This week, I had a vision — an epiphany, if you will. As a major procrastinator, I find that when I put things off for a long enough time, eventually, the answer will just hit me. So, when my parents (who were in town this week) were already driving over from their hotel to pick me up for lunch and I hadn’t even picked a place yet, I did what I do best. I panicked. And, in that moment, it came to me — a vision of pure comfort.
Cushy seating. Cozy atmosphere. The smell of fresh baked goods wafting all around. Weird indie music I’ve never heard of. This week, I wanted to find the perfect cozy cafe. And yes, I know this excludes Yummy Garden part II. You’ll all just have to wait on that one; it’ll hit ya when you least expect it. Or next week, maybe next week. But, maybe not…
The top contender for my cozy cafe craze was Founders Cafe, set inside the gorgeous, stone, church-looking Academy Building in downtown Rochester. Walking up to this place makes you feel super fancy because you get to enter this luxurious, historic-looking building in order to reach the cafe just inside.
I have to note though that, especially after experiencing the grandeur of the Academy Building, I was not all too impressed with the interior of Founders Cafe. While there is a gorgeous, bright mural on one of the walls, the overall atmosphere and décor did not lend themselves to that really comfortable vibe I was searching for.
The food also seemed to follow this theme of “nice, but not too impressive.” With regards to the multitude of dishes we ordered, a pattern seemed to be established in which I found the textures very nice, but flavors usually lacking quite a bit. This was especially apparent in the pastries that I tasted and the quiche.
In terms of pastries, I was very excited to try the apple cream cheese Bundt cake and the peach muffin. Both had lovely textures and were very moist and rich, but I found the flavors of the fruits to be near nonexistent. Both had some visible chunks of fruit baked in and the flavor was lovely if you got a bite of the fruit, but those bites were quite rare. Both of these fruity pastries needed quite a bit more of their respective fruits in order to fit the bill.
The Bundt cake did have a really nice thick swirl of cream cheese running through the middle, which was lovely. But I was quite put off by another ingredient. Though it was not advertised anywhere, the Bundt cake had chunks of walnut baked in it. Though I personally enjoyed the texture from this, I am super against including ingredients that are not listed anywhere. Besides the fact that some people may just not like said ingredient and would want to order something else, it’s a big risk for allergens, especially with nuts. So, I was pretty bothered by that.
The quiche, again, was pleasant enough, but just not surprising or impressive. I ordered the quiche of the day, a roasted vegetable and provolone quiche. The texture was nice and fluffy and there was a good crumble to the pastry crust, but everything was completely bland. It was odd because I could see all of the vegetables baked into the quiche, yet I tasted nothing. No vegetable flavor, no seasoning, and definitely not even a hint of that mysterious provolone.
Now to speak of my parents’ dishes — which I obviously snatched some bites of. I tested out the squash soup and the chicken caprese panini. I did find these two to be a bit better off in the flavor department than my other selections. The squash soup was thick and creamy and had a really nice flavor combination of both squash and spices.
The chicken caprese panini was the lesser of these two in terms of flavor. Once again, I just wanted more punch. The individual flavors of each of the elements of the panini was nice, but not everything should be quite so delicate when in combination. However, once again, high marks for texture. The chicken inside was beautifully moist and the panini bread was wonderfully toasted to a perfect crisp.
Overall, I’d say Founders Cafe is a decent place for a quick bite, drink, or pastry if you’re already in the area, but I don’t think it’s worth going out of your way for. None of the food tasted unpleasant in any way, it was all perfectly fine. But fine doesn’t quite cut it in my book. I’m definitely still on the hunt for that perfect cozy cafe. Perhaps cozy cafe testing will have to get a second week, just like Yummy Garden…TBD.