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Cream puff, Pumpkin cheese muffin, Apple and almond tart

Sweet Retreat

Angel’s Bakery and Café has the treats in downtown Santa Fe

January 25, 2017, 12:00 am

Technically this is a breakfast and lunch place that also has baked goods, but on our first visit to Angel’s Bakery and Café, the sweet stuff definitely outshone the savory.

Angel’s occupies the ground floor of the building that used to house that sports bar, The Catamount. Inside it’s cheery, with yellow walls, bright white woodwork and a set of glowing bakery cases. On the gray day we were there, the place was empty aside from a young couple eating breakfast at the table behind us. I looked at my watch. It was noon. Had they been up all night together? I hoped so. Ah, youth!

The lunch menu includes some standard salads (Caesar, Greek, Cobb, tuna and an Italian-accented chicken caprice, $10.95-$12.95), along with several wraps, familiar-looking sandwiches plus quesadillas, enchiladas and fish tacos. There’s nothing wildly weird on the menu, although I was intrigued by the Hawaiian chicken sandwich ($12.95). Chicken, ham, pineapple, mozzarella and Thousand Island dressing. Crazy? Or crazy-good? Hard to tell.

You may think restaurant reviewing is all red carpets, champagne and caviar, but if I’m doing it right I have pretty much exactly the same experiences as you, except that I have to write about them later. For me the math works out to about 70 percent meals that are perfectly fine, 25 percent meals that are somewhere between meh, bleh and GAH, and maybe 5 percent that are mind-blowingly delicious. I’m not good at statistics, but my gut told me the Thousand Island dressing would drag down odds on that sandwich. So I settled on the fish tacos ($13.95), which I thought had a high probability of being both relatively healthy and tasty.

They were fine, filled with nice grilled fish and accompanied by a perfectly respectable medium-hot red salsa. I appreciated what appeared to be a garnish of pickled onions. The corn tortillas were soft and pliable but the filling was so wet that by the time I got to the second one it had a blow out. Messy. Plus they were stuffed full of some kind of spring mix heavy on the feathery stuff, mizuna or escarole, and it was distracting in its quantity and texture.

The tacos came with perfectly cooked Spanish rice: fluffy individual grains, each just as tender as they should be. The black beans were well-seasoned, al dente and topped with a pleasant sprinkle of shredded cheese.

My buddy got a green chile cheeseburger ($10.95-$12.95)—he usually gets a burger—which was pretty meh. The meat was cooked brown all the way through and tasted dry. The chile, on the other hand, was fantastic. Very “roasty” and full of flavor but not searing-hot.

The fries were GAH. You know how sometimes you dig around in the back of the freezer and you’re all, “Oh hey! There’s an open bag of Ore-Ida crinkle-cut fries in here!” But after you cook them you’re all [sad trombone] “Wah-wah?” Angel’s fries tasted like they came from an open bag of fries that had been lost in the back of the freezer for 14 months. Total bummer.

However, the highlight here were the sweets we took back to the office. The pumpkin cheese muffin ($3) was very good. Baked with a dollop of cream cheese on top, the muffin was huge and delightfully pumpkin-y. Everyone at the office agreed they wanted more of the cheesy stuff inside.

An apple and almond tart ($4.35) was sinfully good with thin slices of apple and crumbles of sliced almond sat on top of an almond paste filling and a rich crust. I think I might have gotten a cavity from that one. It disappeared quickly.

The cream puff ($4), however, was disappointing. The dough was good and the chocolate glaze had an addictive saltiness, but the filling was—I swear to god—unflavored whipped Crisco. White as snow. Tasted like if it melted it might double as an industrial lubricant, which was such an unpleasant surprise when we expected something like pastry cream.

So if you’re wandering down Water Street and feeling a little peckish, Angel’s not a bad spot to pop in for a coffee and a muffin. Try the pumpkin cheese.



Angel’s Bakery and Café
At a Glance
8 am-3 pm daily, except Tuesday
125 E Water St., 820-0915
Best Bet:
Pumpkin cheese muffin
Don’t Miss:
Apple and almond tart


 

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