Comprehensive Review: City Cafe, Part 5

You can find previous reviews of City Cafe here:
Part 1     Part 2     Part 3     Part 4

It’s time for another edition of City Cafe snacks, and this one is a feast. I picked up several treats from my favorite local bakery to bring home and eat. As this was a to-go order, I’ll get right down to business and show you my selections. After this run, I only have a few items from their case to try, other than the rotating cakes and pies that are constantly changing.

I started with a simple $0.65 thumbprint cookie. This was a basic shortbread cookie with a thumbprint pressed into the middle. That divot was then filled with a colored icing.

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Thumbprint Cookie

After baking, the icing becomes a somewhat crunchy on the outside, and chewy in the middle.

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Cookie Icing

I noticed after biting in that there were a few pecans mixed in, but they wouldn’t have been noticeable from the taste had I not looked at it. This cookie was just a bite or two, and didn’t leave any lasting memories. It was simply a shortbread cookie with a little icing.

Rating: 5.5/10

The employee at the cafe highly recommended one of the sugar cookies, saying they were better than you can find most anywhere else. She was very confident in these, and picked out a butterfly for me at $1.25.

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Butterfly Sugar Cookie

I generally prefer softer cookies, but unfortunately this one was very crunchy, and almost tough to bite into. It was definitely sweet, but not overly so.

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Cookie Closeup

I found the cookie was fairly standard in taste, despite the employee’s insistence that it would be something special. I have to disagree with that, and say that it was very average.

Rating: 5.5/10

Now we’re getting into City Cafe’s specialty food, cakes. This round I was going to try a white chocolate mousse cake.

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White Chocolate Mousse Cake

As always, the cake was very moist. It had a vanilla base with a nice strong flavor. In between the three cake layers were strips of white chocolate mousse. They had a smooth, creamy pudding-like texture. As soft as mousse normally is, the cake was so moist that I could actually scrape it out from between the mousse layers.

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Cake & Mousse Layers

On top, the icing layer was a sweet, white chocolate buttercream. It looked similar to the mousse layers within the cake, however, this icing was a bit firmer and had that tastefully familiar granular texture from plenty of added sugar. This icing layer was garnished with a purple flower fondant, which was also made from white chocolate.

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Icing with Chocolate Fondant

The back of the cake had a full covering of shaved white chocolate. While most of the cake was melt-in-your-mouth soft, the back was a tad firmer from the chocolate shavings.

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White Chocolate Shavings

This wasn’t the best best cake I’ve tried here, but it kept with the trend of more delicious than normal cakes compared to my past experiences. This is one I’d order again, unless my past favorite, the Milano cake showed its face again.

Rating: 7/10

While in the cafe, I ventured away from the main case, and picked up an apple streussel from the case to the right of the register, where the wine and baklava are located.

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Apple Streussel

The bottom of the streussel was a soft, crumb cake structure. On top, it was covered with an apple crumble.

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Apple Crumble

Although it had a softer exterior, it was built just like an apple pie on the inside, including bits of real apple and a similar type of filling. The filling was made from apple, molasses, and corn syrup. This gave it a slightly gooey structure, while still remaining somewhat liquid when heated. It wasn’t bad, but if I’m going to have something so close to an apple pie, I’d prefer the real thing, with a crispy, buttery crust and all.

Rating: 5.5/10

While in the bakery, I saw a danish and asked what type it was. When I was told it was a poppy seed danish, I told the employee I’d never heard of that before. She was quite surprised and said it was a very popular item, and I should definitely try it. So here it was.

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Poppy Seed Danish

It was essentially a cinnamon bun with a different flavor. It was even shaped the same as well. Just like City Cafe’s cinnamon buns, it had plenty of icing and included white raisins and a crumble on top. This version had the addition of poppy seeds. Take away those poppy seeds, and add cinnamon, and this was no different than their usual buns.

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Cinnamon Bun Look-alike

I found this particular pastry to be fresher than the cinnamon bun I had prior. I liked the fresher taste, but didn’t think the poppy seeds brought anything special to the flavor. In fact, I would much prefer a cinnamon flavor than the taste of poppy seeds in this type of pastry. They really didn’t work for me. Other than that minor change in the recipe, it was still an enjoyable pastry over all.

Rating: 7/10

Most of the time I prefer my cheesecakes with some infused flavor. I’m not against a plain cheesecake, but sometimes they can be, well… a bit plain. Since I have been setting out to try City Cafe’s entire lineup, I had no choice but to go for this slice of regular cheesecake topped with raspberries.

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Cheesecake with Raspberries

What a surprise upon the first bite when I discovered it was unbelievably creamy, almost melting on its own as it sat on the plate.

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Smooth, Creamy Texture

The sweet cheesecake sat on a very thin crust, that could easily go unnoticed. Tasting it on its own, it was semi-firm, and was a typical graham cracker base. Since other than any toppings, the crust is the only change in texture to an otherwise overly soft dessert, I would have liked to see it made much thicker. A thick crunchy crust can really perk up even the most boring cheesecake.

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Crust

The cake was topped with tightly packed, fresh and plump raspberries. They were coated in a simple sugar that was mostly clear, although on the bottom it had soaked up the raspberries’ juices, making it turn bright red and giving it the full flavor of sweet raspberry.

