Aiming for distinction from its culinary colleagues, the American Cafe has added another star to its crown with the opening of a carryout/market at its Capitol Hill branch. The fare is varied and original, with specialties for everything from light breakfasts to picnic spreads to quick suppers.Morning joggers (8 to 11 a.m.) will discover that the market has a reward for them at the end of their run -- a complimentary bagel and cream cheese. Picnickers and people looking for an easy lunch or dinner will go for the market's inventive salads, also sold at the cafe, including shrimp/scallop, red potato, chicken tarragon and sesame noodle. The pride of the market, however, is fresh-baked goods: breads, including challah, whole wheat and raisin; a two-layer, cream-cheese-and -honey-iced carrol cake; and rich chocolatechip and chocolate-chip-and-coconut cookies. Since freshness is the market's main theme, it regularly sells fresh fruits and eggs and cooks its own turkey and roast beef for sandwiches. Another theme is regional food, represented by sauces, perserves, teas and condiments from around the country and abroad. Coffee connoisseurs can choose from a variety of beans for fresh-ground coffee.

American Cafe Market. 227 Massachusetts Ave. NE. 547-8504.