Thursday, January 9, 2014

Pazzoria Bakery & Cafe

Pazzoria Bakery and Cafe is the more causal next door cousin to Pazzo Ristorante. 

It is quite adorable on the inside and I must say I am guilty of choosing it for lunch strictly on appearance alone.

It's very rare that I have a dining experience that is so awful that I want to simply walk out before my food even arrives, but my experience at Pazzoria was one such experience. I've not been to their sister restaurant, Pazzo, and will certainly give it a try, but I wouldn't eat at Pazzoria again, even if I was being paid to do so.

At first glance Pazzoria has a large and varied menu. I walked up to the counter (I was the only one in line) and couldn't get the attention of the two coworkers chatting at the cash register. I had my heart set on the tuna melt, and was disappointed when I overheard the male coworker say to the female, "GOD we have made SO MANY tuna melts today. If I have to make another one, I don't know what I'm going to do". I learned long ago to never, ever order anything that a restaurant employee doesn't want to make, I don't need any unadvertised ingredients making their way into my food. 

When I was able to get the attention of the employees I let them know that I had never been to Pazzoria before and asked if there was anything they recommended. They said "anything is good"... not helpful. I asked about the stromboli and based on the description it sounded great, so I ordered it with the spinach salad ($6.50). The woman who took my order then said, "can I con you into buying a cookie?" The thought that they would have to "con" someone into purchasing an item made me lose faith in the "bakery" portion of Pazzoria Italian BAKERY and Cafe. 

After I had ordered I stood at the counter waiting for my order (I wasn't given a number, and wasn't sure what I was supposed to do). When the woman noticed I was standing there she rolled her eyes at me, sighed and said, "we'll bring you your order."

There were four tables available when I went to sit down, unfortunately they were all dirty. I chose the least dirty of the tables, then set off to find a napkin or something to wipe it off with. Which is when I saw this: 

The only napkins available in the restaurant (according to the employee) are on this stand. See them on the very top shelf on the far left? I'm barely over 5' tall which meant that I couldn't reach them without grabbing the very bottom of the napkin dispenser and pulling it off the shelf (they are dispensed out of the top). I'm not sure what someone in a wheelchair, or someone shorter than me would do if they needed a napkin. 

After cleaning off my table I sat down and waited for my food to arrive. When the female employee brought it out, she kind of slid it across the table, spun around, and walked away. It was bizarre and the kind of thing you would expect an arch nemesis in a movie based in a high school to do. 

After my food was brought out, the dirty tables remained dirty. The two employees were leaning on the counter having a gossip session, meanwhile there were no clean tables. The male employee started talking to his coworker about how his girlfriend was taking him to Mazatlan, and the female employee started running her hands through her hair and talking about wondering if she should dye it. 

And here's my food. Looks appetizing, right? Not really? Yeah, I didn't think so either.

Close up of my spinach salad. It was supposed to be spinach, fennel, pine nuts, red onions balsamic and Parmesan. I didn't taste/see any fennel on the salad - which wouldn't have been the end of the world. My problem with the salad was that the onions were clearly well past their prime. Far past rotten. I wish they had photographed better, they were brown and off white in color. I tasted them just in case the weird color didn't affect the flavor, but they were awful. 

And here's the stromboli. It wasn't awful, but for a "bakery" it was a huge disappointment. The bread portion was hard, burnt in places, and didn't have much flavor. The cheese, sauce and meat were mediocre at best. 

As I was sitting, picking at my meal, kicking myself for eating at Pazzoria, the female employee dumped out the tips and started counting them. 

And then she did something that was truly unbelievable. 

She said, loudly to her male coworker, "GOD our customers SUCKED today. We have barely any tips." I feel like a far more appropriate statement from her would have been, "wow our service was awful and we were rude and didn't care about our customers, I'm not surprised they didn't tip us."

If you'd like to check out Pazzoria Italian Bakery & Cafe for yourself their website is are located at 627 SW Washington Street in downtown Portland. They are open Monday - Friday from 7:00am - 3:00pm.

Pazzoria Bakery & Cafe on Urbanspoon

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