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Raspberries in Simple Sugar

The back of the cheesecake didn’t have the same graham cracker crust as the bottom. Instead it used a soft crumble. Because it was so soft and in minimal quantity, it also could have gone unnoticed. Again, I could have gone for a thicker, crunchier crust, preferably graham cracker, which is the primary cheesecake crust found most often.

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Soft, Crumble Crust

Other than the crust issues, I was happy with the cheesecake. I was really impressed with the creamy texture, and bold, sweet flavor that it had. It was one of the better cheesecakes I’ve had in a while, and could have been near perfect with the right crust setup.

Rating: 8/10

My wife picked up a flourless chocolate cake to stay gluten-free.

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Flourless Chocolate Cake

It had the same base as every other flourless cake we’ve had recently, with a sort of gritty texture, but a nice sweet, chocolate taste. It was similar to a really good chocolate brownie.

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Brownie Substitute

The cake was topped with fresh berries that were coated with a simple sugar.

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Berry Topping

It was as simple as that, a chocolate base topped with fresh berries. It tasted great, and my wife was able to eat it. Win-win.

Rating: 7.5/10

My next choice covered two things I love. The croissant, and chocolate.

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Chocolate Croissant

There are generally two ways that I find chocolate croissants are sold. One is just a simple chocolate drizzle over the outside. Many places go a step further and have a pencil sized strip of chocolate down the middle of the inside. This one did even better than that. I found quite a wide layer of chocolate that covered almost the entire bottom of the pastry.

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Extra Thick Chocolate Layer

I heated it up until the whole thing was firm and flaky. There was just enough chocolate inside and on the top that it gave it a chocolate flavor without feeling like a dessert. The croissant itself was standard in structure, but still well made. As a chocolate lover and croissant lover, this was a nice treat.

Rating: 6.5/10

Sticking with the croissant theme, I picked up another one, this time filled with ham and cheese. The outside was coated with white cheddar and cooked until the cheese hardened into a tasteful crust.

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Ham & Cheese Croissant

The cheddar cheese on the inside was plentiful, and it had melted into a gooey mass that made the inside of the croissant extra soft. It wasn’t easy to see as the color matched the croissant’s, but it was quite noticeable, and delicious.

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Ham & Cheese Filling

The ham was just the right amount of contrasting flavor to the croissant while not becoming the primary flavor. The whole thing had a nice even mix of cheese, ham, and croissant flavors.

Rating: 7.5/10

Moving on, I wanted one last true dessert item, so I brought home a pecan tart.

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Pecan Tart

It was surrounded by a soft, butter tart crust. I much prefer a flaky crust, but am always open to new ways to enjoy my food, so I didn’t start to worry yet.

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Crust

I decided to heat up the tart to have that warm pie sensation. Surprisingly, the crust firmed up when it was heated, and became chewy. This wasn’t quite the flakiness I was looking for, but it was an improvement from the softness it had initially.

On top of the crust sat a gooey sweet mixture of molasses and corn syrup. This was then topped by the tart’s main flavors, coming from pecans and chocolate chips.

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Tart Filling

Overall the pecan tart was tastefully sweet, with a unexpectedly hearty flavor of chocolate from the mini chips. While pecan isn’t a preferred dessert flavor for me, this was still pretty good and I’d be more than happy to try other variations of their tarts. I supposed that goes without saying, since I’ll be eating everything they have to offer.

Rating: 6/10

To end this tasting session, I wanted to try something from the dessert case was less dessert-like, and possibly even on the healthier side. I grabbed a coconut parfait. Generally I enjoy parfaits, and coconut is a flavor I love, so I was excited for this one.

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Coconut Parfait

The main substance was a store bought Greek yogurt, with a couple layers of graham cracker crumbs added. The parfait was also topped with these crumbs, along with a little shredded coconut.

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Parfait Toppings

Unfortunately, these few shreds of coconut on top were the only coconut flavor found within the parfait. I don’t know if it was intended to be an actual coconut parfait, or if the employee that helped me just called it that since it had those coconut shreds visible on top. Not only was there no coconut flavor within, the yogurt was very sour. I don’t mean it had gone bad, it just was a sour tasting yogurt. The graham cracker crumbs had a slight sweetness that tried to compensate, but there just weren’t enough of them. Additionally, the crumbs had become very soggy from the yogurt, so they couldn’t even offer the crunchy texture that is expected. It’s even obvious in this photo how liquid soaked they had become.

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Soaked Graham Cracker Crumbs

On top of the unappetizing flavor, the Greek yogurt was also very stiff. It appeared to have had very little moisture, and I’m guessing it was due to much of it being soaked up into the graham cracker crumbs.

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Firm Yogurt

There was nothing else to this parfait other than the yogurt, crumbs, and the few coconut flakes on top. I’m used to parfaits having several ingredients mixed in, especially fruits, dried or otherwise, to add some sweetness. This parfait definitely needed some. In the end, I didn’t find it very appetizing. It was way too plain, and definitely too sour. Plus, the expectation of coconut was shattered immediately, which was a huge disappointment.

Rating: 3/10

Today’s unusual visit left me ending on a low point, but that’s okay. I’ve said before, I can’t expect to enjoy every food I try, and when I’m trying everything on the menu there will be some things that I won’t like. Some of which I’ll expect not to like even before taking the first bite, but I’m enjoying the attempt at giving everything a chance. There were still some good picks in this batch, and I look forward to rest that are ahead.

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