[Dine Out] Calgary: La Boulangerie

So I have had a ultra disappointing afternoon. I’m afraid this is going to be a bit of a rant…

I booked a reservation online through OpenTable to dine at Wurst for lunch. In the special request box, I specifically stated that I would be wanting the Big Taste menu. So I show up, sit down, receive their brunch menu, and then had to go ask about their Big Taste menu. They told me, that no, they’re only serving their brunch menu. You’d think that they could’ve called and let me know that they weren’t serving the Big Taste menu. And shame on the Big Taste website for not being more clear. When they put the restaurant’s lunch hours, it would seem to be a fair assumption that they’d be serving the Big Taste menu. It’s just so disappointing because that’s a wasted time slot since I could’ve went to another Big Taste restaurant. But, I digress.

That’s not really the main reason for my disappointment.

So when we were walking to Wurst, we noticed that this new bakery/cafe had opened beside it. And we were really excited to try it some other time because, from the outside, it looked lively and atmospheric.

So, when the Wurst plans fall through (didn’t feel like eating there, we already know what their brunch is like), we thought, hey, why not try this place out.

What. a. mistake.

I don’t know when exactly they opened, but they still have A LOT of kinks to work out.

First of all, the queue was ridiculous. We waited maybe 20 minutes just to get to the cashier to order. The girl in front of us was impatiently texting to her friend about how ridiculous the wait was. Also, there’s no flow in the place, the line was this chaotic mess that made the whole place seemed clustered and disorderly. So, when we finally got up to the cashier where we place our order, the people behind the counter decided to ignore the bf, and helped the people behing us! So we ended up getting our food really far apart, but I’ll talk about that later. They have this weird system where the cashiers would scrawl out the orders on the bottom of these paper boats (this is an obviously flawed system, to be observed later on). I had ordered a smoked salmon croissant, and when the cashier said a baguette when she was confirming my order, I had to correct her. This is noteworthy because it comes up later. Confusion #1.

I also ordered a green tea latte. So, when you read green tea latte, is it not fair to assume that it would be a macha latte? That’s what everyone else calls them. So I ordered, went back to the back of the line, because that’s where the coffee bar was, and patiently waited for my drink.

The barista was horrendous. HORRENDOUS. She was the most unpleasant girl to deal with. As I was waiting for my drink, every interaction I observed between her and a customer was awful. As the customers were leaving you can see the confusion in their eyes, like WTF, what is with this girl’s attitude? She was short and curt to customers. And yes, I understand, that it was busy, and she was probably flustered, but that’s no excuse to treat customers like sh*t. Friendly service is a big part of why people come back to an establishment. The food can be phenomenal, but if the service sucks, people won’t come back.

Anyways, I could tell that she was about to making my drink. And I noticed her grabbing a tea bag out, and, so being confused, I asked “oh – is the green tea latte not made with matcha powder?”. She glared at me, and answered a short “no”. That’s it. I’m sorry, but there is a reason why people go to Starbucks. There are people out there that are all going to be like: “blah, blah, blah, Starbucks is a soulless corporation” and “blah, blah, blah, you should support local”. Well, I would support local if they had their sh*t together. I go to Starbucks because I know what I’m paying for, the staff are trained, the service is standard, and I don’t have to deal with inconsistencies because the staff are trained properly. If I’m at a Starbucks and I was confused about the drink that I had ordered (and paid a ridiculous price for), and was obviously displeased that they were making my green tea latte with a friggin’ tea bag, they would’ve offered to make me another drink.

Seriously, what a rip-off. They are charging FOUR DOLLARS for a tea misto. I can get a tea misto anywhere else for under $3.00. And this was the smallest cup of “latte” ever. They call it a regular, but this is a size small. I mean, look at it.

IT'S CALLED A TEA MISTO, NOT A FRIGGIN' GREEN TEA LATTE

And you know what, it wouldn’t have been so bad if the barista wasn’t being a completely condescending little ———– about it. Confusion #2.

