Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Baker's Crust Ghent- Getting on Alex's Fighting Side

It’s like a sick cycle carousel. A Baker's Crust visit, that is. Often I go for lunch or dinner and all goes well. Other times, I go and my order is incorrect, the sandwich is a complete joke or they leave something out of my take-out. Let me start with breakfast. Baker's serves breakfast daily and then brunch on the weekends. Get there by 11am Saturday and noon Sunday. Typically, my brunch experiences have been good. I have had the West Coast omelette, which is spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms, Muenster cheese, avocado and Pico de Gallo. Very fresh and not too heavy. Your meal comes with hash browns and the toast of your choice. Baker's has a lot of breads and any can be used on a sandwich or as a side. I typically choose the fruit and nut bread, which has cranberries and walnuts. Very good, along with the hash browns. I have also had the Riviera Toast and the Belgian Waffle. Both are delicious and satisfy that early morning sweet tooth. Kelly*, who often dines with me during breakfast, usually orders Doug's Killer Creation omelet, which includes maple sausage, house-made signature chips and cheddar cheese...yes all inside the omelets. I give Baker's breakfast two thumbs up. On to lunch, this is a mixed bag. Baker's offers a wide variety of soups, salads, sandwiches and entrees. For starter items, I have had the Tomato and Cheese Soup, the Kickin’ Corn and Crab Chowder and the Fried Mozzarella. The tomato soup is good, the corn and crab chowder is too 'crab' (read overwhelming seafood taste) and the mozzarella is what it is.

Sandwiches, get ready. Probably my favorite, the Panini Grilled Meatloaf with Muenster cheese on your choice of bread. Sourdough is a great way to go here. This is a hearty and very tasty sandwich combination. Go for it. I typically order the Cole slaw which is home-made and pretty good. The chips are homemade but are a little tpo 'plain potato chip' for me. Another good selection is the Malibu, which is turkey, Muenster cheese, avocado ((I like Muenster cheese and avocados), can you tell), cucumbers, sprouts, tomatoes and herb mayo. It's a great sandwich, but there is an irritating story about this one. I went in Baker's to place my order and wait to pick it up. I ordered the sandwich with the mayo on the side and on the Gruyere Focaccia bread. I take my order home, put on some laundry and then sat down to eat. Trouble. The mayo was ON the sandwich and it was the wrong bread. Can you say irritated? I immediately sent an email to Baker's through their website. The point of take-out is convenience, and I was not about to drive back up there and ask them to fix it. The sandwich was fine, but restaurants are in the business of taking orders, so they need to get it right. The General Manager did email me back and said she was terribly sorry for the mistake and gave me a free sandwich along with any appetizer, side, soup or dessert the next time I came. That is the way to right that wrong and I was pleased. Next, the Panini Grilled Avocado Goat Cheese Veggie. The name is too long, but this is a great sandwich if you are looking for something light, flavorful and not heavy. Laine was with me this day and had a salad. I boycotted the salads a while ago at Baker's. They are pretty lame. Lots of lettuce and not enough of whatever else is supposed to be on the salad. To this day, I still will not order a salad. For the final sandwich, Baker's is getting two thumbs down. The Roasted Tomato and House-Made Mozzarella Panini. Great idea, horrible delivery. There are two very thin, very small slivers of
Mozzarella, three leaves of spinach, a couple slivers of tomato and basil pesto. The taste was good, but I was so mad at what they give you for almost $9. The Meatloaf Panini is only forty cents more and at least TWICE the size. I was so mad I was spitting nails.

Now, for dessert. Baker's has great breads and great desserts. I have had the Caramel Cheesecake, the White Chocolate Cheesecake, the Cheesecake on a Stick, the Raspberry Bar, the Pumpkin Cheesecake, the ├ęclair and the cookies, oatmeal, peanut butter with chocolate covering half and the toffee cookie. The Cheesecake on a stick is okay but hard to eat. My favorite is the toffee cookie, but the oatmeal is a close second. Of the other things I have had, they were all tasty except the Pumpkin Cheesecake was blah. I think they needed more sugar (and I do normally really like Pumpkin Cheesecake. Of course, this past weekend, Kelly* and I ordered a toffee cookie and one of the peanut butter cookies and of course got home and only had the toffee cookie. The girl did not charge us (she's lucky), but I was still highly annoyed. FOLLOW DIRECTIONS.

I will not boycott Baker's yet, but you better believe I will be double and triple checking my orders. Just go with the ‘prepare for the worst, hope for the best’ attitude.

Need I say more? Exactly!

Baker's Crust is located at the Palace Shops in Norfolk, Hilltop in Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Williamsburg and Richmond has two locations. Hours of operation vary slightly depending on location.