Bread was found to be a superior sandwich foundation after attempts to fill a waffle cone with bacon, lettuce, tomato, and mayo proved rather unsuccessful. Celebrate these unsung slices with today's Groupon: for $7, you get $15 worth of breakfast, sandwiches, and more at Illium Cafe in Troy.
Chef Marla at Illium Cafe recruits local and organic ingredients to wage the battle against morning and midday hunger. The breakfast steak, egg, and cheese wrap tucks all four food groups snugly into an edible blanket ($5.50), whereas a bowl of the bison chili ($5.50) roams freely, grazing on a pear salad with spring mix, candied macadamia nuts, crumbled roquefort and a parmesan-balsamic reduction ($7.50). Illium Cafe's corned beef sandwich showcases slow-braised New York corned beef, swiss cheese, and specialty dijon on marble-rye bread with coleslaw ($9.50). The mozzarella-chicken-melt panini sings an arietta accompanied by an arugula alto, sliced-tomato tenor, and basil-pesto basso continuo ($8.25).
Located in downtown Troy, Illium Cafe also pours an array of caffeinated concoctions, such as the coffee of the day ($1.65–$2.50), frothy cappuccinos ($2.95–$3.65), iced frappes ($3–$4), and eye-opening cymbal crashes in a cup.
Times Union food critic Cheryl Clark didn't mince words when describing the Illium Steak Wedge salad at Illium Cafe, declaring it "a revelation." Tossed with the salad's bacon, toasted almonds, fried goat cheese, and blue-cheese dressing were "the most tender, flavorful medallions of beef I've enjoyed in a while."
The salad is one of the many dishes lovingly crafted from local and organic ingredients by the cafe's resident chef, Marla Ortega. Alongside salads, her lunchtime feasts spotlight innovative sandwiches, such as quesadillas filled with seared scallops, bok choy, and local cow's-milk cheese infused with black truffle. That spirit of experimentation remains for breakfast, when Marla mixes seared wild salmon into omelets and pairs banana-and-macadamia-nut pancakes with banana-infused whipped butter.
An entire menu of coffee drinks complements Marla's cuisine, running the gamut from gourmet roasts and frappes to iced drinks, which are made with coffee beans harvested from icebergs. The Times Union also praised the café's elegantly decorated dining room for its "gorgeous woodwork," which complements its painted tin ceiling, pull-down glass windows, and landscape mural.