes don't always turn out as you'd hope. The original recipe for Eggs Baked in Ham calls for two eggs, but you can see how the ham cup fell apart with the additional egg. Better to use just one. [SCOTT KEELER, Times]  **Mark for release Tuesday, April 7, 2009**  .St. Petersburg Times photo by Scott Keeler
Keeler, Scott/St Petersburg Times
Cookbook recipes don't always turn out as you'd hope. The original recipe for Eggs Baked in Ham calls for two eggs, but you can see how the ham cup fell apart with the additional egg. Better to use just one. [SCOTT KEELER, Times] **Mark for release Tuesday, April 7, 2009** .St. Petersburg Times photo by Scott Keeler(Keeler, Scott/St Petersburg Times)

Santa Claus doesn’t hold a candle to the Easter Bunny when it comes to brunch. 

What better way to get excited for Easter than to think of all the delicious springtime meals you’ll be having soon? 

>> PHOTOS: Take a look inside the brand new Troll Pub Dayton -- now open!

>> Carrot cake pancakes are a thing now -- and here’s where to get them in Dayton

We’ll continue to update this guide of all Dayton-area Easter food events as the day gets closer. If you know of any we missed, send us the info at contact@dayton.com and we’ll be sure to add it to the list. 

>> WATCH: See video of the Levitt Pavilion transformation in downtown Dayton

🐰 The Wright Place’s Chef-Driven Easter Brunch

Executive Chef Justin White will host an extravagant, farm-driven Easter Brunch at his popular flight-inspired restaurant, The Wright Place, located inside the Holiday Inn Dayton in Fairborn. The occasion includes a special visit and free photo with the Easter Bunny, who will have plastic Easter eggs for children to decorate. For adults, freshly-made Mimosas as well as a Bloody Mary Cart will be available. When it comes to the food, Chef White is pulling out all the stops.

WHEN: 2 seating times, 12 p.m. & 2 p.m. Sunday, April 1
WHERE: The Wright Place inside Holiday Inn, 2800 Presidential Dr, Fairborn

INFO & RESERVATIONS: 937-426-7800

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🐰 Easter Dinner at Roost

Roost Events in Kettering is pulling out all the stops for their Easter brunch buffet. The price is $32 for adults and $15 for children ages 5-10. Aside from cocktails and mocktails, a few of the mouthwatering options include eggs benedict ‘Bruschetta’, rosemary roasted top round of beef, Belgian waffles and much more.

WHEN: 11 a.m.- 4 p.m. Sunday, April 1

WHERE: Roost Events, 580 Lincoln Park Blvd., Kettering

INFO: roostamerican.com

>> 9 of the best brunch spots in Dayton

🐰 Bob Evans Easter Farmhouse Feast

Bob Evans Restaurants is “bringing a new tradition to the table with its Easter Farmhouse Feast – a fully cooked, heat-and-serve home style meal that serves up to 10 people for $109.99.” 

“At Bob Evans, we understand the importance and special meaning of sharing a meal with friends and family on Easter,” said Saed Mohseni, president and CEO of Bob Evans Restaurants. “Guests can order the feast at any Bob Evans Restaurant or online at www.bobevans.com and schedule their own pick-up date now through March 31. The meals are packed fresh, but quantities are limited, so ordering early is highly recommended.” 

INFO: bobevans.com

>> What happened to Dub Pub’s 2nd location in Austin Landing? 

(Bob Evans)

🐰 Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse Easter Brunch 

For a finer fare this Easter Sunday, you and your family can enjoy your choice of Lobster Bisque, Modern Caesar or Housemade Burrata Salad followed by a mouthwatering entrée selection that includes Fleming’s Signature Eggs Benedict, Cinnamon Apple Brioche French Toast or Ora King Salmon Cobb Salad.

All entrées are accompanied by Lyonnaise potatoes with caramelized onions and chopped parsley as well as pan-seared asparagus with blistered grape tomatoes. Dessert will be served following dinner. The brunch menu starts at $47.

WHEN: Sunday, April 1
WHERE: Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse, 4432 Walnut St., Dayton
INFO: Facebook | 937-320-9548

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🐰 The Caroline Easter Brunch

Join The Caroline for Easter Brunch, featuring a buffet for kids and adults alike. Cost is $26 for adults, $13 for children under 12, and kids under 5 eat free. The buffet will feature a variety of brunch foods like scrambled eggs, home fries, sausage gravy and biscuits, bacon, French toast and waffles with bananas foster. There will be a carving station, grilled chicken breast, grilled salmon, and much more. Assorted desserts are available, too.

