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Diverse specialties at Café Gourmand

8

Café Gourmand offers an ethnic menu that features healthy, freshly-made breakfast and lunch selections. The café’s menu includes various foods such as Indian Curry Bagels, French croissants and horchata.

Although built somewhat out of place–inside Queen of the Valley Hospital–Café Gourmand takes full advantage of its limited space with a minimalistic set-up. A full length bar stretches from wall to wall to optimize seating space. A kitchen, a mini display fridge filled with fruit cups and a counter where food is ordered lie opposite to the bar-style seating. The open floor plan in the small space creates a cozy atmosphere and a nice, quiet environment to get work done or relax with friends on the weekend.

Upon entering the café, customers are greeted by a friendly employee who is willing to suggest menu items to new customers, which is helpful considering the overwhelming number of ethnic foods Café Gourmand offers. From colorful photographs of food lining the walls to wooden block letters spelling out “Feed Me,” everything in the restaurant gives off a very down-to-earth vibe. While the restaurant does get crowded during the lunch rush hour, it is practically empty after school and open to students looking for a quick snack.

While I was contemplating what to order, a lady sitting on one of the stools told me, “Everything is good here, really. Just order anything.” So without searching for the best menu items on Yelp or consulting the owner, I ordered an Egg Delux, which is a sandwich made with fresh egg, bacon, avocado and Swiss cheese on the all-day breakfast menu. The savory cheese and bacon complement the creamy avocado. Café Gourmand is praised for making its dishes to order instead of reheating them, and its high-quality Egg Delux is noticeably fresher than anything customers can get at other café chains. The bacon and eggs are still sizzling when the sandwich is served, and the veggies used in the side salad are organic and juicy. This combination makes for a bountiful assortment of satisfying foods.

In addition, I ordered a Vanilla Bean Frappé, a mango smoothie and a lasagna. Both drinks are delicious; the mango smoothie is made with fresh fruit, and the Vanilla Bean Frappé is even more appealing. The frappé features a distinct vanilla flavor and is accompanied with a generous dollop of whipped cream. While the drink itself is only lightly sweetened, the whipped cream topping adds a kick of sugar to the aromatic vanilla bean. The two flavors work in harmony to make a rich and satiating drink. After trying the sandwich and drinks, I had high expectations for the lasagna. Unfortunately, it is not as impressive in taste as the other menu items are, and it’s nearly indistinguishable from typical store-bought lasagna. Though this entreé is unremarkable compared to Café Gourmand’s other tasty dishes, the lasagna is made with a fragrant layer of sprinkled cheese, fresh tomato sauce and firm dough that still makes it a decent meal. Overall, the four orders cost a reasonable total of $20.

Café Gourmand, although modest in size, is a great coffee shop that offers better prices and tastier food items than its larger competitors. Café Gourmand may be one of the smallest cafés I have ever been to, but it is also surprisingly one of the most impressive. Definitely do not hold back from trying any of its wide assortment of ethnic menu items, because sometimes the most unconventional, obscure choices are actually the best.

By Angela Zhang, Staff writer

The Breakdown


Presentation
8
Taste
9
Ambience
8
Service
8
Aesthetics
7


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