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One Acre Cafe: Holiday helping never tasted so good | Food

With all the holiday activities going on, my dining partner and I are thankful that there is a place close by where we can sit a spell in comfortable surroundings and review over lunch what we’ve been able to accomplish and what still needs doing. Fortunately, there is such a place here in Johnson City where we can do just that and be able to help our neighbors and neighborhood at the same time.

First impressions

One Acre Café is located at the corner of Southwest Avenue and West Walnut Street, just a stone’s throw from the Model Mill complex. It is easily accessed from West State of Franklin Road by turning either at West Watauga Avenue or Sevier Street. Ample parking is available at the restaurant.

One Acre Café is fronted by a deck for dining al fresco and be entertained by the passing traffic on West Walnut Street. Once through the restaurant’s double doors you find yourself at the cashier and carry-out station, with a dining area handling 60 or so located on your immediate left. Restrooms (neat and tidy) are accessed down the hall to your right.

Selections

One Acre Café’s lunch menu changes on a daily basis, and is served according to the size of your plate. Payment for your meal is made by donation, with the size of your donation determining how big your “plate” is: Small, $5; Medium, $7; and Large, $9. The entrée choices on offer when my dining partner and I showed up were a crust-less asparagus, mushroom and cheddar cheese quiche sided with hummus and raw vegetables, black-eyed pea salad and roasted turnips, carrots and onions (large plate, mine, for $9). My dining partner chose the chicken stroganoff entrée together with a side salad and corn pudding ($7). Also, available as lighter choice is a garden salad (Medium-size only) which you can order with or without a scoop of the house’s own chicken salad. A soup of the day (gluten-free taco on our visit) and heartier fare like Brunswick stew are available, as are two different desserts.

This is some sumptuous lunch fare, folks.

Should you be hungry and short of cash, don’t worry; you can pay for your meal by volunteering your service at the One Acre Café.

Volunteers from the community are also accepted to help run One Acre.

One such was Ms. Pat B., a friend of ours who’s volunteering stint at One Acre coincided with our lunch schedule, and was kind enough to take our order.

How it tastes

I was very pleased with my crust-less quiche, its asparagus matching well with the quiche’s mushrooms and cheddar cheese. As for my side orders, my hummus was just the right consistency for proper dipping of zucchini, carrot and celery sticks. The black-eyed pea salad was also well-received, though the roasted turnips, carrots and onions could have been roasted longer to raise a caramelized char strip along one edge.

My dining partner’s chicken stroganoff was delicious, especially when matched with a fresh garden salad and some house-made corn pudding that was packed with corn, exceeding the egg and milk components of the pudding that was holding them.

For our dessert, my dining partner and I wanted something that was not too sweet on the palate or the tongue.

Our friend Pat B. suggested we share a slice of the recently prepared and baked Dutch apple pie. This turned out to be a happy choice for us both. I want my apple pie to have some sour notes to go with the sweet ones. Though a pie-lover, my dining partner wasn’t a big fan of pie crusts as a rule, especially apple pie crusts. However, my partner was pleasantly surprised with the way the Dutch apple pie filling worked itself into the pie crust, imparting a sweetness that helped to bring out the crust’s own flavor bouquet. Myself. I was pleased that, despite the amount of sweetness in the pie filling, my taste buds could still tell there was apple in there.

The bottom line

Now, I know that if my dining partner and I are as busy with the holidays as we are, you gentle readers must be even more so. Why not take a break from decorating, tree trimming, package wrapping and stocking stuffing and head over to the Once Acre Café?

The atmosphere is festive, the food is delicious and the price is not only right but proper.

While you are there, why not sign up and trade some service for your lunch?

You will not only helping out your community, but the experience may be just the thing to add to your holiday spirit.

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