WHEN: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday, April 1

WHERE: The Caroline, 5 S. Market St., Troy

INFO: Call 937-552-7676 for reservations | Website

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🐰 The Golden Lamb

This historic, nationally-renowned restaurant is hosting a special Easter menu, including delicious drinks like Bumbleberry Soda and Maple Peach Spritzer. Appetizers include Golden Lamb sauerkraut balls, house cured smoked salmon bruschetta and house-made family style relish platter. Entrees include Ohio-raised fried chicken, maple dijon-glazed ham, carved beef tenderloin, braised Pennsylvania lamb shank and more. There will also be children’s options and a selection of gelato. See the full menu here. Prices vary depending on item.

WHEN: 11 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Sunday, April 1

WHERE: The Golden Lamb, 27 S. Broadway, Lebanon

INFO: 513-932-5065 | Website

>> Golden Lamb named ‘Most Iconic’ restaurant in the state of Ohio

🐰 Mills Park Hotel -- Ellie’s Restaurant Easter Brunch

Celebrate this special holiday with Ellie’s. They’ll be serving raspberry almond pancakes, smoked ham benedict and special bakery delights in addition to their regular brunch menu. Reservations suggested for restaurant seating.

WHEN: 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday, April 1

WHERE: Ellie’s Restaurant, 321 Xenia Ave., Yellow Springs

INFO: 937-319-0402 | Website

>> 12 of the BEST restaurants in Dayton

🐰 Basil’s on Market Easter Buffet Brunch

This Easter brunch special will feature all your brunch favorites, along with many other delicious delicacies for only $25.95 per person. That price even includes your (nonalcoholic) drink of choice. Event is reservation only, so make sure to call and reserve your spot.

WHEN: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, April 1

WHERE: Basil’s on Market, 312 N. Patterson Blvd., Dayton

INFO: 937-818-4390 | Facebook event

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🐰 View 162 Restaurant & Lounge Easter Brunch Buffet

You certainly can’t beat the view of Dayton. This restaurant in Crowne Plaza Dayton is hosting an Easter brunch buffet that includes a breakfast station with pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, breakfast potatoes and a create-your-own-omelet setup; a carving station with pineapple honey-glazed pit ham, a soup and salad bar, several entrees (including baked chicken, broiled salmon, roasted pork loin and penne pasta), herb-roasted fingerling potato, spanish rice and grilled asparagus, and of course a dessert station. Cost is $28.95 per person. Kids ages 12 and under are $14.95. Seniors will receive a 10% discount. 

WHEN: 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday, April 1

WHERE: View 162 Restaurant and Lounge at Crowne Plaza Dayton, 33 E. 5th St., Dayton

INFO: 937-229-9853

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🐰 Easter Sunday Brunch & Fried Chicken Dinner at Lily’s Bistro

Join Lily’s for brunch and then chicken dinner. All your favorite brunch items will be there, along with their family-style free range fried chicken dinner. Reservations encouraged.

WHEN: Brunch from 10 a.m.-3 pm. and chicken dinner from 5-9 p.m., Sunday, April 1

WHERE: Lily’s  Bistro, 329 E. 5th St., Dayton

INFO: 937-723-7637

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🐰 El Meson Easter Brunch

Join El Meson for an Easter Brunch featuring all kinds of dishes, like steak encebollado (beef filet with tomatoes, onions, and chimichurri sauce), Caribbean rum glazed ham, seafood zarzuela with orecchiette pasta, egg and cheese omelet, grits and chorizo, Mexican red rice, saffron rice, Latin stir-fry veggies, manchego scalloped potatoes, garbanzos with spinach, assorted salads, fresh fruit salpicon, Jamaican jerk slaw, assorted crusty breads, coffee cakes and sweet breads. There’s also a kid’s buffet with a burrito bar. Cost is $29 for adults, $14 for children ages $12 and under, and free for children ages 6 and under. Bar opens at 11 a.m. Tax and tip will be added. Reservations can be made by calling 937-859-8229.

