Thursday, November 1, 2007

Mmm, Creamy.

Can we talk? What the hell is wrong with Panera Bread? I recently ordered a cappuccino there and, thank god, said 'yes' to their offer of whipped cream. I'm glad I did, since a subsequent visit saw me say 'no' to the whipped cream. This opened the view to the full carnage that lay in my cup. What... the FUCK... is that? I so eloquently said to my partner. For before me, in the tub-sized cup-o-cino, was the most pathetically limp foam I had ever seen. Panera Bread's cappuccino was practically a cup of coffee with some milk that into which somebody blew with a straw. Apparently they think sheer quantity makes up for quality. The bubbles were enormous, and what foam there was floated helplessly around on top of the coffee.

I had to know. So on my next visit, I hovered around by the machine as my barista, who I swear was the banjo-playing kid from Deliverance, made my cappuccino. I'm sure the look of steely-eyed determination and disgust on my face made her feel great. I nearly gasped as she poured 2% MILK into the steaming carafe. TWO PERCENT?! You might as well foam water! Bah. I know they're doing this because it's easier to foam 2% than whole milk, but if you don't want to worry about hiring skilled baristas to make your drinks, DON'T SELL CAPPUCCINO. A barista needs to do more than simply jam the foaming rod into the milk and blink out for 15 seconds. Which is exactly what she did.

There was no symphony. No dance of the rod on the surface of the milk. No nothing. She just sort of humped the rod with the carafe and called it done. Just having a cappuccino on your menu doesn't make you trendy or cultured. You have to make it correctly! God almighty! Not too long after this I went to Pastiche in Providence and had a latte and was reminded of how a good drink should taste. Ohhh, the sweetness of the whole milk. The body. The texture. Everything Panera Bread wasn't.

So I guess what I'm saying is, don't do drugs.

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