Thursday, April 17, 2008

Caffé Panini

Caffé Panini
1105 S Mays Street
Round Rock, TX 78664

My coworkers were all headed to Whataburger, so my work friend Joel (not to be confused with Joel of Kenobi fame or Galaxy Café Joel) suggested we head to Caffé Panini instead. Caffé Panini is a sandwich shop in Round Rock that insists on spelling café with two f’s. I was grateful to try a new place, so I quickly agreed. We made the short drive from our cube farm down to Mays Street in Round Rock and found ourselves parking in a small ugly strip.

We walked into the restaurant, and I was pleasantly surprised by the stylish and up-to-date non frou-frou interior. There were couches at the front of the shop and rows of tables that lined the square simple space all the way to an ordering counter in the back. A look at the website promises patio seating in the future, but I think in the future I might prefer avoiding the strip mall atmosphere by sitting indoors.

The lunch and dinner menu is small. It contains 9 appetizing paninis, a few specialty coffees, Italian sodas, (iced tea and regular sodas of course), pastries, white chocolate bread pudding and brownies. For breakfast you get the option of an egg poblano panini or a sausage kolache. All lunch and dinner sandwiches are served with either pasta or bistro chips. The soup of the day was Broccoli Cheese.

I chose the Veggie Panini. It contained portabella, artichoke, sun dried tomatoes, sweet balsamic onions and swiss cheese. I decided on chips instead of pasta since the pasta was littered with pepperoni bits. Joel had the Trio (Turkey, ham, bacon, tomato, provolone with dijon mayo) and he went all out with the pasta.

The staff was friendly and cute. The food was quick and a girl walked around asking if everyone was alright. This was hilarious to me because every request Joel made was rejected, but yet the girl felt it seem necessary to help us in some way.

Cute Staff Member: Is everything OK today? Could I get you anything else?
Joel: Well, I could use some Tabasco sauce.
Cute Staff Member: I’m sorry we don’t have any Tabasco sauce but I think we might have some Louisiana Hot Sauce.
Joel: OK, sure, that’s fine.
Cute Staff Member leaves and returns 2 minutes later: I’m sorry we don’t have any Louisiana Hot Sauce, but perhaps I could get you some banana peppers.
Joel: OK, sure, that’s fine.
Cute Staff Member leaves and returns 2 minutes later: I’m sorry we don’t have any banana peppers, but perhaps I could refill your drink?

And so on and so forth.

My sandwich was tasty, but please do not be fooled by the word “veggie.” It was in no way healthy. The bread was soaked in oil (exactly what was making it taste so damn good) and the vegetables were smothered in cheese. The artichoke and sundried tomatoes were very tangy, and immediately dominated my taste buds. The bread became the necessary taste bud escape. The chips were plain old chips and can only be described as salty and crispy.

We tried not to talk too much about work as we finished our sandwiches. Joel seemed to like his sandwich, but I didn’t see him touch the pasta.

Overall: A decent sandwich shop in Round Rock that doesn’t look suburban on the inside and has a really friendly staff. A lot better than Schlotzsky’s, but with a much smaller menu.

Laura ~ 7 (It was a 7.5 but I rethought the menu size)