#274: Rose Café & Bagel

9:20AM 4/9/2022

https://www.rosecafeandbagel.com/

This morning I headed out to far West Roseville to check out this little bagel spot for breakfast. Rose Café & Bagel is tucked just into the edge of the suburban sprawl on Baseline right in-between Junction and Fiddyment. It’s not easy to miss. The several buildings in this little complex are all painted bright barn-red and across the street is a tall radio tower. According to one of the employees both the large daycare center and the Cafe have the same owner. Perhaps they own all three buildings, given their shared aesthetic.

They make all their bagels in house each day and have a variety to choose from. In addition to your typical bagels with spreads they also have breakfast bagel sandwiches and hot or cold bagel sandwiches for lunch. They also have a full menu of coffee drinks.

Now I’m a bit out of my element here. About the only time I ever eat bagels is when they are brought to work or the couple times I visited NYC. Adding to that I’m not much of a coffee drinker beyond my morning cup of basic drip coffee I make at home in the morning. I decided to grab a Mocha and one of the breakfast sandwiches.

The cafe has a nice bright interior with a medium-sized dining area. They have a nice patio that I would have used if it weren’t so gusty out. My attention was immediately drawn to the ceiling, which was laced with loads of tiny string lights. It must look very cool in the winter when less light is blasting in through the windows in the morning. Behind the counter were about 4-6 people and I was greeted as soon as I had stepped inside. I took a minute to go over the sandwiches and picked out the Southwest (Egg, Ham, Havarti Cheese, Tomato, Spinach, Avocado)[$8.95]. “Sandwiches come with a sourdough based plain bagel”. I went with the large for my Mocha [$5.50].

Just before I had left the counter a barista started working on my mocha and asked if I wanted it “kinda sweet” or “sweet”. I thought for a second and the few white mochas I’ve had from La Bou and Starbucks and how I think they are way too sweet but usually forget since I get them so infrequently and went with kinda sweet. It ended up being a pretty good choice, and I was glad he asked.

Within about five minutes he brought my drink out and the sandwich was delivered a minute or so later. I was mildly disappointed in the to-go presentation of the mocha, not very photo friendly, but oh well. Taking the lid off revealed the optional whipped cream and a drizzle of chocolate. The drink was hot, but not too hot to enjoy right away. It was very chocolatey and fairly sweet without being too sweet. Not too shabby, though I have little to compare it with.

My sandwich was neatly prepared and wrapped. I think they forgot the avocado, despite the obvious avocado-like green stain in the cross-section of the bagel where it was sliced. I assume that must have come from the spinach, because I remember no avocados. The sandwich was very light and simple. There was not a huge amount of any particular ingredient, so the bagel itself dominated the flavor overall. It was a good bagel though, toasted just right and soft within. I did hope for a more substantial sandwich, but having a relatively light breakfast ended up being good and gave me just the right amount of energy to go tackle all the weekend chores before noon.

Like I said, I’m not much of a bagel/coffee guy, so it’s hard for me to get super excited for this place. The staff was incredibly friendly and efficient and I liked the general feel for the place. I think a 3.5/5 is a reasonably fair score here. One of their lunch sandos could be something to bring me back some day. Carnitas and Caprese options both caught my eye…

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#242: Cheese Louise

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This post has been a long, long time in the making.  I originally heard about Cheese Louise over two years ago, in a Sac Biz Journal article from March 2013.  It was not that long prior that Extreme Java Jungle Cafe closed it’s doors.  However, they seemed to be joining forces and planned to share the space across from the Post Office on Vernon St.  Months went by with no update or observable progress. Meanwhile, the only other Cheese Louise, located in Downtown Sac, shut down.

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Eventually, Java Jungle posted a message on Facebook saying that they were not going to reopen with Cheese Louise because it was not working out between them.  It seemed that Cheese Louise would go it on it’s own.  At least another year passed with the “coming soon” sign in the window, yet nothing changed.  I gave up on it quite a long time ago, but at the beginning of this year, out of the blue, they actually opened!  However, it was with a big caveat, they didn’t have a food menu yet.  It was basically just a coffee shop with pastries as far as I could tell.  That went on for about 5 months I think.  Only very recently have they started serving food.  And with that, I finally visit this gourmet grilled cheese shop.

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I headed in for lunch yesterday right at noon.  There were only a few other customers in at the time.  The space felt wide open.  When Java Jungle was here, it was a maze of funky and mismatched furniture.  It’s much more uniform now, but feels a bit sterile and much, much less cozy (save for a couple of couches).  The fireplace that sits in the center of the right side of the dining room feels out of place now, without some armchairs to enjoy it in.

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As I waited in line I glanced over 2 of the 3 blackboard menus they had hanging over the counter.  The first listed some coffee beverages, the 2nd some sandwiches, and the 3rd was blank.  There were no descriptions so it was kind of difficult to figure out what to get.  Once I was next in line though, I could see a very rough photocopied paper menu that detailed the sandwiches better.  Below is that menu.

CheeseLouisSandwichMenu

There was a little board over the the left that listed a few smoothie flavors, strawberry, mango and peach.  In a display case next to that was a variety of pastries.  I saw some brownies [$1.25] in there so I figured I’d try one of those out for dessert.  I decided on the Porkie’s Friend (pulled pork, bacon, smoked Gouda cheese and apricot BBQ sauce on a ciabatta bun)[The blackboard said $6.95 but my receipt only shows $4.95…].  With it I got a side of french fries [$1.25] and a mango smoothie [$5.95].

