Cafe Valer: Comfort food heaven
Cafe Valer offers a multitude of comfort foods and desserts made to fit anybodyâ€™s tastes.
When I first entered the cafe, I was surprised by how small it was. There was a little more than a handful of tables, making it difficult to find seating for a family of five. However, we were able to move a table next to ours, mitigating the problem. Though the soulful music was slightly hard to hear over the noise in the mall, it worked with the warm paintings on the wall to give the cafe a homely, comforting feeling.
There were cafe desserts on display that added an aesthetic factor to the restaurant. Despite being behind glass, they were extremely enticing.
As I approached the cash register, I heard laughter from the kitchen that showcased the close relationship between the employees. My dad and I were greeted by a warm smile from the cashier, as he described serving sizes for us to help us decide what to buy. The cafe offers half paninis for about two dollars less than full sized paninis, giving us more options on the amount of food we could buy. We decided on ordering a turkey bacon swiss panini and a chicken chipotle avocado panini, as well as a potato salad and a mango smoothie without whipped cream.
The two full sandwiches, potato salad and smoothie cost $22.90. The sandwiches cost $7.50 a piece which was not an unreasonable price, especially considering the large size of the sandwiches. However, at $5.65, the mango smoothie was overpriced.
The cashier left to grab us the potato salad from behind the glass display as it was premade. We noticed that he grabbed the potato salad from the pile labeled â€śmacaroni saladâ€ť which didnâ€™t matter much, but revealed a slightly careless nature from the employees. The potato salad was nothing out of the ordinary, with its tangy kick and cool, light texture.
After a mere five minutes, the rest of our food was out. The employeesâ€™ carelessness was again shown when they put whipped cream on the mango smoothie I ordered. Although the whipped cream added a little more sweetness to the drink, it make me question how carefully the cashier was recording my order.
The chicken chipotle avocado panini was comprised of black beans, chicken, tangy chipotle sauce, tomatoes, roasted pepper, avocados and pepper jack cheese. The peppers and tomatoes added a sweet and juicy supplement to the meal, alleviating the slight dryness of the sandwich. The chipotle sauce was a bit spicy, but not unbearably so, and added a tangy kick to the sandwich. The avocado and black bean added a mellow flavor and soft texture to the sandwich. The cheese and sourdough bread acted as binding factors in the meal, melding the flavors together and helping them form a cohesive whole.
I tried a bite of my dadâ€™s turkey bacon swiss sandwich and found the quality to be on par with the other sandwich I sampled. The turkey was light and easy to distinguish among the burst of flavor given off by the sweet onion, bell peppers and honey mustard sauce. The toasted sourdough bread paired extremely well with the sweet flavors of the vegetables and created a good balance between sweet and sour throughout the sandwich. The bacon in the panini imbued the sandwich with a salty flavor and gave it a crispy, satisfying crunch that left me savoring every bite.
Still hungry after finishing my sandwich, I I decided to try the red velvet cake that was on display. The cake cost about $5, which I found overpriced due to its small size. The cake was a little too dry, however the cream cheese was rich in flavor and added moisture to the cake. The red velvet crumble on the side of the cake also added a crisp texture to the dessert, which I found quite unusual, but also innovative.
I finished my meal off with the mango smoothie. I found it to be a little too light in terms of texture and flavor and I would have liked for it to be a little more substantial. However, the overall flavor was fruity and sweet enough to be pleasing, yet not overbearing.
Overall, my experience at Cafe Valer exceeded my expectations in many ways. I would have liked to see the employees be more meticulous about how they manage the restaurant, yet the food had little room for improvement. Anybody looking for quick, high quality cafe food need look no further than Cafe Valer.
Written by Isaac Le, Staff writer
Photo by Isaac Le