Saturday, March 1, 2014

Cafe review: Corner Bakery Cafe

Corner Bakery Cafe - lunch on February 15, 2014
My coworker, Queen of Cheap Eats, was the one who first told me about Corner Bakery. At the time, they hadn't yet opened their Mountain View location and when they did, I kept forgetting to go. But I finally made it there a week or so ago because I was in the area for another reason, was driving by and saw them, appropriately enough, at the corner, and decided it was a good time to check it out.
I would consider Corner Bakery Cafe to lean more towards the cafe than the bakery side. It's very much like Panera Bread in that you order at the counter, they bring out your order and you can enjoy cafe casual dining inside. Their menu selection leans towards more protein choices than Panera does as you can get egg scrambles and other breakfast entrees all day except for their oatmeal. I took a picture of their "bakery" display and it was a bit humble in my baking mind in terms of baked goods on offer, hence why I consider them more of a cafe than a bakery. There are bread loaves, bagels, and croissants to represent the bread side and cookies, muffins and bar cookies for the baked goods. At first I thought I should try one of the baked goods but in perusing the offerings, there wasn't anything in the display case that I couldn't easily make myself and nothing stood out as being worthwhile enough to tempt me on the calorie intake so I passed.
Instead, it being a cloudy day at the time, I opted for the chili in the bread bowl, one of my favorite ways to eat chili or soup, calories be damned. Which was a good thing because the Corner Bakery does list the calorie count for the items on their menu, right there, big as life when you order. That always has the tendency to be an appetite killer but at least you can make conscious choices. I took the order to go and they had smart packaging for their to-go orders: the chili was in a separate container keeping hot and the hollowed out bread bowl and top resided in their own plastic home. All I did was pop the bread pieces in my toaster oven to give them a little crunch then pour half the chili into the bowl. Half was all that could fit. Not to worry, I ate the other half once the bread bowl had emptied out.
The chili was pretty good although I have to admit, in a blind taste test, I'm not sure I could taste the difference between the chili from the Corner Bakery and the chili from Wendy's. Don't get me wrong, I like the chili from Wendy's and it's the only thing I'll eat there if/when I eat fast food at all. So this was a good choice. For less than $8 plus tax, this is a tasty (and filling) lunch. In fact, it filled me up so much I skipped dinner as I wasn't hungry later on. Which was just as well because, according to the Corner Bakery's menu, a bread bowl of chili is over a thousand calories (ouch) so it's two meals in one.

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