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My smoothie was ready a few minutes before my food, which took about 15 minutes from when I paid.  I went up to the counter to pick the smoothie up.  It was fresh and tasted great.  It wasn’t overly sweet and had just a hint of a tartness to it.  My order was brought out to me as I tasted it.  The sandwich was more like a panini and less like a grilled cheese. There was a decent amount of Gouda in it though, enough to be able to taste it’s rich, smokey flavor in every bite.  The pork was tender and mixed in well with the apricot bbq sauce.  That sauce really dominated the sandwich.  It was incredibly sweet.  Traces of bacon surfaced here and there, but it was so overwhelmed it might as well not even been there.  The BBQ sauce and Gouda were the core of this sandwich.

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The fries were soft with a lightly crisp exterior and they were generously salted.  Without the salt I would have needed some ketchup but they made due as they were.  I saw another customer walk up to the counter and get a little container of ketchup, probably for their fries.  They don’t keep anything other than napkins at the tables.

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Finally I dug into my brownie a little bit.  I was close to full so I just had a few bites.  The consistency was perfect, it was nice and soft but slightly dense.  Unfortunately it wasn’t very sweet.  Rather it was like a darker, more bitter chocolate.  Not really what I had in mind.

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So, overall kind of a weird experience.  The sandwich and smoothie were good.  I probably would have preferred the sweetness be dialed back a bit on the BBQ sauce though.  It didn’t feel like a grilled cheese to me, and I think that’s the disappointing thing about this, not to say it was bad, just not at all what I’ve had in mind for the last 2+ years when I thought about gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches coming to Roseville.  I think I’d probably just go get the amazing grilled cheese at Yard House next time I’m in the mood for one.

Website: http://www.mycheeselouise.com

#59: Extreme Java Jungle Cafe (CLOSED)

Extreme Java Jungle Cafe is a newish cafe/coffee shop on Vernon.  Just the other day there was an AmazonLocal deal for this shop which I posted to the Eating Through Roseville facebook page and also bought myself.  Normally I’m not doing coffee shops but this one seemed to have a full cafe type service.  I stopped by for an early dinner yesterday after checking the hours (I was kind of shocked to see that they are open til midnight every day).

I arrived at about 4pm and they were pretty empty, just a few people were in the dining room.  A couple were taking advantage of the WiFi with their laptops in a far corner.  The first thing that I noticed was how big the place was.  it was easily 2-3 times bigger than I would have expected for a coffee shop/cafe.  They filled it in well, not with tons of tables to pack in the customers, but with lots of big comfy chairs at most tables.  There’s a fireplace surrounded by chairs, which I assume they actually use in the winter because of the “HOT DO NOT TOUCH” sign.  The tables are all painted with various animal patterns.  An orangutan hangs from the ceiling holding an Extreme Java Jungle Cafe cup.  As big as the place is, it still has the cramped/cozy feel of a much smaller coffee shop.  Lots of novelty mugs and gift-type items are on display for purchase around the counter area.  They host lots of events which you can see on their website, like open mics, karaoke and live bands.  I spoke to a musician that said he would be playing this weekend and he told me it was really nice that the place is so large because they can accommodate 2 separate bands which may alternate and not have to break down and set up equipment in between.

I’m not much of a coffee drinker.  I probably wouldn’t know a good cup of coffee if I was drinking it.  I think the drip coffee that gets brewed in the cubical next to me at work is just fine, so I’m not going to be a great judge of how their coffee is.  That said, they seem to at least look like they know what they’re doing.  2/3 of the menu is nothing but drinks and they have a wall of coffee dispensers at one end of the counter.  Lots of syrups line the back wall and plenty of space is used for making drinks.

I took a seat near the front and logged into the WiFi for a little surfing before my food showed up, which didn’t take very long.  The potato and macaroni salad showed up first.  Turns out I got a full macaroni salad instead of the half.  Both were quite cold.  They were pretty average overall, about what you might buy at the grocery store.  It sounds like normally there is a small selection of chips but all they had this time were original Lays.

Not long after that my sandwich arrived, and looked pretty good.  All the ingredients were visible from the side and a piece of bacon was trying to make a getaway.  When I first picked it up I lost about half of the egg out the back, my fault for not getting a better grip on it.  After putting it back together I got to work eating it.  The French roll was soft and fresh, the bacon crispy and all together pretty fresh and very good.  Hard boiled eggs on a sandwich is something I don’t think I’ve had before.  They were great and there was plenty of them.  I might opt for some additional meat next time (an additional $1) because the pastrami was very light, just a thin slice or two on the top and bottom.  It’s definitely a light sandwich overall and I can easily put away a pretty heavy Beach Hut monster so if it wasn’t for the potato/macaroni salad I might have been left wanting more.

My drink selection was a Coke but I was also given the choice of iced tea.  I’m not sure how flexible they are on this since they have a ton of beverage options to choose from.  I know I will probably come back and check out the caramel apple cider at some point, hopefully we get another nice cold day before summer officially takes hold.  I completely forgot to use my AmazonLocal deal so I’ll be back for sure either way.

Website: http://www.extremejavajunglecafe.com/

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