Pane e Formaggio

A miniature road trip:

Who: Table of 2
What: Lunch
When: Saturday March 10th
Where: West 10th and pretty much UBC
Why: [1] their Baguettes (avail. at Urban Fare), [2] my Groupons were going to expire …

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Store-front

(^^): Love the look.  There’s something about businesses who are willing to invest in the exterior of their establishment that makes me anticipate what goodies lie inside.  On the flip side, businesses who only focus on packaging and fail  to deliver what’s important, makes the disappointment all that much more devastating.  Thankfully, Pane e Formaggio was able to deliver.

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The inside of the shop is quite narrow with 2 cheese coolers in the far back and 4 display coolers that separate the staff from the customers.  They offer a fairly variety of Italian Deli products,cured meats, cheeses, Panini’s, desserts, breakfast pastries and of course, bread options.

(^^): As more customers filter in around lunch time, it becomes quite crowded and even the quick, experienced hands of the staff have trouble keeping up with both dine-in and take-out orders.

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Temptations – next to the Cashier

(^^): See those Apple Crostada’s on the right?  They were calling my name the entire minute we were waiting to pay for our order.  Unfortunately, by that time I was 3 desserts in from the night before (at Red Star) AND we had already asked for a full-sized lemon tart to go.  To add insult to injury, I noticed that 3 of the tables around ours had ordered Crostada’s.

*note to self: go back for the Crostada’s!  (*´∩`*)

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Gelato!

(ㆆ∼ㆆ)a : I guess I forgot to mention the gelato – another item “to try”

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What we DID order…

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Panini #1 – Bocconcini, Tomato… and if I remember correctly.. prosciutto?  (I’m 75% sure a deli meat was involved)

(^^): A “soft chew”.  The bread was fluffy and plentiful and the sharpness of the balsamic glaze went well with the bocconcini (aka. unripened mozzarella balls).  My one complaint was the speed of sogginess.

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Panini #2 – Turkey Breast

(^^):  This one was more substantial and reminded of of a “work” lunch.  Something slightly gourmet, sustaining and fast.  The sweetness of the embedded fruit was a great touch.

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Cappuccino

(^^): oOoooo foamy – that was the best part actually.  The cappuccino itself was a little mild and forgettable.

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Latte

(^^): Even MORE tame than the cappuccino and slightly more forgettable.

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A box

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What’s in the box.

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Lemon Tart Slice

(^^): Tart!  and by tart, I’m talking about the acidity level, not it’s physical form.  It wasn’t overly sweet which is always a good sign but the acidity was to the point where it left a bit of sting on your tongue.   What helped balance out the acidity was the crust.  While I can’t be 100% sure, I do believe they used shortening and not butter.  I’m not really one to argue the use of one over the other, I just simply don’t buy shortening out of shallow personal bias.  Overall though, I still enjoyed it.  I would suggest serving in smaller potions (1/6 is quite a bit lol!) and perhaps having some fresh fruit or ice cream on the side ^^

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Deli Item: Grilled Eggplant with Sun-dried Tomato and a big chunk of __________ cheese.

(^^):  Pricey!  I think 8 pieces came to $10 or $15 but the Carn.H and M quite enjoyed it.  The eggplant had a great flavor but I found the cheese a little too dense and sort of reminded me of cardboard (or at least the smell of).  Then again, I’m really not one to judge cheeses as I only enjoy a select 1/4 of the cheese family.

Overall Sentiments: I liked it, but I didn’t love it – but I want to love it.  It’s complicated.  I’ll still buy their baguettes and I’m definitely going back for that Crostada.  They have a great atmospheric feel to them and it’s a great place to visit, sit and chit chat.  It’s just that I’ve had better coffee and better panini’s.  Their cheese is a little more on the pricey side but they do offer an excellent selection of meats, cheeses, deli products and baked goods.

Likelihood of Revisiting: 65% 
Culinary Mindset: Cafe Style

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