One of The Clog‘s editors said: “Let’s do a cafe crawl around campus.” I happened to have tried almost everything at UCafe and been going there forever these days, so I took up that part of the crawl. I sent a 466-word essay to the editor, right before I saw her email from 5 minutes earlier: “hey guys, cuz we’ll do 5 cafes total, let’s make it 100-150 words each”. Haha oops. Cutting time. Here’s the finished product.
Here’s my original 466 words. With pictures. 😉
“Since its grand opening last fall, UCafe on the South side has proved to be a reliable supplier of the Spanish bun (ham, cheese and sausage in a roll), the perfect $1.95 filler for those 10 minutes between classes.
It takes 1 minute to walk from Hearst Gym to UCafe, which is next to the post office at the Durant-Bowditch corner (yes, the post office with the most terrible customer service ever!). In UCafe, most of the pastries are placed in glass cabinets, you walk in, grab a tray at the front, a sheet of bakery paper and a pair of tongs, and start choosing. Even during the lunch rush, it doesn’t take more than 5 minutes to walk in and out of UCafe with your lunch if you already know what you want from the cabinets. If you have more time, a banh mi is worth the wait, and watching the kitchen staff rolling the dough into batches of ready-to-bake sausage rolls or the pâté getting spread inside your sandwich makes time go by faster.
For the moment, only two kinds of banh mi are available: cold cuts ($3.25) and grilled pork ($2.75). However, the pastry selection is huge: several kinds of bread loaves, savory buns with sausage, beef, pork and chicken fillings, sweet buns with bean paste, berry and pineapple fillings, mooncakes, shortcakes, cookies, chocolate-muffin-like “butter bread”, etc. They also have a colorful assortment of macaroons, $1.25 each and “buy 4 get 1 free”.
The cabinet pastries are all under $3, the mini cakes and regular-size drinks are under $4. One time they only accepted credit card for purchase over $15, I struggled to get up to $14.95 and the guy took pity on me and swiped my card anyway. Thank goodness they have no credit card limit now.
Of course, you get what you pay for. Their cakes tend to be too sweet, the macaroons don’t appear with the best texture, and the banh mi is not made with the correct type of airy, scrumptious Vietnamese bread it’s supposed to be. But the overall taste is satisfactory, at least with the savory sausage buns.
To sum it up, UCafe is not a café where you sit and study while stylishly savoring your croissant with a cup of latte-art cappuccino. You can’t meet someone there for coffee either. But from there you can pick up a satisfying 2-minute lunch to go. It’s honest and no frills.”
2550 Durant Ave (between Bowditch St & Telegraph Ave)
Berkeley, CA 94704