Friday, October 8, 2010
Lunching at Pan Chancho Bakery & Café - Kingston, Ontario
Pan Chancho Bakery & Café is the perfect place to dine for lunch on a sunny day in Kingston. You have the choice of their main floor dining space, their patio or the quiet upstairs that can be used for your private dining functions.
Pan Chancho has been in this beautiful location now for 8 1/2 years. The owner also has the very popular Chez Piggy restaurant, tucked in close by at 62 Princess Street.
The place is full of architectural detail with the exposed limestone walls and the double hung windows with deep sills. Thankfully we had a reservation. At 1 pm on a Thursday afternoon, the place was still bustling.
A certain amount of that bustle comes from the clients filing in to grab their wares from the bakery. Whether it is actual bakery items, takeout specials from their freezer, a selection of gourmet dishes on display in their coolers, high end dried pastas, or some entertaining fineries, it is easy to put together a taste-sensational meal with the help of Pan Chancho. They share their culinary secrets in a cookbook that is also available for sale in the store.
We had the pleasure of having our lunch upstairs in their private dining area. Our spot was by one of those deep windows and the beautiful, warm sunlight was streaming in, brightening our little spot at the table. It is the kind of setting that brings out your cat-like qualities!
We barely glanced at the extensive menu as our eyes were drawn to the daily specials.
We were first given a bread basket with a sampling of their choice breads from the bakery. I snatched up the end piece from a loaf of white. I just love end pieces. Many don't see them as the coveted treasure that I do, so I was pleased that Pan Chancho also thinks they are gold.
I started with the Tomato Pesto Soup with Parmesan. It was full of fresh from the field flavour with the chunks of tomatoes and vegetables stewing in the herbs. The thick grates of Parmesan melted into each spoonful. And look! More bread. A focaccia perhaps? It made for excellent dipping.
The hubby picked the Potato and Double Smoked Bacon Soup with Scallions. He likes it better when the crisp is still on the bacon, which seems to work best when it is adding in just at the end. His dipping bread left the plate rather quickly as it missed being in the photo.
For my main, I had the Greek Salad with Chili Garlic Shrimp and Toasted Pita Points. While I was expecting a heap of tomatoes and cucumbers, this Greek salad was more loaded with green, yellow and red peppers. The shrimps were fresh, bright and garlicky, though not too bold. (I happen to love garlicky.)
The hubby had the Orange Fennel Chicken Salad on Multi-grain Bread. It came with Yam Frites and Cumin Ranch Dressing with Coriander Oil. The portions were substantial and he made his way through half the sandwich and half the frites. The rest came home for a late day snack. He had positive reviews all round for the fresh bread, the chicken salad, the frites and the dip. The picture does not appear to contradict him.
Overall, our experience at Pan Chancho's café made for a great closing to our wonderful but short getaway vacation to Kingston. The service was attentive and thoughtful. The food quality was in keeping with the same high standards they hold for their bakery goods. And the treat is, they appear to do it all with such ease. Our thanks to our Twitter friends for giving us this recommendation. Next time we are back, we look forward to doing some solid 'product research' in the bakery portion of Pan Chancho.
P.S. I am now particularly fond of the hostess, Rachel. As she confirmed our reservation upon our arrival, she asked if I was an author. She asked because she thought my name SOUNDS like I should be an author! "The kind of name", she said, "that you could see on the front of a book". What more motivation does one person need to get started on that great Canadian novel trapped inside of all of us?
Pan Chancho Bakery & Café
44 Princess Street
Daily: 7 am - 4 pm
Mon to Sat: 7 am - 6 pm
Sun: 7 am - 5 pm