Restaurant review: Dessert First

The bakery caf‚ I visited for breakfast Tuesday morning has a simple motto: “Life’s too short, eat dessert first.” That’s a credo I can definitely support.

Dessert First is open from 7:45 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

I checked out the Dessert First Web site (www.getdessertfirst.com) and was greeted with promises of cupcakes swirled with frosting, topped with shimmering sugar. To be honest, I was a little disappointed to see no such cupcakes when I arrived at the bakery around 8:15 a.m., but a few types of muffins, cookies and biscotti to choose from. Oh well, I guess frosting isn’t a part of a balanced breakfast, anyway.

The friendly woman behind the counter said there would be plenty more baked treats to come later. She offered me a cheddar, bacon and chive muffin or a berry muffin. I opted for the berry muffin ($1.75), and some Irish-crŠme flavored coffee ($1.25), both of which were excellent and just the right size. I ate them in the restaurant and was the only person there the whole time.

The place was decorated mostly with small black-and-white photos on the white, red and beige walls (a former restaurant owner once told me that the color red is supposed to stimulate appetite). It had plenty of seating and a counter looking out on Barstow Street. All in all, it was an appealing place to get my pre-class coffee buzz.

That afternoon, when I stopped in to pick up a sandwich to go, business had picked up a bit; groups of college-aged customers took up a few tables. The service was quick and friendly.

I ordered a spicy roast beef sandwich with lettuce, mustard, sprouts and horseradish aioli. It was pretty standard, something I would make at home only with slightly better bread and more condiments than I usually have sitting around. There’s also a sun-dried tomato turkey wrap and a California BMT (basil, mozzarella and tomatoes), along with pasta salad, potato salad and fruit.

All of the sandwiches sell for $5.25, and assorted combinations of a sandwich, side order, cookie and drink range from $6 to $8.25. Currently the caf‚ does not take plastic (they do take checks), but it will in the future.

Oh, and the cupcakes? I wasn’t disappointed – there were plenty of choices this time. They come in flavors such as S’more, coconut, strawberry lemonade and, of course, chocolate indulgence, a chocolate cupcake with chocolate sprinkles and frosting (and they look as pretty as they do on the Web site). The bakery also offers cakes if you specially order them.

Overall, I would give it three stars – it could use some more sandwich choices and maybe a few more options around breakfast time, but it gets plenty of points for friendly service and sheer creativity with flavors. You can expect a good sandwich and a quality sugar fix.