There are many reasons Washington Square locals may give thanks for Talula's Daily, the casual market-cafe that recently opened beside Talula's Garden.

At this vintage-chic city sibling to Aimee Olexy's country-store-turned-gastro-emporium in Kennett Square, Talula's Table, there are tastefully made salads to stay or to go, stunningly good mac 'n cheese, organic coffee, even local beers on draft.

But the greatest asset may be Olexy's collection of great cheese. About 75 fill this case here, including rarities like the Marieka goudas from Wisconsin.

I'm especially fond of a Talula's exclusive, a luscious local wedge of elegantly marbled Birchrun Blue from Birchrun Hills Farm that Talula's then smokes over applewood. Cheesemaker Sue Miller's rich raw milk curds, cave-aged about four months, are dense and fudgey enough to absorb the smoke with a mellow, woody sweetness that surely gives the poetic notion of "blue smoke" a literal new luster.

In a word from Olexy, cheese muse: "Harmonious."

- Craig LaBan  

Talula's Smoked Birchrun Blue, $26 a pound at Talula's Daily (208 W. Washington Sq.) and Talula's Table, 102 W State St Kennett Square.) Also at Birchrun Hills' farm market stands.