So, okay, whatever, I grabbed my drink because she obviously didn’t give two shi*ts about unsatisfied customers. Sat down. And waited. And waited. And waited. Seriously, the wait was much too long for a goddamn sandwich. How long does it take to cut open a croissant, smear some cream cheese on it, plop some salmon on it, and serve it on a paper boat? Apparently 20 minutes. For that long of a wait, the croissant better be fresh out of the oven (spoiler alert: it wasn’t). Confusion #3.

Finally, they call my name…but…it’s on a baguette. Remember up top, where I ordered a croissant, and there was a misunderstanding, and I clarified that I wanted a croissant? Remember? Yeah, apparently, they didn’t. They just made me a baguette anyways. So they took it back and made me a croissant. Confusion #4.

The 20 minute croissant

Okay, so now I have MY food. But wait where’s the bf’s order?

Oh yeah, because they skipped him, he had to wait until two other people got their orders first. Fine, we knew that was going to happen anyways. But then, other sandwiches started coming out…and they weren’t his. Finally, someone comes up to ask him with what they thought he had ordered (a completely different sandwich). Confusion #5.

No big deal, he tells the girl what type of sandwich he ordred. Before she went back behind the counter, she even asked him to clarify: “baguette or croissant?”. And he said baguette. Ok, right? No confusion there. She asked, he answered, everything should be dandy.

NOPE, a croissant comes out. Confusion number way too many. So he had to send it back for a baguette. I mean, come one, how many times can one group’s order be messed up? Obviously lots. One of the girls had to go around asking each table if they were waiting for food, and if it was a baguette or a croissant. They have some serious ordering issues that needs to be figured out.

So, there’s the whole service fiasco. But, how’s the food you ask? Mediocre, not worth it to deal with the chaotic ordering system and unpleasant barista. My croissant was good, but I mean, it was a croissant (mmm…buttery goodness), cream cheese (mmm…creamy goodness), and smoked salmon (mmm…fishy goodness). The croissant was good, it was fluffy and delicious, but I expected no less since it is a bakery. The salmon on the croissant was a really small portion. I mean really, teeny, tiny, portion. I don’t even think there was one whole portion of fish on there. Like, kind of skimming on the good stuff.

I spy with my little eyes...somethings that are NOT salmon...

Oh, and the cucumbers on my sandwich was bitter.

The baguette the bf got wasn’t good. He didn’t like it at all. He said there was not enough meat on it to even taste it through the baguette. He got the pepper salami baguette, it came with fresh Bocconcini cheese, roasted peppers, tomato, and organic basil.

Sammich - $8.00

All in all. Not worth it. I will wait, at least, three months, before going back there. That is, if they’re still in business. Service is key in the restaurant industry, almost as important as the quality of food. Whoever the owner is really needs to re-evaluate his business operations, and especially, his choice of baristas (hint: the one that worked on Saturday, March 3rd, around 12:00 pm). I think it could really become a good little cafe and bakery if they work out some of the service issues. And they need to realize, that the reason a neighbourhood cafe/bakery will thrive is the atmosphere. The cafe needs to have a friendly, rustic atmosphere. A calm, serene place that people would want to spend time in. Not a zoo of a place that treats you like crap and gauges you for overpriced items.

Until that happens, I’m not going to waste my time or money there anymore.

LA BOULANGERIE
2435 – 4 Street Southwest
Calgary, AB T2S 2T4
(403) 973-4824

La Boulangerie on Urbanspoon

11 Responses

  1. Phew! Nice review, although too bad about your shitty experience. Hope it dint ruin your whole day.

    PS: Nice use of Sh*t in your review. Even I haven’t used it that much at this sh*t’s delicious ;D

  2. Reblogged this on Hot sauce.

  3. Good to know. I’ve noticed the place a few weeks ago and I was looking for an excuse to try it. I hope they improved the service and added some more smoked salmon to that sandwich (cause that’s exactly what I’m gonna have)!

  4. Your review is on a place that was not opened even a week. I wonder if your employer didn’t have similar comments your first week! Buddy invite me to your opening, oh right you are just one of those finger pointers.

