Seemingly Endless

Truly, I was in a really good mood when I wandered into Village Bake House this morning.  In fact, I was excited.  I had been waiting to have breakfast here for 3 days, but they closed over Christmas so I had to wait.  Sigh.

Given my good mood I am not sure quite what sent me sideways.  I didn’t even notice that I had gone sideways until I got half way through jotting down my footnotes & realized there wasn’t a lot of positives there on the page.

Maybe it was because they had Alvin & the Chipmunks playing?  Maybe it was because I was the youngest person in the joint by at least 20 years & I felt somewhat out of place?  Maybe it was because everyone knew each other except me & I felt like a bit of a {giant} gooseberry?  Maybe it was because the surly owner had a smile that said, “I”m smiling because I have to, not because I want to”.

Who knows; but here’s my {seemingly endless} list of peeves:

  • It wasn’t clear what one was supposed to do having made it inside the door.  There was a box of menus there but no sign indicating what the procedure was.  So I stood there a little while & then just went & sat at a table with a menu.  Nothing happened.  I got up and wandered over to the display case.
  • After a few minutes a lady came over to the counter & asked me what I wanted.  She was as warm as a bowl of cold rice pudding.  I tried to strike up a jolly conversation.  It was clear she just wanted to know what I wanted so that she could get on with her day.  I wondered if she was just pissed because she’d had to come back to work after a  2 day break.  I wondered if she was feeling unwell.
  • I asked questions about the menu which elicited responses that had me feeling alternately like an idiot & a total pain in the a**.  Neither of those feelings were particularly pleasant.
  • I asked how their hot chocolate was.  The response was “It’s great, we make it with steamed milk”.  I’m not sure why that would particularly make great hot chocolate, but I went with it.
  • I have never had my hot chocolate served to me in a cardboard carry-out cup when I’ve been eating in.  What’s up with that?  I really like drinking out of glass or china when I am eating in.
  • Ever hopeful, I was (once again) disappointed with the entire lack of chocolate in the hot chocolate.  If I had had my eyes closed I would have thought it was hot milk.  But since they steamed the milk, that makes it great, right?
  • The place was 2/3rds empty & there was no line of carry-out customers, but I still waited for (what seemed like) an eternity (over 20 minutes) for my breakfast to appear.  Even I was getting bored, the girl who can keep herself amused ad infinitum.

  • When my Stuffed French Toast finally arrived (covered – and I mean covered  – in powdered sugar) it came with two pats of butter & a jug of maple syrup.  Why?  Where was I supposed to put the butter?  Spread it on the powdered sugar?  Where was the maple syrup supposed to be poured.  Surely not over the French Toast?  Mercy.
  • I was half way through my Stuffed French Toast before I stumbled upon a raspberry.  It was called Cream Cheese & Raspberry Stuffed French Toast.  Enough said.
  • The potatoes were spicy hot.  They belonged with lunch, not with Cream Cheese & Raspberry Stuffed French Toast.
  • The bacon had a fantastic flavor but it was such an effort to cut.  Hate fighting with my food.
  • Once my plate had been deposited in front of me I was not spoken to again.  No check-in, no thank you, not even a glance.
  • I left feeling like no one there had even been aware of my existence.

Stuffed French Toast with raspberries & cream cheese

 Don’t mis-understand me (although I can totally see why you might…).  This was by no means a bad breakfast, by a long way.  For the most part I enjoyed it, but the whole experience was sprinkled with annoying little faux pas, which together all added up to a really disappointing time of it.

I went online & read the reviews afterwards to see if it was me, if it was just a bad day for VBH or if I should have read the reviews more carefully before I rolled up.  I discovered that the surly owner’s surliness is a permanent fixture.  I discovered that people love their pastries, their sandwiches, their carry-out items.  I discovered that eating breakfast in is not what they are famed for.

As always, everyone needs to make their own mind (and taste-buds) up about whether they like something or not.  I would like to try their pastries because based on the reviews I am certain that they are good.  But I don’t have any desire to feel the way that I felt being a customer of VBH.  Eating out is so much more than just the food.  It’s china mugs when your customer eats in, it’s smiling at your customers like you’re glad to be there, it’s saying thank you, it’s serving up the food in a timely manner, it’s making everyone feel welcome, it’s being honest.

All in all, I’d {much} rather go to Trader Joe’s two doors down, buy some orange-cranberry muffins & sit on the sidewalk outside munching on them for my breakfast.

If you decide to go to VBH I sincerely hope that you have a great experience.  You deserve it.  I am just not convinced that you will get it.

Village Bakehouse on Urbanspoon

*SANE™, inSANE, SANEity – terms used in Jonathan Bailor’s books, The Smarter Science of Slim (out of print) and The Calorie Myth.

What does SANE mean? Click here.Want more scrumptious recipes? Click here to check out my SANE Cookbooks!

Peg - I agree wholeheartedly about the unfriendliness (for the most part) of the staff. Just one quibble about the food comments – who CUTS bacon? Bacon is a finger food! Hey, I’ll stay home and make stupendous stuffed French toast with leftover Ecce Panis Semolina bread that I get from Sprouts!

cb - Ha ha Peg! I guess that’s a cultural difference – I ws born in England and we eat bacon with a knife and fork :-) Now I have permission to eat it with my fingers: THANK YOU!

Cyn - I think your all full of it. I love the VBH, and have been going there for years, and I will keep on going there regaurdless of your review. The staff there always makes me feel welcome. In my eyes, and many others, there doing a great job!
So if you dont know what to do when you walk in and there’s a menu to your left -right as you walk in- and registers directly in front of you with people waiting there to take your order….then maybe thers something wrong with you. Its not a full service place, but I think there service is just fine!!!

cb - Hi Cyn!

I am thrilled that you enjoy VBH. I wish that had been my experience too. However, just because I didn’t have a great experience on the day that I went it doesn’t mean that my opinion was not truthful, is not valid or that I am “full of it” or have something wrong with me. You and I just have very different opinions and that is just fine. I am certain that at some time in your life you have eaten somewhere that you didn’t enjoy. And I am also certain that there are a lot of people who have been to that same place and loved it. I doubt that you would appreciate one of those someones telling you that there is something wrong with you because your opinion differed from theirs.

I don’t expect anyone to change their likes & dislikes because of my reviews. My opinions are my own and people can use them as they see fit. But please, allow me to share my experience honestly as you yourself like to do.

I wish you many wonderful visits to VBH.

cb

Mike Gross - Me and my wife went today (Valentine’s Day) for a different experience from the restaurant/diners down here in southeast Tucson (incidentally, found the ad in the phone book). It was different alright. Because of the chilly weather, there was no outside eating so people were packed in the little room like sardines. But the food and coffee was very good and the service was good. Will probably return after the place is expanded which one of the employees stated will happen this summer.

cb - Mike – I am really glad that your wife & you had a great time at this spot! Thanks for sharing your experience. Happy Valentine’s Day!

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