Friday, October 27, 2006

Foodventure #6: WheatBerry Bakery Cafe (Pasadena)

The WheatBerry on Lake Ave. has always intrigued me -- for the longest time I thought it was a health-foods store and restaurant (wheat berry, in fact, being the naked form of the grain before any grinding or processing.) Only recently did I find out that it is a fast casual bakery cafe with *real* cakes and breads, not any of that vegan no-flour stuff.

Naturally (heh), I had to go in --

The cafe environs actually reminds me of the bakery-cafe chain
Panera Bread, but with darker woods and tones, a more casual feel and overall more inviting. And Panera's sweets (breakfast pastries, mostly) holds no candle to this!

and oh gosh - THIS!!

Alas, not wanting my heart & pancreas to simultaneously pass out, I skipped on the French-styled strawberry shortcake tonight and ordered their sandwich & soup combo. For the sandwich I had the pesto chicken, on a press-grilled ciabatta bread with provolone cheese and mushrooms. Soup of the day was clam chowder:

Visually bland, but holy cow were they ever salty! The clam chowder, while having substantial chunks of clam meat and potatoes, tasted like it's been heated all day long (which it probably might have), and on the the pesto sauce on the sandwich was just disappointing - barely any basil/garlic flavors (not sure this came from too bland of a sauce and/or too little sauce on the sandwich.) As an extra kicker, the chicken breast used for this sandwich was unbelievably thin! I wish I can revive that lady for the Wendy's commercial to holler "Where's the Beef Fowl?" The ciabatta bread though, was nice and airy.

Thankfully, my final impression ended on a high note:

Vanilla bean cupcake! with a smothering of coconut flakes -- not too sweet, the whipped frosting was pillowy and nice vanilla flavors throughout. Maybe the forte here is in their baked goods . . .

The bill:
Sandwich + Soup combo: $7.95
Cupcake: $2.25
Pre-tax/tip Total: $10.10

My rating:
Ambience/Decor - 3.5/5 (decent for a fast casual type of place)
Value - 3/5 (indifferent - didn't feel like I got a deal nor ripped off)
Service - 7.5/10 (overall pretty nice - service was relatively fast)
Food - 11.5/20 (the cupcake was good and the other desserts look tantalizing, but the soup & sandwich were a flop)
Bonus/Demerit - N/A
TOTAL: 25.5/40

The overall score might look abysmal, but I think this is probably an OK place for just sweets (they offer a cake & coffee combo for $4.50, not too shabby) and I do intend to come back to try a few of their cakes & tarts. But as far as savories are concerned, I'm taking my business elsewhere.

WheatBerry Bakery Cafe
165 S. Lake Avenue


Chubbypanda said...

*drooool* Cupcakes...

- Chubbypanda


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