Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Little Ooh La La in Irvine

No French bakery cafe would be complete without desserts
(Image from Champagne French Bakery Cafe)
A while ago, a friend talked about trying out a place that was recommended by a co-worker. Had I heard of it? It was called Champagne Bakery and it was in Irvine by the $1 dollar movie place.

This blew me away. I drive by that place every day!

After some investigating, sure enough, there is a Champagne French Bakery Café located in the Woodbridge plaza on Barranca. As is my obsessive habit, I looked the place up online and discovered I drive by all this deliciousness every day without realizing it.

Champagne describes itself as serving “authentic French Fare in a casual café atmosphere” and a glance at the menu carries the theme. Some of the items listed as a “Champagne favorite” include the chicken salad or curry chicken salad croissant, or a croquet monsieur, which is a gratined (browned) ham, Swiss cheese and béchamel sauce (a traditional French white sauce) on pain de mie (sliced bread).

From their range of quiches the most popular is the smoked salmon, which includes herbed cream cheese and egg custard. Their most requested crepe is the chicken Florentine with creamed spinach and Swiss cheese.

For those of us who are non-carnivores, I was happy to see several options available for us, from the tomato mozzarella tart, to a spinach and goat cheese quiche or a fruit salad bowl if you’re really healthy (and boring).

Speaking of boring, despite being vegetarian, I tend to ignore salads, because frankly, they don’t excite me. Champagne bakery seems to take us mopey salad resistors to heart and offer a small but flavorful selection. The favorites are the Parisian salad, which are mixed greens, candied pecans, dried cranberries, blue cheese and apples served with balsamic vinaigrette. There's also a goat cheese salad with toasted almonds, oranges, croutons and sherry vinaigrette. 
(Image from Champagne French Bakery Cafe)

To quench your thirst they have the now-traditional coffeehouse selection (although the white Mocha stood out to me as something different) as well as cold drinks from juice to Perrier.

Yelp reviewers seemed to find it just okay, rating it 3.5 out of 5 stars from a total of 74 reviews. A lot of people commented on how crowded it was on the weekends, so people-phobes watch out, you may want to try going during the week.

With three locations in San Diego County and four in Orange (among others), I would check the web site for hours, prices and locations. But I would definitely check it out.  Beyond just glancing at it as I drive by anyway.

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