Plenty of people eat on the go, but a new kitchen in motion serves up parking-lot fare that's worth a stop.
The full name of the sleek silver Airstream known as the CROM Cafe is Cup Runneth Over Mobile Cafe, but the short version — pronounced like the shiny metal finish — is easier to say. Especially with a mouth full of delicious food.
The gleaming trailer and its big white pickup with bold graphics of a cup streaming coffee first showed up in January in parking lots of medical buildings in south Medford.
Now they are regulars at the Rogue Valley Growers and Crafters Market, the Grants Pass Growers Market on Saturday and the new evening market at Hillcrest Orchard and RoxyAnn Winery on Wednesday and Friday.
The Rogue Valley Growers and Crafters Market is open from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Ashland armory and Thursday at the Medford armory.
The Grants Pass market is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. each Saturday at Fourth and F streets behind the post office.
The Hillcrest market is open from 2 to 6 p.m. Wednesday and Friday at 3285 Hillcrest Road, Medford.
The mobile cafe also turns up at special events at the Medford armory and St. Rita Retreat Center, 10800 Blackwell Road, Gold Hill, says owner Barb Foster, whose whole family is involved in the venture.
Foster's daughter Bethany spotted a 1969 Airstream Safari Land Yacht in a neighbor's yard.
Barb's husband, Dean, transformed the aged Airstream into a compact commercial kitchen where she and daughter Kira make their magic and serve it up to customers waiting at metal bistro tables on the pavement outside.
The cafe's specialty is pizza, baked fresh on a gas grill. While pizza might not be typical barbecue fare, the high heat quickly transforms Foster's homemade dough into a crispy, chewy crust that she piles with quality toppings.
The 8-inch veggie pizza sells for $8.50 and is laden with sauteed mushrooms, bell pepper, red onion, broccoli, zucchini, chopped tomatoes and black olives, as well as sauce, fresh basil, mozzarella and cheddar. It's definitely big enough to share or to plan for eating cold pizza later.
The menu also includes a simple cheese pizza for $6 and a pepperoni option for $7, as well as garlic breadsticks for $4. Other varieties are available sometimes.
The breadsticks likely would go well with the soups — both hot and cold — and salads that are also listed on the menu, but I haven't tried those, yet.
I have enjoyed CROM's vegetarian wrap — a whole-wheat tortilla lightly spread with cream cheese and encasing a delightful mix of lettuce, tomato, mushroom, zucchini, sweet red pepper and sunflower seeds tossed with Italian dressing.
In less sure hands, the combination of cream cheese and vinaigrette could turn into a soggy mess, but Foster keeps all the textures and flavors in perfect harmony.
She also makes a turkey wrap with spinach, cranberries, walnuts, shredded cheese and raspberry vinaigrette, as well as a turkey sandwich. She said she plans to serve a kosher all-beef hot dog at more venues, too.
Early risers can find coffee cake, cinnamon rolls and sometimes bagels, muffins and croissants, along with coffee drinks made with beans from Noble Coffee Roasting and tea. Foster doesn't make all the pastries herself, so they don't appear at markets that have strict rules about home-made products, she explained.
This afternoon, CROM Cafe plans to be at the Hillcrest market. Then the trailer will stick around for the winery's twilight music series, serving tiramisu and strawberry tarts during an open-air concert that continues until 8:30 p.m.
Foster said the gourmet desserts are a new venture for her, but I'm betting they'll be a success, too.
— Anita Burke