We were looking forward to a favorite experience – a lovely new to us restaurant – the LaQuinta Baking Company, on the southwest corner of Washington & Highway 111. Actually, one morning last winter I had a lovely cappuccino and pastry there, outside by their bubbling fountain. I just hadn’t realized they were a full service restaurant.
We had an early reservation, and good thing – the place was already full when we arrived, but our table was waiting. One of our party is a vegetarian, another one has a sugar intolerance, so as a table we are a bit more particular, questioning the server about the preparation of our choices. As an aside, I have never worked in the restaurant industry for a reason – I do not have the temperament for it. However, I fully appreciate how difficult the job is. I tip well and expect good service, so may I suggest to all those out there who do work in this most difficult industry – please avoid the exasperated look when the customer begins the questioning process, even if it does seem a bit tedious? We want and sometimes need to know. Afterall, the customer spends his/her money for the culinary experience and if the server finds this “too much” perhaps said server should find alternative employment. Agreed? Good. Moving on.
So back to our dining experience. First up was a lovely spinach salad, fresh greens with walnuts and what we thought the menu said would be goat cheese. Turns out it was bacon. “Whoops,” the vegetarian says as she tries to signal the waitperson – to no avail. Okay, we can deal with it. Hubby was happy to indulge in the extra portion. When one in our party ordered a mango ice tea, a chorus of “me too” arose when we heard they had our favorite beverage. “Whoops,” we all said after the first gulp…it was so over the top with sugar that it was impossible to drink. We tried to signal the waitperson – to no avail.
Two surprises, the bases were loaded.
With trepidation we awaited our main courses which arrived without fanfare. I had asked to substitute the Veal Marsala for Piccata since Chicken Piccata was on the menu. No problem. Two of our party had Fillet of Sole and Lobster Ravioli, respectively, served with a small portion of scalloped potatoes. A sampling told me the chef knew what he was doing. My veal, fried crispy on the outside but still tender, was served over a nice al dente linguine. All of the portions were exactly right – not meant for a family of four.
For dessert we opted to share one Neapolitan, which was a generous portion and made to perfection, chilled to facilitate the cutting/eating experience. Anyone who has ever attempted to eat a Neapolitan knows they can be molto disordinato! In this case, it was heavenly and absolutely worth it. With our coffees and espressos, all was forgiven.
Overall, this restaurant delivered surprisingly good food. The china and the utensils were institutional, the glassware was plastic, the tables were crowded and covered with white paper and the service was uneven. Afterall, it is a bakery and if it’s a wonderful pastry you crave with your morning’s coffee, I highly recommend it. And for dinner, while you won’t get a fine dining experience, you will get delicious food that is above the ordinary.