All North Alabamians know and love Piper & Leaf and now there is a second location in Madison!!You can’t pop into a local farmer’s market without seeing the long lines of smiling faces coming from the Piper & Leaf tent and for good reason. Their tea is, in a word, divine.With flavors like Apple Cart Blossom, Pumpkin Moonshine and Strawberry Shindig there is a tea for everyone. The new location is in the Sprout’s shopping center, tucked nicely against The Juicery, allowing you to get all of your healthy treats in one area. To kick of the grand opening Piper & Leaf threw one of their Splendid Shindigs, which included morning yoga, henna painting, contests, raffles and much more. Olivier and I arrived to the new location, which is light and modern. I’m so hesitant to use the term hip, as the hipster movement has such a bad rap, but the new location was all the good parts of hip. Clean, interesting, local, fresh and energizing. It was also very inclusive, accepting of all with judgement of none, which is very unhipster. There are lots of comfy sitting options throughout. You can enjoy your tea and nosh at the bar and watch the masterful tea artists at their best or in the overstuffed sofas in the back.The Piper and Leaf has amazing french cookies and house made pastries, so Olivier and I each got a savory pastry to pair with iced Piper Mint Blue at half sweetness (my favorite). My french husband said the pastries were the best he’d had.. outside of France of course, but still that is a huge compliment. Unfortunately, I went into complete glutton mode and forgot to find out what the names of the pastries were. They were delicious and I’d guess you really can’t go wrong. I will say they were presented on the most stunning wooden trays and I recommended eating them in-house for just that reason. The trays are created but the ultra talented artist Joshua Arney from locally produced Alabama hardwoods. Each one is a unique masterpiece so make sure you follow him at The Irish Crafter.Piper & Leaf also has dry tea and brewing accoutrement for the homebody and if you don’t need an entire jar they sell smaller bags. There are also samples if you can’t decide!Pop over today and enjoy the new location. It’s comfortably close to my house so I think I’ll be spending a lot more of my money on tea! You can also stick with the tried-and-true and visit the original Piper & Leaf at Lowe Mill Arts in Huntsville.
Nothing is quite so idyllic as Sunday morning brunch. Just talking about it makes me feel like a Jane Austin heroine, but I’m pretty lazy on the weekends so it is rare for me to actually partake in the custom. Thankfully, on my last leg of Florence Restaurant Week I found myself at Imagine That Cafe & Bakery for brunch.
Imagine That is absolutely charming. It is a narrow, little restaurant but that only enhances the cozy, European feel. The restaurant is SO cozy that we actually walked past it twice not realizing where it was. It’s not really that hidden, but the business front is narrow and we were not paying the best attention. Apparently talking, walking and finding the restaurant was too much multitasking for my husband and I.
Our server let us sit where we wanted and immediately brought over menus and pleasantries. In typical annoying photographer fashion I asked lots of questions about how the food look and she pointed me in the right direct. Olivier order the Mother’s Day special, Ginger Peach Pancakes with house made syrup and I opted for the bagel and lox, and of course a coffee, which I have a pretty serious addiction to. I love it and I will not seek help for recovery. While we waited for our food I explored the restaurants nooks and crannies. I even shamelessly asked if I could climb into the front windows to get better photos. Dana, the owner, was very nice and accommodating and let me roam about the restaurant, including the windows. The more time I spent exploring the more fun details and features I found. For example, the mugs and chairs, though coordinating do not match, making you feel like you are visiting someone’s home, rather than a stuffy cafe. Street lamps line the cafe and glass cake stands filled with pastries and bagels add to the unique ambience.
Our food arrived in a timely fashion, so I stopped exploring and started tasting. My bagel and lox, which came with a side of fruit, hit the spot. It was fresh, balanced and most importantly delicious.
I would love to go back and try out their dinner selection, which includes citrus baked salmon with cilantro lime risotto, lasagna baked with house made pasta, and roasted pork tenderloin with mango and peach salsa! Yummy!
Disclosure: I was invited to participate in Florence Restaurant Week by Florence Main Street. My hotel was paid for by them to make it easier for me to participate and I received a $10 gift card from Imagine That Cafe and Bakery. I paid the remaining balance out of my own pocket and all thoughts and opinions about the restaurant are my own.