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Cheap Eats; Panini passes test, and so do other items at Two Sisters

Two Sisters Cafe is located in the front corner of a modern office building, with the cafe door a few steps inside the main door. This would not seem to be the most comfortable or homey atmosphere, but some careful design steps have made Two Sisters inviting.

First, there's a streetside patio, with bistro tables and chairs and umbrellas, and a second, more shaded and private seating area off to one side. Plenty of people were lounging and watching sidewalk and street traffic on the slightly elevated patio on the warm Sunday around noontime when Paula, Tom, John and I arrived. The patio looked appealing, but to make this a review that could help in our nine months of nonsummer weather, we chose to check out the inside room.

Once you get past the hall of the office building, Two Sisters is appealing. The walls are painted in subdued earth tones, the tables have cloth covers under glass for easy cleanup, and there is French-influenced decor, including wall plaques and an old-fashioned dresser accessorized as a small counter.

The breakfast and lunch menu offers a range of egg dishes, sandwiches, soups and salads, including some vegetarian-friendly offerings, and some interesting daily specials on the whiteboard at the door.

Service was friendly and relatively speedy, and we spent some time trying to pick out the two sisters of the cafe's name, only to learn that it is now owned by two friends instead.

The food arrived quickly after ordering, and the coffee drinkers had their cups refilled right away.

Tom set the bar high when he noticed panini on the menu and recalled how much he had enjoyed the pressed sandwiches he'd had in Rome. (That's Rome, Italy, not Rome, N.Y.) We predicted disappointment, given that he had eaten panini in the birthplace of panini, but he was satisfied with Two Sisters' version of the turkey panini ($7.95), made with fresh spinach, red pepper, provolone and a lightly herbed mayo. The bread was a thick and dense foccacia, so it was not pressed as flat as we usually see, with only a few grill marks. The provolone was not fully melted, probably because of the thickness of the bread. But the sandwich was delicious, and the deli-style sliced turkey was plentiful and good.

The Cafe Breakfast was a simple one: two eggs, home fries, toast and bacon, sausage or ham, for a good price, $6.95. The eggs were cooked exactly as ordered, over medium; the sausages were plumper than the usual store-bought ones and the home fries were nicely browned.

A Two Sisters Scramble ($8.95) took the usual breakfast ingredients, added a few more, mixed them up, then topped them with melted cheddar. The eggs, chopped sausage and home fries were joined by cooked peppers and onions. While the onions were fried until they were soft, the peppers were sauteed lightly and left green, giving a slight crunch to the mixture.

But the star of the table was the pumpkin pancakes ($6), one of the daily specials. The authentic spiced-pumpkin fragrance wafted across the table. Having battled with pumpkin muffins and cookies, I know how challenging it is to include enough pumpkin to provide flavor without making the batter heavy and too wet in the center. The cook at Two Sisters timed it perfectly, offering nicely cooked cakes with a tender, although not fluffy, interior.

email: aneville@buffnews.com

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 TWO SISTERS CAFE    

3 pennies (out of four)    

"Fresh and hot."    

WHERE: 4211 N. Buffalo Road, Orchard Park (667-6887)    

HOURS: 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily.    

WHEELCHAIR ACCESS: Yes

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