Food 4 Thoughts: Still North
Have you ever wanted to find a place where you can relax, grab a book and have a bite to eat after a long day at school? Still North Books and Bar in downtown Hanover is the perfect spot to go. Inside, chill music plays quietly over the gentle chatter of patrons, and a slight hint of some sort of spice permeates the air. Two-thirds of the space is the bookstore, with laden bookshelves winding around in a slightly labyrinthine but cozy way, with small tables and chairs tucked in nooks and crannies between them. In the cafe area there isn’t a ton of seating, but there are more tables and chairs outside. The umbrellas over the outdoor tables have a tendency to drip on the window-bench seats in the rain, but they do an admirable job of keeping the cushioned single chairs dry and shady. The employees are friendly, and the order was ready surprisingly quickly.
I visited on a drizzly Wednesday afternoon with some friends. We tasted five different foods (all warmed) and a drink, and ranked them from best to worst.
- Caramel apple cider. In my opinion, this was fantastic. I’m not much of a coffee drinker, so I was on the lookout for caffeine-free beverage options, of which there were plenty. This one caught my eye, as it was the cafe’s drink of the month. It arrived iced in a tall glass, with whipped cream dusted with cinnamon sugar on top. I wasn’t expecting the ice, and though we’ve all had that exasperating situation where you get more ice than beverage, it didn’t deteriorate from the overall experience. It was definitely sweeter than normal apple cider, with a more muted apple taste and robust overtones of caramel. I liked it, in a different way from regular apple cider. It was quite delectable.
- Coffee cake (baked by Knot Just Pretzels). The slice we received was surprisingly large, but it was worth every bite. With hints of sea salt, it paired excellently with the caramel apple cider. The cinnamon crumble was a little dry, but the rest was a perfect spongy texture. Suffice to say, it wasn’t long before there was nothing but crumbs left on the plate — and we ordered two.
- Pretzel bun. Though it isn’t advertised, there is cheese inside and on top of the bun. I am not much of a cheese connoisseur, so I have no idea what kind it was, but it actually blended quite well with the pretzel flavor. I thought it was particularly excellent warmed, especially since the cheese got more melty inside. The cheese in the center was a little bit cooler than the rest of the bun, which didn’t contribute too well to the overall taste. We suggest getting this bun warmed every time. Overall, it was surprisingly flavorful, and I would certainly order it again.
- Brie, apple & baguette sandwich. This was similar to the King Arthur Baking Company’s sandwich, but surprisingly, the bread was actually better. It was easier to bite and chew than the intensely crunchy version at King Arthur. We thought it could use more apple, as the slices were rather thin and the flavor was slightly overpowered by the bread and cheese. However, the thinner slices did mean that it was easier to bite the sandwich.
- Chocolate chip banana bread (baked by Knot Just Pretzels). Banana bread is really hard to get right. On the scale of “meh” banana breads, this one wasn’t too bad, but it’s not something I would order again at Still North. It was a little dry, but okay overall as far as banana bread goes. What bothered me most was that there was really no harmonious balance between the chocolate and the banana; each bite was either very chocolatey or very banana-y, but not quite both. If you’ve got a hankering for banana bread, I recommend you find a different bakery.
Overall, Still North is a great place to eat and hang out after school, and I will definitely be returning there in the future. Hope to see you there!