    • Hey, I did mention in my post that I wasn’t sure exactly when they opened. I assumed the restaurant was relatively new and was pointing out things that could be improved on.
      By the way, your method of arguing is absolutely illogical. Because I blog about restaurants, it must mean I own a restaurant? And besides, I would totally welcome you to my opening (if i had one). The thing about opening a business is that you don’t always just want good feedback. Negative feedback can be good too because then you know what you need to work on in order to make your business the best that it can be.

  5. As a food blogger you really need to take in to account what a negative review/post can do to a start up business. Luckily, because you’ve made no real attempt at objectivity, your entry (rant) comes off as selfish, self serving, and plain mean spirited. Therefore, as a reader, it is easy to sympathize with the staff and dismiss your opinion entirely. I’m not saying La Boulangerie is good or bad. I am saying that opinions are like *ssholes. Everyone has one.

    • Hmmmm…did I not start of the post by saying: “I’m afraid this is going to be a bit of a rant…”. I don’t know how much more clear I could’ve been about the fact that I WAS going to rant.

      And hmmmmm…is this not a blog? A blog – which is by definition a personal website or web page on which an individual records OPINIONS.

      Of course my post wasn’t objective, for goodness sake, it’s about FOOD and SERVICE. What I like or dislike about a meal or the service staff is automatically a subjective thing. If I say that I liked the sandwich because it was COLD, it would just be as subjective as any other comment I could’ve made. Maybe you really like your sandwiches hot, does that also make me an asshole for having a different opinion?

      And, just because it’s a start-up business, we should just overlook all its mistakes? How is that doing ANY good for the company? Pretending its faults don’t exist will just help it destroy itself faster.

      And I hope you realize that your (very cliche) expression at the end applies to yourself as well. Ragging on me about being subjective and mean-spirited while you yourself is doing the same thing makes you a big hypocrite. :)

  6. Hello foodequalslife. I am… The horrendous bairsta. If you’ve ever gone back to La Boulangerie you may have noticed that I do not work there anymore. I am not here to bash you. I am here to simply apologize. I do remember you and I do remember your order. And I do remember I wasnt nice. Im sorry. I’d like to say though that the following day I quit. I walked out on them. I only worked there for 10 days. You wanna know why? (even if u dont.. Ill tell you) because i agree with everything you said. They are (or were) complete chaos. Being a supervisor from Starbucks and getting 100% on secret shopper scores at earls i was SO frustrated with how they did things. And im not the type to just stand by and allow customers to be pissed (hence me holding leader positions in my previous jobs) But at that point i had no choice in giving tips (which i knew would help) making me MISERABLE. I could feel all the customers impatience and dissatisfaction (you were definately not the first) and i couldnt do anything. And on top of that i was making coffees for 6 straight hours before getting a break. Now dont get me wrong. Im not trying to excuse my rudeness. Im just trying to maybe make you understand why i wasnt pleasant. If you had met me at earls or starbucks previous you would know I was probably having a bad day because thats not me to be rude. So im sorry your experience there sucked. Im sorry i sucked. But thank you. Ive learnt from this lesson that even though your job sucks, being a beotch will only make it worse. A positive attitude can help you get through the day. Let me know if you know the shit show got any better :)

  7. Was there yesterday, for the second time, and agree that the service is awful, but I think it has got to be the shitty owner. Both time I have been he just yells at customers and at staff. Who would want to be nice to customers when they are consistently getting yelled at? He has no management skills and it is going to cost him a business. The staff turnover there is going to be very high I am sure, but I will not be there for the next group. Gave it a second chance 3 months later and it failed, I think even worse than the first time.

    • It hasn’t got better. On my last (very last) trip in, the place was quite dirty (it’s been getting progressively worse). Corners, floors, behind the counter. I Googled the Alberta Health restaurant inspections and found they had 11 health violations since opening. I was appaled, so I left. And, yeah, he was shouting at staff again.

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