Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Peacefood Cafe: a Juxtaposition of Good Eats and Odd Service

The eats at Peacefood Cafe are consistently stellar, but I always have a service issueALWAYS.  Normally it's just a weird, casual, here's-your-potato-salad-and-I'll-bring-you-the-accompanying-sandwich-in-about-an-hour attitude, but it can get even more bizarre.  Since I go there pretty often and the food is almost always delicious, I am conflicted when it comes to writing about them because of the consistently strange experiences that accompany the otherwise great food.  So, here are some pictorial examples of some recent, really good eats, juxtaposed with textual examples of their inexplicably odd service.

chocolate chip cookie sandwich: om nom
There are always a TON of people working (i.e. congregating in deep conversation at the end of the counter) at Peacefood, so why is it that I recently found myself at the counter being ignored by the two people standing behind it who were blissfully holding hands, giggling, and ignoring me?  I swear I was not wearing a t-shirt that said, "My name is Abby Bean and if you annoy me I'm going to blog about it", so it couldn't have been purposeful.  Were they simply on a work date?  I've heard of a staycation, but...

moist, chewy, almondy, chocolate-covered macaroons: a must order
On another recent visit I decided on my way out to get some goodies to-go.  When I started to place my order at the counter, the cashier interrupted me to instruct that I "take it up with my server".  Seriously  !?  Although I explained that I was long since done eating, she insisted that my server "should take care of it".  I repeated that I was finished dining, but she wouldn't hear it.  I clarified that the bill had already been settled and she finally paused.  I waited to see if she'd concede.  After a prolonged sighed she asserted that, "for future reference" I should let my server handle my entire order.  Why?  The explanation was so that it could be on the same bill.  When I explained that I didn't want it on the same bill she considered my response, ignored me for the length of time it took her to take two telephone orders, and then filled my order wordlessly.  Phew!  For a minute there I thought I'd be going home empty handed; thank goodness she decided to do me the honor of letting me spend more money.  It was a while until I returned after this fiasco.

the best savory biscuits around: filled with cheddar Daiya & lots of roasted veggies
Last time I was there I was with a large group who inexplicably skipped dessert obviously didn't want to be part of my take-home booty, so I meekly attempted the same, separate, dine-in/take-out scenario.  No problem this time, except for that I was curtly admonished that there is a minimum credit card purchase of $15.  Now, you certainly don't have to twist my arm to add an extra cookie to the order, but give me a break; my group had just spent a mint.  And, incidentally, it is illegal for a merchant to require a minimum purchase

satisfyingly spicy chickpea fries with cooling sauce
Another time the owner unexpectedly ran over to our table right after we'd placed our order to point out that there were a number of dinner specials available.  Because the regular menu is printed on the wall and the specials menu is often nowhere to be found, I appreciated the reminder not to stick to the standard menu items; I quickly told him that I wanted to change my order to the curry dinner.  He immediately replied that the kitchen wouldn't start preparing dinner for twenty-five minutes.  Okay, I get that you have delineations between breakfast/lunch/dinner, but if it was too early to honor the dinner menu, why offer?  And, if you had already done so, wouldn't you make the concession?  I stuck with my original order and never did try that curry (but I've heard great things).

yes, a real live chocolate croissant

flaky & buttery just like you remember
The least of my complaints, but not the least odd, is the fact that once you have finished eating the staff seems to purposefully ignore you so that you have to physically (and quite dramatically) flag them down in order to formally request the check.  Now, I've had to do this at The Four Seasons, but is this really necessary at Peacefood?  It certainly doesn't add anything to the experience but frustration.

almond danish in cool, pinwheel shape
I truly enjoy the food here, but I really cannot wrap my head around the weirdness.

looking totally non-annoying from afar


  1. I totally agree with this review. I like the food, love the baked goods (strawberry shortcake!!), but hate the service!! A long time ago, shortly after they opened, I was there for dinner and at some point in the meal went to the bathroom. There I noticed that the soap in the bathroom was decidedly not vegan. I mentioned this later to my server and he asked why they would have vegan soap? I said because it is a vegan establishment. He pretty much blew my request off. I eventually had to explain to the owner why a vegan dining at a vegan restaurant would want vegan soap. I also gave him a few examples of vegan soaps that he could easily buy at places like Duane Reade. SO WEIRD! Yeah, we don't go often now... The service is weird. I totally agree.

  2. i still have never had bad service there!

  3. I'm going to have to take another look at Peacefoods. I don't eat there a lot but my daughter goes to school in the neighborhood so certainly 5 times a year. I might be getting jaded often enough with vegan dining options in non vegan places to notice merely rude or odd service.

    Marty from
    Marty's Flying Vegan Review

  4. Hi there! My name is Kristin and I'm actually the pastry chef at Peacefood Cafe. I had to comment after I saw the beautiful photographs of the croissants! I'm sooooooo glad that you like them :) After I became vegan, they were one of the pastries that I missed the most, so I had to find a way to "veganize" them. Thanks for making my day! :)

    P.S. I'm so sorry about the service. I hear that all of the time. I'm sure it is as frustrating to you as it is to me.

  5. Hi Kristin,
    Thank you for visiting my blog and a bigger THANK YOU for those awesome croissants!!!


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