WHEN: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday, April 1

WHERE: El Meson, 903 E. Dixie Dr., West Carrollton

INFO: 937-859-8229 | Facebook event

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🐰 Easter Brunch or Dinner at Carvers

Plated brunch will be served from 11 a.m.-3 p.m., and the dinner menu will be served all day. The three-course Easter brunch is $35 and includes one choice from each course. Soup or Salad course: lobster bisque, spinach salad with honey mustard, romaine salad with balsamic vinaigrette, classic Caesar salad. Entree course: Prime Rib Eggs Benedict, Tenderloin Skillet, Honey BBQ Salmon, Carver’s Steak & Eggs. Dessert Course: Blackberry Chocolate Mousse or Carrot Cake. See the full menu here.

WHEN: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday, April 1

WHERE: Carvers Steaks & Chops, 1535 Miamisburg Centerville Road, Dayton

INFO: 937-433-7099

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Carrot cake pancakes are a thing now -- and here's where you can get them in Dayton

Published: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 @ 6:00 AM

First Watch offers carrot cake pancakes as one of their menu items off 'The Middle Griddle' STAFF PHOTO / ALLEGRA CZERWINSKI
First Watch offers carrot cake pancakes as one of their menu items off 'The Middle Griddle' STAFF PHOTO / ALLEGRA CZERWINSKI

Love carrot cake?

You can eat this sinfully delicious treat for breakfast, and don’t even have to feel guilty about it, thanks to First Watch

>>GUIDE: Where to eat Easter brunch and dinner in Dayton

The brunch chain offers carrot cake as one of the options when you order the multigrain pancakes.

>>MORE: 7 dishes you must try at First Watch

They’re loaded with shredded carrots, of course, walnuts and raisins and just like any great flapjack, it’s crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. You can get one for $4.79 or a stack of two for $6.79.

>> RELATED: 3 local BBQ purveyors capture national acclaim, snag two ‘No. 1’ awards

“I’d say the carrot cake pancake is the perfect mix of farm fresh food they’re known for, and an indulgent meal that fulfills my sweet tooth cravings,” said local foodie Lauren Turner. 

>> PHOTOS: Take a look inside downtown Dayton’s newest bar and restaurant

She recommends pairing the pancakes with an order of the Million Dollar Bacon, which First Watch describes as four slices of hardwood smoked bacon baked with brown sugar, black pepper, cayenne and a maple syrup drizzle.

>> GUIDE: 9 of the best brunch spots in Dayton

An order of the ‘millionaire’s bacon’ costs $4.99, but it’s on First Watch’s seasonal menu, so its availability may be limited. 

>>MORE: 7 places to get a healthy brunch

You’ve surely heard of breakfast for dinner, so why not try dessert for breakfast?! 

First Watch offers carrot cake pancakes as one of their menu items off 'The Middle Griddle' STAFF PHOTO / ALLEGRA CZERWINSKI

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Skyline Chili is going GREEN for St. Patrick’s Day

Published: Wednesday, March 14, 2018 @ 11:28 AM

Skyline Chili Facebook
(Skyline Chili Facebook)

Forget green eggs and ham.

Skyline Chili will be serving their signature noodles piping hot and bright green this St. Patrick’s Day.

>> Your official guide to Dayton St. Patrick’s Day events

Announced on the chili king’s Facebook page earlier this week, Skyline said it will dish out its classic 3-Ways, 4-Ways and 5-Ways with green noodles for one day only on Saturday, March 17. 

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Green chili noodles not calling your name? Regular spaghetti will be available upon request.

>> 9 must-eat sandwiches in Dayton

“Green Ways” will be available at most locations,” according to Skyline Chili. For a full list of their locations in the Dayton-area, visit the website.

>> Troll Pub wants to open by St. Patrick’s Day

(Skyline Chili)

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Sonic Drive-In selling pickle juice slushes

Published: Friday, March 16, 2018 @ 5:26 PM

As we get closer to summer, Sonic Drive-In will have the perfect slush flavor to cool you down: Pickle juice.

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Food and Wine reports the fast food restaurant will roll out Pickle Juice Snow Cone slushes starting in June.

>>GUIDE: The best St. Patrick’s Day events in Dayton 

Taste testers say it's not as bad as you might think.

This is Sonic's new pickle juice slush, debuting this summer.

It's sweet and tangy.

>>The biggest and baddest St. Patrick's Day party in the STATE is held right here in Dayton

It's also a great partner with burgers, hot dogs, and tater tots.

Pickle flavored drinks are a trend in the U.S. There are bars serving the juice in shots and even a pickle juice flavored sports drink on the market.

>>Dayton Dining Classic: The Root Beer Stande is still going strong

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