KaFo in Ridgefield is a coffee shop that cares about the food
If you, like me, are a fan of oddball facts, you should know that the word “kafo” means coffee in Esperanto. Esperanto is a language invented in 1887 by an academic who thought it would be a great idea for everyone all over the globe to be able to converse with one another no matter what their native language. It was a swell idea but as you can guess by how wonderfully all world
cultures still get along, Esperanto was a flop.
Even if you have left your Esperanto phrasebook at home, do not hesitate to stop in at KaFo, on Ridgefield’s Main Street, for a great cup of coffee and a fine casual meal.
Ridgefield’s Main Street is a treasure complete with a serious contemporary art museum, handsome library, sumptuous jewelry stores and chic boutiques of every stripe. Ridgefield glows in every season with holiday lights, sleigh rides, small town parades and beautiful flower baskets. KaFo is smack dab in the middle of Main Street and is one more reason to love and visit this town.
A problem I have with most of the caffeine fuel stops I go to for my daily fix is they all have pretty lousy food. I am always amazed that Starbucks scrapes by on coffee alone because good luck if you want anything more then a stale cookie or bag of overpriced organic nuts.
KaFo gets it right, hitting the middle ground between a great coffee shop and a casual restaurant. The coffee is delicious, straight black or gilded with any infusions or whipped toppings you can imagine. I am a four-shot espresso girl, so no syrupy doodads or frothy foams turn my head. The “juice” here is first rate, strong but not bitter, dark but not burnt.
Although I like my coffee “strong and manly,” I am still a sucker for a good pastry, cupcake or cookie. When I see swirly pink buttercream frosting, I instantly turn into a Disney princess. At this visit to KaFo there were cute Muppet character cupcakes and a very grown-up slice of Dulce de Leche layer cake. KaFo has great croissants and baked goods, all made fresh everyday.
But let’s say that you want more then just a cupcake and a cup of coffee. You are in luck because although everything at this intimate and friendly place is low key, the salads and crepes should not be overlooked.
Crepes used to be hard to find in Ridgefield, but there are a few choices. Of all the creperies, I like KaFo best. The crepes are made fresh when ordered. The dough is fine and light and the fillings original. You can get either a sweet or savory crepe. The Spinach and Feta Crepe was delicious, as was the Smoked Salmon Crepe drizzled with Chive Horseradish Crepes. For a walk on the wildly caloric side, make sure you try the Banana Creme Pie Crepe.
If I were able to eat only one dish here, it would be a tough choice between the very popular portobello mushroom panini and the interesting Zaatar Marinated Grilled Chicken, Avocado, Swiss Cheese with Harissa and Apricot Spread on Crusty Bread.
But with that said, and having made a one-dish commitment, I think I would go with the salads. The salads are not amazing looking nor are they especially huge but what is better then sticking a fork into a healthy meal and being shocked by its freshness and sheer deliciousness. I had the best Bulgar Wheat Salad here. Bulgar Wheat Salad is an old hippie/Middle Eastern staple and usually lackluster. At KaFo it comes to life, studded with goat cheese, chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley, olives, fresh mint, walnuts and dried cranberries. It is lightly dressed with a lemon vinaigrette.
My second salad choice is an interesting mix of leafy arugula, sweet potatoes, the healthy super grains faro and quinoa and shaved pecorino in a balsamic vinaigrette.
Food aside, I would like to add a word or two about an intangible. KaFo is one of the most pleasant places to take a lunch or coffee break. It is like sitting at your favorite aunt’s kitchen table eating homemade delicacies. There is nothing anonymous about it like the big coffee chains, yet it is spacious enough to offer elbow room. Next to me I see kids studying, I hear intelligent conversations about travels to exotic lands, and share good cheer over something as homey as a cup of coffee and a heart-shaped Linzer cookie. The restaurant scene in Ridgefield has bloomed and made a serious name for itself as destination dining.
417 Main St., Ridgefield
Jane Stern, a Ridgefield resident, co-authored the popular “Roadfood” guidebook series with Michael Stern.