Sandwiches in Review: Barnes & Noble’s Cafe

June 30, 2009

Sorry for the lack of updates, technology has not been my friend of late.  Anyway, it’s time for a review.  Today’s sandwich comes not from a restaurant, but from a bookstore.  Barnes & Noble is a large, international bookselling company.  As a reader, writer, and general lover of the English language and printed word, they are very near and dear to my heart.  Like many larger bookstores, the Barnes & Noble I frequent has a small cafe inside the store.  The cafe serves a variety of baked goods, cheesecakes, and a couple of sandwiches, as well as some Starbucks coffee products.  (Important Note: Although the cafe serves Starbucks coffee, it is NOT a Starbucks location.  The sandwich I am going to describe, as well as most of the other offerings, aren’t necessarily available at your corner Starbucks.)  The sandwich I sampled is called the Tomato Caprese.

Friday Night's Dinner, in all its glory.

Friday Night's Dinner, in all its glory.

The sandwich consisted of Mozzarella and Provolonecheese, roasted tomatoes, and a basil pesto spread on a foccacia  roll, grilled in a sandwich press.  I’m told “Caprese” refers to a type of Italian salad made up of the same general ingredients, but I’ve never had it myself.  The sandwich was decent.  The ingredients complemented one another well, and it had a strong, distinctive taste, which is pleasantly surprising in a vegetarian sandwich.  The major problem with the sandwich was the temperature.  The tomatoes may have been roasted, but they had also been refrigerated since then, and were a little too cold.  The sandwich hadn’t been evenly heated, and the cheeses weren’t consistently melted.  I don’t know whether this is a problem with the sandwich press, or whether my barista could have grilled it a touch longer.  (Incidentally, my barista was polite and attentive.  No complaints there.)  Either way, the temperature of the sandwich was its major flaw, in my opinion.

The sandwich came with a bag of lightly salted Kettle Cooked potato chips, which were a nice little side.  The meal (sandwich + chips) totaled to $6.50.  This is about the average price of the Cafe’s sandwiches, which are usually meats and cheeses grilled in the sandwich press.  It’s a little bit above my normal price range, especially since I had to buy a drink separately (as you can see in the picture, I went with a Lime Orange Mango Jones Soda, which was another $1.95).  If you’re in Barnes & Noble and need to eat a meal, these sandwiches are tasty, but the price is a little steep for my tastes.

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