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Less Cuban bread, higher prices at Alessi's (Tampa)

a
andy huse Jan 25, 2010 11:31 AM

First off, I think Tampa has the best Cuban bread in the state. But i have noticed a disturbing trend: Alessi's is cutting corners and raising prices. Traditionally, Cuban bread is a yard long. Alessi's loaf is half that size, if that, and it still costs $2. For that money, I'd rather go to La Segunda for better bread, or a full sized loaf from Faedo's. I'm very disappointed that Alessi's has chosen to play fast and loose with a Tampa treasure. Sorry Alessi's, but you're off my list unless i'm desperate or you respect tradition. The yard-long loaf may seem like a small distinction to some, but messing with tradition is a slipperly slope and I don't like it.

  1. rhnault Jan 25, 2010 11:59 AM

    They have been off my list for years now. I got tired of buying beautiful looking pastries and cookies and then getting them home only to have them taste like the freezer.

    8 Replies
    1. re: rhnault
      a
      andy huse Jan 25, 2010 04:11 PM

      i agree. the place has a sense of artifice to it. I hear they plan on expanding.

      1. re: rhnault
        m
        Miss E Jan 26, 2010 07:53 PM

        Hate to pile on, but Alessi's is to be avoided, IMO. I never knew it in its heyday. What I know is sickeningly sweet cakes and cupcakes that do indeed taste stale. I have tried the layer cakes, the cupcakes, the guava pastries, the rice pudding, and the flan, all thanks to a friend with a nostalgic love of the place, and let me tell you, they were all pretty bad. Even if you don't mind very sweet desserts, no one could love dry cake or hardened icing. They should be ashamed.

        And yep, they're expanding, to a location on Kennedy near Lois. Good luck, they're gonna need it. On the other hand, they're good at BOGO deals and other gimmicks to make up in volume what they lack in quality.

        1. re: Miss E
          rhnault Jan 27, 2010 04:30 AM

          When I first moved here almost 15 years ago I loved the place and would take my (then tiny) daughter for treats and family when they came from out of town.

          1. re: rhnault
            r
            RibDog Jan 27, 2010 04:32 AM

            I had been going to them back when I was at USF in the 70s and they still had the satellite operation up on Bearss Ave.

            1. re: RibDog
              rhnault Jan 27, 2010 04:35 AM

              I would say they have not been fresh and good for going on 10 years now. Maybe their prepared foods are good. I am talking strictly pastry and baked goods. Perhaps when they move they will have more counter space and less freezer space.

          2. re: Miss E
            a
            andy huse Jan 27, 2010 04:37 AM

            i just happened to stop in because i needed a loaf and it was nearby. usually it is one of the other two for me. it is still sad to see Tampa's oldest bakery stoop so low.

            1. re: andy huse
              Mild Bill Jan 27, 2010 05:33 AM

              I agree---- many times, the stuff I got looked tasty, but wasn't...

              It's a shame, 'cause it's a beehive of workers behind the scenes...
              If only they could use their powers for 'good'...

              1. re: Mild Bill
                rhnault Jan 27, 2010 06:04 AM

                Their mantra should be "just say NO, to the freezer!"

        2. r
          RibDog Jan 25, 2010 12:20 PM

          I have been getting mine from Faedo's for a number of years now. Just hard to beat.

          8 Replies
          1. re: RibDog
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            andy huse Jan 25, 2010 04:14 PM

            i once passed Faedo's and saw the "hot bread" sign. i bought a piping hot loaf and took it to my girlfriend. when i presented it to her, she seemed unimpressed until she touched it. she got out a stick of butter. we almost ate the entire loaf just standing at the counter.

            1. re: andy huse
              r
              RibDog Jan 25, 2010 06:05 PM

              Now that's what I'm talking about!

              1. re: andy huse
                rhnault Jan 26, 2010 03:49 AM

                Faedo's is the bakery across from Bungalow Bistro? Do they have other things as well or are they Cuban bread specialists?

                1. re: rhnault
                  askdrtodd Jan 26, 2010 04:58 AM

                  yeah where is Faedo's? Also you really can't beat the pastries at Pane Rustica. It's like fishing with dynamite, it's not even fair.

                  1. re: askdrtodd
                    r
                    RibDog Jan 26, 2010 05:07 AM

                    5150 North Florida Ave., Tampa

                    1. re: askdrtodd
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                      andy huse Jan 26, 2010 07:39 AM

                      Faedo's has guava turnovers and a couple other items, but it can't compare to Pane Rustica in the pastry department. But Faedo's has the "hot bread" sign, and its simple pleasures are enough for those who don't want to tangle with south Tampa and the crowded scene at PR.

                      1. re: andy huse
                        t
                        tony noriega Jan 26, 2010 03:00 PM

                        I wasn't crazy about their bread (Alessi's) even before it was downsized.....I think it requires the right ovens and baking process to turn out a good loaf, and for me, places like La Segunda and Faedo's are the places to get them. Andy you had me drooling on my keyboard when you related your hot loaf with butter experience - been there and done that more than once......it's close to nirvana!

                        1. re: tony noriega
                          r
                          RibDog Jan 26, 2010 06:14 PM

                          And with a really good butter, it only elevates it that much higher!

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