Friday, December 9, 2011

Baked Goods from Blenz

Blenz Coffee on Urbanspoon
I dashed over to Blenz in New Westminster (at 6th and 6th) first thing in the morning to catch up with a dear friend at 9am. As I had treated her a few times in the past, she firmly put her foot down this time and insisted she have the bill. I capitulated and accepted a small seasonal GingerBread Latte. That still wasn't good enough for her, so she insisted on getting me some breakfast as well: A croissant drizzled with chocolate, and what appeared to be a blueberry bran muffin (should've paid more attention instead of watching them make my latte...).

I'm not normally into buying breakfast or deli items from coffee stores. A lot of stuff is typically prefab shipped-in goods (unless you get a hot panini, in which case places like StarBucks or Caffè Artigiano will prep it for you and it'll be hot and fresh) -- This means right off the bat I'm setting the bar low at it being at most mediocre quality and will feel lucky if it isn't too dry from sitting out all day. This time, however, the choice was made for me. And as we were in at 9am, it wasn't actually too much to hope for passably fresh fare.
Anyway, long story short, I'm starting off biased against cold breakfast items at a chain coffee store.

The blueberry muffin: Maybe it was this morning's shipment of muffins, but it was really decent. Moist on the inside, and quite generously dotted with blueberries. Something I completely forgot to do was check whether they were in fact real blueberries.

The croissant had plusses and minuses.
First, when I say "drizzled with chocolate", don't get too excited. We're talking about thin lines of chocolate zig-zagged over the croissant top, and not thick stripes slathered over it to form a coat of chocolate. And there was only token chocolate on the inside of the croissant: It appears that a thin strip of chocolate was rolled inside the croissant to bake -- If you bite the croissant at the wrong angle, you got no chocolate.

Purists might be a bit upset at it being called a croissant as it wasn't puff pastry material. Various drawbacks of using a "real croissant" would include the buttery oiliness, its overall fragility (lending to easily being crushed out of shape during transportation, plus the crust flaking off extensively), and its tendency to quickly dry out and harden.
The chocolate croissant I got from Blenz was more like bread. Quite firm on the outside without having to be baked to a dark crust, and porous on the inside without being too spongy. If it had been any other shape than croissant shape, I would have appreciated it more on its merit as bread. In short, it's a convenient recipe that retains shape.
The smooth crust didn't grab the drizzled chocolate well, however, and you are likely to find that each bite will cause some of the precious little chocolate to flake off.

Benefits of bread-like croissants aside, I would recommend that if you are focussing on the chocolate more than the croissant, to give this a miss. Just not enough chocolate to justify any extra cost for chocolate. If a bit of extra taste to your bread is what you are looking for, then I guess it's alright. You can also try dipping it in your coffee.

The Gingerbread Latte was quite tasty but cooled very quickly, strangely enough. When my friend ordered her drink she asked for confirmation that it would be "extra hot". I should remember to try that next time. They probably quit doing that automatically since the lawsuit against McDonald's hot coffee.

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