No, we didn’t encounter the Soup Nazi (Seinfeld episode), but there will be more on this later.
Having eaten the bread from La Baguette on our 5.0 Addie sandwiches at Chicago Luke’s, we knew that a trip to the source had to be added to our Tucson list. And, better yet, the bakery is next door to Ghini’s French Café where we could also have lunch.
“This French Canadian-owned bakery has been operating out of the same location since 1984…. (T)his small Tucson shop boasts an array of fresh baked goodness everyday. Dinner rolls, French baguettes, ciabattas, sweet bread, and my favorite the epi. In addition to traditional bread they also have a lovely assortment of cookies, cinnamon rolls, pastries, turnovers, chocolate éclairs, cheese cake and much more. The staff is super friendly and always takes the time to chat, offer suggestions and make a personal connection.... If you plan on visiting this amazing bakery make sure you get there early because they tend to run out of the more popular items later in the day” (tucsonreview.com).
We arrived at around 1:00 p.m. on a Saturday, and the bareness of the shelves attests to the truth of the previous sentence. There were a few loaves of fruit and nut bread and a couple of strawberry rhubarb pies remaining but most of the breads were gone. Still, I did manage to snag a few small piccolo rolls and a loaf of ciabatta. (I was less than impressed by the ciabatta.)
“Serving country kitchen-style French and American favorites, this sidewalk cafe buys locally grown produce and displays local artists' work. Menu options include a variety of omelettes, crepes, soups,
I was tempted by two items from the Starters and Salads list—the Blackened Ahi Salad (served on a bed of greens garnished with radishes, carrots, red cabbage, scallion and grilled fideo pasta [a pasta often used in soup] topped with a ginger vinaigrette) or the Soupions a L’ail (calamari sautéed with red onion, garlic, and white wine and garnished with baby greens and basil grilled baguettes). But I was especially hungry for soup.
So a server comes to our table. “What is the day’s soup,” I ask. “I don’t know. No one has asked me,” she replies. “I’ll go find out.” And so off she went. Never to be seen again. Or at least at our table. Soon she was running the cash register. Then she was going out to the patio and calling the name of the next party to be seated. Then she was waiting on another table.
After about ten minutes, another server approaches our table. “Has anyone taken your order? Do you want a beverage other than water?” “No” to the latter question.
“Someone was waiting on us, and she was checking on the day’s soup,” I responded.
“Oh,” she says. “All we have today is the French onion.”
I have watched enough Gordon Ramsey (Hell’s Kitchen and Kitchen Nightmares) and Robert Irvine (Restaurant: Impossible) to know that it is the dual responsibility of management and servers to know what is on the menu. The appropriate response isn’t “I don’t know. No one has asked me.” Especially when you then disappear.
Well, I didn’t want onion soup, so my decision came down to one of two sandwiches, both of which came on a French baguette. One, the Pain Bagna, contained Spanish anchovies, hot house tomatoes, hard boiled egg, lettuce, and vinaigrette. The second, and my ultimate choice, was the Garden of Eatin with zucchini, avocado, green chile, cheddar, Swiss, muenster, alfalfa sprouts, and ranch dressing. And I chose the small salad for my side.
Although there was much bustling to and fro on the part of the servers, little real service was happening. And when Chuck went to the front counter to pay, a gentleman stood behind the cashier the whole time, which seemed to make her nervous, thereby lengthening the time it took to pay.
To review the role of Adler, Kitty Humbug, and the Addie rating system, read the November 14, 2011 blog.