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Marvel Bay Café

Made-to-order, fresh, homestyle dishes and baked goods for the asking in Parkland

Tomato pesto sandwich with broccoli salad. Photo credit: Dutch Randall

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ANNOUNCER: Just off Pacific Avenue near the campus of PLU, the Marvel Market offers hard-to-find European produce, baked goods as well as meats and cheeses. With a focus on Eastern European cuisine, the attached Marvel Bay Café, which offers breakfast and lunch, also has a heavy Eastern European focus. Jackie and Dutch head out early to grab a bite.

JACKIE: Marvel Bay Café is directly connected to the Marvel Bay Grocer, which takes great care in offering quality European food fare, so it's no wonder that as a café you'll find that same attention to the menu. Chicken Kotleti, Russian Potato Salad and Cabbage Rolls are just a few delectable features on this menu. Entering the space you're greeted by the warm staff who are all eager to let you sample the wares. The buckwheat with a dab of chicken gravy that I sampled was tempting but there were more options I needed to check out.

DUTCH: I clearly visited earlier than you, as I made it in time for breakfast, which is only served until 11 a.m. There are several selections that you would expect such as the breakfast sandwich or assorted bagels. However, there are two unique selections that are worth getting up early for. The first is the breakfast quesadilla filled with scrambled eggs, ham and cheese, which is then topped with sour cream and salsa. It's similar to a breakfast burrito, but with a crispy tortilla instead. The second is the avocado toast with fresh mashed avocados and feta cheese atop the house-made bread. It is also available with a soft-boiled egg as a topper. I recommend going with the egg!

JACKIE: Ultimately, I went with the one side and one entrée plate. The portion sizes for the price are generous and satisfying. I dug into the creamy potatoes that boasted a not quite mashed potato consistency. They reminded me of Thanksgiving Day at my grandma's. The Chicken Kotleti had a moist chicken meatball interior and crunchy panko-crusted exterior that paired with the creamy potatoes nicely with the matrimony of texture and flavor that felt comforting and satisfying. I added a cabbage roll and imagined that this dish was just like someone's babushka used to prepare.

DUTCH: For lunch, I grabbed a sandwich with a side instead of one of the entrées. The tomato pesto sandwich is served on a heavy rustic bread hoagie, with thick fresh tomatoes, pesto sauce and thick slabs of mozzarella. It is then heated just enough to melt a bit of the cheese. A side of the broccoli salad added to the creaminess and texture to my plate that included dried cranberries, sunflower seeds and red onions.

JACKIE: Oh! Let's not forget about their house-made pastries. Made fresh each day, you'll spy artfully displayed tortes and handmade cookies that will have you smiling like a kid in a candy store. The gal working there gave me a delicious little pecan treat that had a crisp crust and soft, nutty interior. Paired with a cup of coffee and you're in for the perfect bite-sized finale to your visit. Also, for special occasions, Marvel Bay also has a private reception hall tucked away behind two sliding barn doors. The space cultivated while wide open and airy feels classy and warm.

DUTCH: Oh Jackie, did you really think I would forget about dessert? I'm not ashamed to admit that I wasn't delicate with the pear puff pastry. I dove into it like I hadn't just eaten a full meal! Each taste created an urgency to get to the next. I paired mine with a small cappuccino, which was dark, rich and had plenty of foam just to my liking.

MARVEL BAY CAFÉ, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday-Saturday; closed Sunday, 301 133rd St. S., Tacoma, 253.267.5159,

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