we’ve liked foundation grounds for a long time. who wouldn’t, with their selection of fresh-baked goodies, with a number of them being vegan, and many of them featuring local, seasonal ingredients. the rest of their menu we remained (ignorant) of for too long. this is how we came to full-on crush on foundation grounds.
from the outside, it’s immediately obvious that foundation grounds is a friendly, neighborhood gathering place. the potted plants, fenced seating area, and corner perch are almost mayberry cute. inside, it's even better: it's personal, warm, and completely disarming.
all the staff are good-natured and patient while we point and gawk at the bakery case and take what must seem like an eternity to decide what—and how many—to get. they’re helpful with suggestions and knowledgeable about ingredients and prep. unlike so many coffeeshops, the people who work here seem to enjoy being here, which makes the experience so much more positive.
in a gluttonous effort to make up for lost time, we ordered three sandwiches, side salads and soup, and some desserts. the first thing we knew we wanted was the goddess sandwich, which comes with hummus, kalamatas, marinated red onions, spinach, and a sprinkling of feta. it’s not incredibly original, but what separates this one from the others is the hummus: you might think the olives would overpower it, but, incredibly, they balance each other nicely. and we couldn't get enough of the marinated red onions! all the bread is companion, by the way, and we were happy to hear it, because it toasts beautifully—just enough softness not to shred your mouth, but also enough sturdiness to hold it all together.
the vegan tempeh salad sandwich offers a bright blend of flavors, including dried cranberries, slivered almonds, onion, celery, and vegenaise. it's an updated, vegan twist on the chicken salad you might remember your mom making from chicken dinner leftovers. obviously fogro’s is not made from tempeh dinner scraps, but if it were, we’ve no doubt that the salad would outshine the original dish.
finally, to try something out of our norm, we opted for the perfect pear: sliced pear matched with red onion, lettuce, tomato, parmesan, and brie. usually we don’t much care for the texture or aroma of brie, but it turns into something magical when melted in a sandwich like this. pungent onions, sweet apples and pears, and creamy, mushroomy brie combine sublimely.
foundation grounds makes us wish we worked in the area so we could pop by for lunch every day. the good news is that they’re open late enough for dinner, after-dinner coffee, or any occasion you can think of as a reason to get here. we’re thinking with holiday shopping in full swing, while you’re making your way through all the shops in maplewood, this will be the perfect respite.