I was meeting a friend for brunch at Bread & Cie. today in Hillcrest. I’d heard about it before and in fact I read a review about it just yesterday. I met this particular friend at Chuao, the chocolate shop at which I work. We immediately bonded over our love for chocolate and we later discovered (and are still finding) that our lifestyles are also very similar.
While waiting for her, I surveyed the restaurant, it was pleasantly crowded, the demographic not what I’m used to over by UCSD, there were more families, couples of all ages, and groups of middle aged people who have the time and money to enjoy an elegant Saturday brunch. I read and re-read the menu. I examined the pastry selection. I was politely asked if I needed help just enough times to make me feel very welcome. I then did what I do at every restaurant/cafe/bakery I go to. I asked one of the people working behind the counter what her favorite pastry was, prefacing her response with a confession of it needing to be chocolate. She was very sweet and described all of the chocolate pastries for me. I then asked the same question, to a different person, regarding the bread. When Susi arrived, she introduced me to Freddy, who I’m assuming is the owner and welcomed me time and time again.
We split the Cranberry & Goat Cheese Salad. It was excellent. Baby greens tossed in a tangy and sweet dressing, sprinkled with dried cranberries, candied walnuts and a mini ice-cream scoop’s worth of a fabulously creamy goat cheese. The goat cheese had a balsamic reduction drizzled on it which gave the tart cheese taste a very subtle sweetness, accented by the similarly tart taste of the vinegar. We also split the Marzipan. This exceeded both of our expectations. It was a 2.5 inch log of seemingly whipped marzipan, filled with some sort of chocolate ganache/marzipan center, and either end was dipped in chocolate. It was light and fluffy with just the perfect taste of bitter almond, characteristic of marzipan. Naturally we had to try the Flourless Chocolate Cake, it was light and melted in my mouth. It was topped with the perfect amount of chocolate ganache topping, which was cold in contrast to the cake. It also melted in my mouth but at a much slower rate than the cake, leaving a sweet, dark chocolate chunk of frosting to chew after the cake had dissolved. We also had the Blood Orange tea which was served with a small tea cookie, which was excellent, crisp, sweet, but not too sweet and a perfect companion to our tangy tea.
While getting a cup of water, I noticed someone had left their macaroon, neatly folded in it’s bag on the condiments counter. I went to return it to one of the cashiers, and she told me to just keep it. Delightful.
Overall, I was thoroughly impressed with my experience at Bread & Cie. The food is delicious, the service exceptional and the staff warm, friendly and human.