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Campus Cafés by Claire

Claire Stephens | Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tucked away in a corner of the grandiose and spectacular halls of Bond Hall hides Café Poché, a quaint and colorful café known almost exclusively to architecture students and faculty.

Café Poché is a nice escape from the intimidating splendor of the building, and offers a quick bite for breakfast or lunch or a quiet place to take a snack break.

While Café Poché doesn’t fully serve the needs of the perpetually busy architecture student who lives, works and sleeps in the building (it is only open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.), Café Poché specializes in sandwiches, soups and pastries.

It also offers quick and easy options that represent the best of LaFortune and Grab ‘n Go choices, including bottled drinks, to-go sandwiches, vegetable trays, snack bars and candy. For those marathon study sessions in the winter, they even sell Chapstick and 5-hour Energy.

While other academic building cafés offer bagels or croissant breakfast sandwiches, Café Poché’s unique item is their freshly-made scones, along with their muffins, bagels and exciting coffee flavors such as Dark Magic and Caramel Vanilla Cream.

Lunchtime favorites include the made-to-order deli sandwiches, paninis, taco salad and the famously-popular grilled cheese with tomato soup on Fridays.

I tried the Tuesday special – the spicy chicken breast sandwich and side salad (chips or fruit were other side options) with chicken dumpling soup. 

Although the generously sized sandwich had good chicken with just enough kick, it was very simple (bun, chicken, lettuce and tomato), and was a bit dry.

However, the freshness and surprising variety of vegetables in the side salad (as well as the freshness of the vegetables in the sandwich) hint that the made-to-order deli sandwiches may be the better overall choice, while the specials are more hit-or-miss.

The piping-hot chicken dumpling soup, however, far exceeded my expectations. The creamy blend of celery, carrots, herbs and spices made for a smooth and comforting soup, perfect for the cold winter ahead. It far outshined the spicy chicken breast sandwich.

The café has a very intimate, cozy atmosphere, created by the bar stools along the wall of the café, the friendly, welcoming service and the small table in the middle of the room, which resembles a kitchen table. More seating is available just outside the café, where there is a cute row of two-person tables, complete with a flower vase to give customers a little more privacy. 

Although the space is small, Café Poché offers a place to get away from the hustle and bustle of LaFortune and the dining halls, and get something a little different to eat before diving back into classes.