Food Spotlight: The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf

Source: www.panoramio.com
Source: http://www.panoramio.com

I’ve been to a couple of Coffee Bean and Tea Leafs here in Jeddah, including the one next to Danube in Rawdah, the one on Andalus (Near Chilis), and the one next to the restaurant Papaya, and I can’t say enough good things about this place, I really can’t.

First and foremost, let’s talk about the coffee. I love coffee and I need it like I need oxygen, and it I get really disappointed when I get less than a good cup of coffee. I have been to many coffee shops including Starbucks, Costa Coffee,  Caribou Coffee and many more. However, the coffee at The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf surpasses all the others without fail, without a second thought. I don’t know if it is just me but there is a distinct taste and aroma about the coffee which does not exist in other coffee shops, it is so unique I really can’t put it into words. It is the kind of thing you need to try it to understand it. Also, when you order coffee, you actually get as serious cup of coffee. Like when you drink it, you can feel the caffeine kick in, unlike the coffee at Starbucks which really doesn’t do anything for me (coffee enthusiasts might understand what I’m talking about). So let me introduce to my obsession at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf: the vanilla lattes. Let me just say, I have had an healthy number of these this year. They are the best lattes I have ever tried, so much so that I bragged about it so much, I’ve got two of my friends hooked on it. First and foremost, you can actually taste the vanilla in the latte which is pretty huge by the way, because in other coffee shops, you  order a vanilla latte but get just a latte because you can’t taste any of the vanilla goodness. I can go on forever about the vanilla lattes, but I’ll end this by saying the latte has the perfect balance of the sweetness from the vanilla and the bitterness from the espresso.

Now comes the food. They do really good pasta and lasagna. If you are a pasta lover like I am, you won’t be disappointed.  My favorites are the Roast Chicken and Mushroom Fusilli and the lasagna. The Roast Chicken and Mushroom Fusilli is has cream in it, so it can be a bit too heavy, but it SO good and in my opinion, the perfect comfort food. Another one of my favorites is the Grilled Chicken Caesar sandwich. I’m really intrigued to try the waffles and the scone set on breakfast menu though, which I’m sure will happen in the near future. Regarding their desserts, I had the carrot cake which was very disappointing considering how good everything else is. It was very dry and didn’t feel so fresh and didn’t enjoy it at all. I also had one of the cookies, I think it was the chocolate chip cookie, it wasn’t horrible but it also wasn’t the best I’ve ever had.

Apart from the great coffee and food, the service is pretty great. The baristas always welcome me with a smile (especially the branch next to Papaya). They’re really helpful if you have a question, they know the menu, they know the coffee, if they were any more nice and they’d be on the verge of being creepy. The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf is my favorite places to hang out, I just the love the ambiance. It is very relaxing, its nice if you want to chat with your friends, read a book,  or study.

Another thing I love about the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf is that you can buy not only their coffee beans, but also their large selection of teas, and the  chocolate and vanilla flavorings so you can recreate their coffee at home. The Vanilla Power is SO GOOD, you can recreate the vanilla lattes at home, I did mention it my previous favorites post. You can use it to make hot vanilla, cold vanilla drinks and hot vanilla drinks.

All in all, if you haven’t been to The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, you need to go there and have a vanilla latte, you are missing out on some good stuff.

Food Spotlight: The Crepe Cafe

The Crepe Cafe

I think it’s time to reveal  to the world my obsession with pancakes. If I could, I would eat pancakes for breakfast, lunch, dinner AND dessert. So it’s really no wonder that I’d have pretty high expectations when visiting The Crepe Cafe, located in Stars Avenue Mall on the ground floor.

Firstly, they have a lot of variety in their menu, which is obviously very good, but it takes some time to decide what you want to eat. Not only do they have crepes (as the name suggests), they have pancakes, soups, and salads. So if you aren’t in the mood for crepes or pancakes you have other options.

I ordered the Berry Pancake (don’t remember the exact name, sorry!) and a vanilla latte. The pancakes had a mix strawberries and blackberries on top, and a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side. Honestly, I was impressed with the presentation alone, all I had to do was take a bite to confirm that this would most likely be the best pancakes I’ve ever tried. As expected, they were the best pancakes I’ve ever tried! I’m not joking, it was so disappointing finishing that last bite. The pancakes were fluffy, the berries were delicious-not too tart, yet not too sweet, and the ice cream on the side was the cherry on top!

Of course, I wouldn’t be me if I hadn’t ordered a vanilla latte (my usual). I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t the best vanilla latte I’ve ever had. It wasn’t overly sweet or bitter, the vanilla and coffee were perfectly balanced. I’d prefer this to a Starbucks or Coffee Bean (which I also love oh so very much) any day.

The price range is pretty good, you won’t be breaking the bank, which is great especially considering the great quality and quantity of food. The waiters, however,could be more friendly, like the ones at Chili’s, but that didn’t really ruin my experience.

Bottom line: I’d recommend this cafe to anyone who loves good pancakes/crepes, or food in general. I’ve recommended this cafe to many of my friends and family, and they none of them were disappointed.

Let me know if you’ve been there already and your experience in the comments below, would love to read them!