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Belle Epicurean

March 14, 2010

While scouting locations for this weeks coffee shop I came across Belle Epicurean also known as Belle’s Buns. In the past I have thumbed my nose at the “typical” coffee shop set up and was ready for a bit of a change, but since Belle Epicurean bills itself as a Parisian Bakery & Cafe that is located in the Fairmont Hotel I was a bit skeptical.

Walking in this isn’t your run of the mill cafe where everyone is sitting around with their laptops. It’s more of a sit down, pull out your book, and sip on a latte. One wall was covered in awards and articles that they were featured in while another had a tapestry hanging on it. The floors were black and white title and the marble tables made it look like and upscale ice cream shop. It was a bit overwhelming at first, but a warm “hello” from the barista quickly made me feel at home.

Although the decor was intreguing the pasteries caught my eye very quickly. One case was full of croissant, Brioche buns, and sandwiches. Next to it was the case of pastries. Opera cake, tarts, and cookies tempted me. Each item more delicious looking than the next. As I drooled over the goodies the barista patiently waited with a smile. Clearly I was not the first nor will I be the last to be seduced by the desserts in front of me. Finally I chose a White Raspberry Triangle Truffle Cake and a carmel latte. R ordered a Traditional Almond Croissant and a cappuccino. My order was done first and the barista brought out R’s drink a few minutes later.

R’s cappuccino was covered in foam; honestly more than I have ever seen. But his croissant was amazing. It was lightly toasted so each warm, flakey bite warmed my stomach. The really notable part was how heavy it was. This was no light, airy croissant that you eat and are still hungry after. There was notable substance to it.

My White Raspberry Triangle Truffle Cake was heaven. The first few bites were mouthwatering. It was creamy and delicious. However in the center there was a huge portion of overly sweet raspberry which severely demised my joy for the cake.

The latte on the other hand is hands down one of the best I have ever had. Not to bitter, but certainly not to sweet which is usually a problem I have when I ask for carmel. There was only a hint of carmel so I was able to savor the taste of the latte. Perfection. This is one of the only places where the temptation was so strong that I needed to go back for seconds. This time ordering a raspberry latte. It wasn’t as good as the carmel latte, but I think it was the flavoring that was added. In all fairness the barista did tell me that he would add more if I wanted, but it turns the drink pink. Even though it wasn’t as good as the carmel latte it was still one of the best cups I’ve had. This place knows how to make a drink. Just as a side note all of the coffee is Cafe Vita.

The only big downside was that there was no WiFi here. However as I said before this really wasn’t the type of place that seemed to look to attract the stay all day on the laptop crowd.

One of the last things that I need to comment on was the staff. They were warm, friendly, and willing to listen to anyone’s questions. What impressed me the most while I was there was how the one male barista handled a rather rude customer. At one point the customer got so out of control that everyone in the cafe turned to look. The barista remained calm, cool, and collected. After handling a particularly difficult customer once I was once told by a patron that she wished that she could have bottled my words. That is how I felt listening to him deal with the rude customer. It was perfect and spoke to the professionalism of he cafe. Bravo.

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