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High-tech appeal

Rachael Fisher

Elim Cafe on Dimond draws in customers with WiFi, Internet-linked computers and greenbelt access. Sandwiches, salads, smoothies, shakes and caffeine fuel the power lunches the cafe plays host to.

The menu also features a variety of loose-leaf teas, espresso specialties, bread bowls with chili or clam chowder and Asian offerings such as sushi, kalbi short ribs and teriyaki chicken.

I met a friend at the cafe after work for a quick dinner. We split the fruit salad ($9.95) as an appetizer. The salad was big enough for three to share, with large chunks of fresh fruit lightly coated in plain yogurt and sprinkled with peanuts and dried fruit.

The oranges, honeydew, green grapes, strawberries, kiwis and cantaloupe were all sweet and juicy, but the plain yogurt took away from the natural sugars. I would have preferred a sweeter choice such as vanilla or berry.

The main course was the Elim turkey sandwich ($8.95) for me and the BLTA ($8.95) for my friend. Both were dressed in a Dijon-mayo sauce with mixed green lettuce and tomatoes on wheat bread. Mine also had red onion, green bell pepper, cucumber, sprouts and provolone.

The meat and veggies were fresh and flavorful but the bread didn't quite hold up to the promise of being bakery fresh, the bottom crust of both our sandwiches was stale and dry. Still the sandwich was plenty big to sate my appetite without it though, I took half of it home. I chose tortilla chips over the cream of broccoli soup as my side. My vanilla bourbon loose-leaf tea was pleasant once it had cooled a bit; it was served blazing hot.

My friend said the bacon on her BLT was thick and tasty but wished her bread had been toasted.

I picked up lunch to-go on my next trip. The teriyaki chicken lunch ($9.95) came with a cup of the cream of broccoli soup and a small green salad. The tender, white strips of chicken lay on top of white rice covered in teriyaki sauce and sprinkled with sesame seeds. The salad was mostly mixed greens but there were a few chucks of tomato and chopped bell pepper. A Dijon dressing was served on the side. The soup was creamy with flecks of broccoli florets.

The specials board near the cash register caught my attention with a raspberry cheesecake latte ($3.95). Though it didn't taste like cheesecake, it was sweet with a raspberry-dominated flavor.

I also wanted to try the cafe's frozen yogurt, which it touts as one-of-a-kind.

I went with a medium ($4.99) and chose organic blueberry-apple granola and fresh mixed fruit as my two free toppings. The yogurt had a unique flavor, sweet and tangy.

Owner Suk Ball said she was inspired to create a house-made frozen yogurt by the Pinkberry craze that struck the Lower 48 over the past couple years. The yogurt is made in small batches, once a week in the winter and at least twice a week during summer.

Ball said she partners with next-door neighbor Alaska Computer Brokers for the technology inside the cafe. The setup includes multi-lingual computer language sets, color printing and a conference room with a computer display and white board available at no charge to customers.

Ball said since opening in May of last year, the cafe has won over customers with the conference room.

"People fall in love it with it and scream about it," said Ball.

Reservations for the room are accepted up to three months in advance and are generally harder to get during the winter months, Ball said.

The restaurant also hosts art shows on the second Fridays of the month.

Located within walking distance of the Campbell Creek bike trail on the corner of Dimond and Arctic Boulevards, Elim Cafe's modern decor is well matched to its high-tech offerings. Fresh food and friendly service will help as the cafe continues to build its reputation.

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Elim Cafe

*** $$

Location: 561 W. Dimond Blvd.

Hours: 7 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday, closed Sunday

Phone: 267-4288


By Rachael Fisher
Daily News correspondent