Monday, June 4, 2012

Easily overlooked cafe at Plöger Delikatessen

Plöger Delikatessen on Urbanspoon I bought a Groupon for Plöger Delikatessen ($8 for 2 hot drinks and 2 apple strudels) last year, but didn't get around to finally going until this past Saturday evening -- yes, instead of going to EAT! Vancouver, I decided to hear all about my friend's recent trip to Peru, where she had Montezuma's Revenge and trekked up to Machu Picchu.

When my friend and I were at Plöger Delikatessen on the sunny, sleepy Saturday afternoon, there was just one of the owners tending the store. It was past 4pm, and clearly things were winding down. We browsed a bit at the various imports and non-imports (including locally made, raw, vegan, organic, fair trade Zimt Artisan Chocolate; both the bars and the newer 1-bite singles), and then settled on a square of Linzer Cake to try in addition to our strudels.

For hot beverages, we were allowed to choose from the list posted to the left of the counter -- basically coffee, hot chocolate, or tea. I went with a black tea (normally $2.40), the "Yorkshire Harrogate". The owner said it was from an English spa, and recommended as one of the best black teas around. I can't say I'd heard of it, and my tea palate isn't sensitive enough to really appreciate any difference, so I'll have to leave it up to someone else to review.

It's pay-upfront counter service here, but there is some actual table service. The owner checked in on us while we nibbled and chatted, brought us napkins, and dropped by to clear empty dishes. Before we left, we went back to the counter to put a bit of a tip into the tip jar/cup there.

Price-wise, Plöger Delikatessen is okay, especially considering the food is made in-house instead of shipped in from a factory somewhere, and (according to their Youtube "interview" on the website) they use organic flour.

Sometimes coupons can be a bit hit and miss when you redeem them. I still remember years ago there was a get-a-free-taco coupon in the newspaper for a new taco chain that was opening in Vancouver. When I went to the store downtown, the manager overseeing service at the counter had a dirty look on her face, and instructed the staff to give me the cheapest one and without a lot of fillings. Huh. So much for showcasing your product!
The strudel at Plöger Delikatessen is cut from a long whole loaf right in front of you, and the lady at the counter cut out inch-thick slices, which is more or less regulation thickness. No skimping here simply because we had a coupon! The strudel itself was okay. It looked a bit on the pale side and was somewhat bland, but that may have been because it was made the traditional German way and not especially sweetened for North American palates. Plöger is an ethnic store with German imports, and you can expect things to be done how they do it "back home".

The Linzer cake (not part of the Groupon) was $3.80 before tax for a square about 4" to a side and almost 1" thick. It was crumbly, which is how Linzer cakes are. It's firm and dry (even with the jam inside), and more biscuit-like than cake-like. The fruitiness reminded us of Rumba Cake, but the fruity flavour wasn't as strong. Can't say I'd recommend this (but it's not Plöger Delikatessen's fault either -- that's just how Linzer cake is). If you do get it, definitely get some kind of (preferably hot) beverage to go with it as it really is quite dry.

If you find other coffee shops a bit too busy or tight on space, then this little deli in its quieter location may afford you more peace and quiet. As supermarkets and coffee shops go, Plöger Delikatessen feels remarkably spacious, especially in the seating area between the counter and the door. And there's a lot of space outside the store as well for sunny days (although only two tables were set outside at the time we were there). The furniture looks horrid, sad to say, but the seats are comfortable enough.

Although the website indicates a closing time of 7pm, the store signs now show 6pm, probably because it really was quite quiet at that early evening hour. We were caught off guard (as we'd gone with the website hours) and somewhat in limbo because my friend had arranged to meet her dinner date there at 7pm. The owner was very helpful and kind to leave a couple of seats outside for us to wait (she was still working inside, in the back, and locked the door so no one could wander in).

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