POSTED ON AUGUST 6, 2008:
New to the Neighborhood
A new Kendall Whittier coffee house opens with bright ideas for the future
Her Kind of Place. McNamee is excited about the prospect of what Alisee Momo can be--a relaxed place for friends to gather, a place to listen to music, a place to read, and of course, a place to have breakfast, lunch and a made-to-order drink.
Former school teacher Joyce McNamee said she "just wanted to do something else." Getting out of education and into her own business was her dream come true. And now, Alisee MoMo, a quaint little coffee shop, is her own little place on the corner of Lewis and Admiral. While some may not think this location is the best, it is situated nicely and easily approachable from midtown and downtown--between Circle Cinema and Ziegler Picture Framing and Art Supplies.
"We're small and intimate," said McNamee. "We try to make our customers feel at home here."
Alisee MoMo's does just that. The walls are colored in deep hues, and the ceiling is flat black. Comfy leather couches outfit two lounging areas, and tables and chairs cover the remaining area. Music plays in the background, and two TVs offer customers the option of watching while they eat.
I popped into Alisee MoMo one day for lunch and had a pleasant time. The menu is filled with a variety of drinks, as well as sandwiches, wraps, salads and soups. Reading through the drink menu, I took a while to make a decision. Besides the usual list of coffee shop choices, additions of sweetened and unsweetened syrups, such as vanilla, chocolate, cinnamon, caramel, French vanilla, banana, blackberry, peanut butter, peppermint, strawberry, hazelnut, coconut, strawberry, raspberry, passion fruit, lime and blueberry, make the decision much more difficult. Other drink options include Oregon Chai (hot or iced), Italian Hot Chocolate or White Hot Chocolate, Gourmet Iced Tea, smoothies, iced frappes, Italian sodas, fountain drinks and bottled drinks (AMP Energy Drink, Ocean Spray juice, Dole juice, assorted sodas, SOBE Life Water, Gatorade and Propel).
I went with a Pomegranate Blueberry Smoothie ($3.85 for a 16 oz.), which was very thick and flavorful. I have to say it was one of the most richly flavored smoothies I have tasted--and I have tasted many. McNamee said her smoothies "are the best in town." Her mixes are a product called Jet from Henderson Coffee in Muskogee. Other smoothie flavors include Mango Mania, Strawberry Bomb, Strawberry Banana, Mandarin Orange-Passion Fruit and Extreme Peach.
For lunch, I ordered a MoMo Wrap ($6.75). The wrap came as a flour tortilla filled with grilled chicken, red onion, spinach, chopped ham, tomato, cheese and Ranch Dressing. It was pressed in a pannini grill, it seemed. It was served hot, slightly crispy on the edges.
I also had a bowl of Broccoli Cheddar Cheese soup ($3.25). This soup had a thick, gelatin consistency. It actually turned out to be cream of asparagus once I got into eating it. The soup was good for what it was, but did not seem of the homemade variety.
Other lunch items include paninis (turkey and Swiss, ham and cheddar, cheese and tomato), wraps and gourmet sandwiches (roast beef, turkey, ham, grilled chicken), Salads (Garden Salad, Chef Salad, Spinach Salad) and breakfast items--bacon, egg and cheese croissant, assorted muffins and cinnamon rolls.
Another item McNamee is very proud of is her homemade Banana Nut Bread. She was eager to tell me, "I have put this bread in food fairs and have won prize money for it."
The key, she said, to her bread is that she adds four spices: allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.
"These four together bring out the flavor of the bread," she said. Nuts and raisins are also added. After baking the bread, she wraps it tightly and does not serve it until the next day.
"This allows all the flavors to blend and get into the bread," she said.
She sells this bread by the slice for $2.50 or by the size of the loaf: small is $4, medium is $6 and large is $10. I sampled a slice of this famous bread, and it was good. I immediately detected the taste of clove as a spice not usually added to banana bread. It did add another dimension to the taste.
In case you are wondering about the name, there is not much to it.
"It's just catchy," McNamee said. She said the word "alisee" means "virtuous woman" in French and the "momo" part was just a good extension from alisee. She said that she and a few others were sitting around, collaborating on what the name should be, and Alisee MoMo is what evolved.
Alisee MoMo, having opened May 12, is still working out some of the details. McNamee said this is her first venture in business with little to no business background. She is excited about the prospects of what Alisee Momo can be--a relaxed place for friends to gather, a place to hook up with Wi-Fi, a place to listen to music, a place to read, and of course, a place to have breakfast, lunch and a made-to-order drink.
2326 E. Admiral Blvd.
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