by Joan Reminick

Although Nicole Nappy says she has no formal culinary training - she doesn't even call herself a chef - the food she serves at the casual Batata Cafe, 847 Fort Salonga Rd., Northport, 631-754-4439, tastes as though it had been prepared by someone well-schooled in the art of cooking.

The order-at-the-counter cafe and coffee bar, decorated with comfortable furnishings and the works of local artists, has been serving breakfast and lunch since August. At midday, I was wowed by Nappy's chicken enchilada soup, a brew with impressive nuance and depth of flavor. A "sweet and spicy" turkey panini made with roasted turkey breast, brie, baby spinach and a mango-pineapple spread, was first-rate. Formerly called Barister's, the cafe continues to sell the chocolates of former owner Nick Nappy, Nicole's father.

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