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San Diego Wedding Caterers and Bakeries

skigyrl177 Apr 12, 2010 04:03 PM

I am searching for a caterer and bakery in San Diego for my wedding next year and I'm having a tough time sifting through all the possibilities out there. It's been difficult to find reviews on sites other than wedding sites. I'd like feedback that is more focused on the food, so I've come here for help.

So far, here are the ones that I've contacted. I realize that these vary quite a bit in price, but these were the ones rated highest on some of the wedding sites.

Caterers
Waters Catering
Pear Trees Catering
Indulge Contemporary Catering
The French Gourmet

Bakeries
Sweet Cheeks Baking
Sumi's Oven
Crumbs of Paris
Michele Coulon
M&M Patisserie
The French Gourmet

Any feedback would be much appreciated.

Thank you!!!!

-----
French Gourmet
960 Turquoise St, San Diego, CA 92109

  1. s
    smile81 Apr 12, 2010 04:56 PM

    I used carriage trade catering and got tons of compliments. we had a california beach bbq theme and they managed to make it upscale to fit our location. also, the manager is a pleasure to work with and can customize each dish to your likings.
    for my cake, i used twiggs bakery and loved their work! cake actually tasted delicious-i would highly recommend checking them out. they were our first and only tasting because of how impressed we were right away.

    1. r
      RebJaeBoe Apr 12, 2010 05:05 PM

      I was married last summer and we used VG Donuts in Cardiff for our wedding cake. No kidding! I was high skeptical but they totally delivered! We got a lot of compliments on our cake - three tiered chocolate and raspberry for one layer and two layers of banana cake with buttercream frosting. Our design was very simple and it looked perfect for us. Another plus was the price it was under $300.

      Not too sure about caterers, we were married at our golf club and they took care of that part.

      Good luck!

      2 Replies
      1. re: RebJaeBoe
        skigyrl177 Apr 13, 2010 09:20 AM

        Thanks! I have seen VG Donuts mentioned before and the name just put me off right away. But $300 is a great deal.

        1. re: RebJaeBoe
          d
          dairy_queen Apr 23, 2010 01:46 PM

          I second VG Donuts for wedding cakes.

        2. t
          The Office Goat Apr 12, 2010 05:08 PM

          We used Flour Power for our cakes (we chose an assortment of flavors). Our only complaint was that our guests ate them all up ('cept for the top, of course) before we got to try any but the first slice we were served. ;-)

          The top (which we froze) was still delicious after a year.

          11 Replies
          1. re: The Office Goat
            phee Apr 12, 2010 05:28 PM

            2nd Flour Power. Their cakes are both beautiful and delicious! We had a three-tiered cake for the reception we threw for my son and his wife, and we received many compliments on the cake. I joined them for the tasting when they were deciding what they wanted, and how they could ever choose just three flavours is beyond me.

            1. re: phee
              j
              JRSD Apr 12, 2010 06:02 PM

              I just received a birthday cake from Flour Power that was a delicious chocolate mousse cake. They have expanded their operation on Fletcher Pkwy in El Cajon to have retail and wedding business.

              1. re: phee
                t
                The Office Goat Apr 12, 2010 08:51 PM

                LOL. When my wife and I did the tasting, we couldn't decide, either (hence the assortment at our wedding), and there wasn't a crumb left of any of the sample tasting slices (hence the screen name).

                1. re: The Office Goat
                  skigyrl177 Apr 13, 2010 09:23 AM

                  I guess I'm going to have to check out Flour Power out for a tasting. I just looked at the flavors on their site. Looks yummy!

                  1. re: skigyrl177
                    Josh Apr 14, 2010 10:58 AM

                    I must have defective tastebuds, because my wife and I did a tasting at Flour Power and we were really unimpressed. One of their cakes was decent (red velvet), but the others didn't do it for us at all. I'm not a fan of shortening in buttercream icing, it has a greasy mouthfeel to me, but that's what they use on their wedding cakes. The fruit fillings all had an unpleasant artificial quality about them. The experience was kind of a let-down, since we'd heard so many raves.

                    We did cupcakes for our wedding, and we were also bugged by Flour Power's higher cupcake price for weddings. Buying a cupcake at their bakery costs somewhere around $1.50/ea., but for a wedding they wanted about $3.00/ea., if I recall correctly.

                    We wound up going with Eclipse Chocolatier, where we got a great deal on their cupcakes. We actually got a discount on their regular price because of how many we bought, and our guests really liked them. Their chocolate cake batter uses creme fraiche, which makes it quite moist, and the unusual fillings were a hit - though we did opt for the less unusual fillings they offer.

                    1. re: Josh
                      skigyrl177 Apr 14, 2010 11:37 AM

                      Thanks for the info Josh. I'm not really a fan of shortening either, but understand why bakers use it. Artificial fruit filling flavors definitely are a put off. I'd want fresh.

                      No one has any opinions on Sweet Cheeks?

                      1. re: skigyrl177
                        Josh Apr 14, 2010 12:15 PM

                        To be clear, I don't think Flour Power uses artificial flavorings. I certainly don't want to slander them. They have a very good reputation and a lot of people like their stuff. To me, the way the fruit options tasted was just off-putting. Since you have a year, you probably ought to try them anyway and draw your own conclusions.

                        1. re: Josh
                          j
                          jennywenny Apr 16, 2010 08:06 PM

                          I agree, I'm really not a fan of flour power, I had some of their cake recently at a work function and I ended up throwing it away(unusual for me!!). Really not my thing. But they are definitely well liked. I find the shortening frosting and mix cakes not to my taste.

                          I was under the impression opera were planning to expand into wedding cakes, which would be interesting.

                          French Gourmet did my wedding cake, I was very happy with them.

                          Another alternative if you have money to burn is Michele Coulon. mmmmm

                          -----
                          French Gourmet
                          960 Turquoise St, San Diego, CA 92109

                          1. re: jennywenny
                            skigyrl177 Apr 20, 2010 10:07 AM

                            Thanks Jenny. I'm actually the one who had e-mailed you last week about you doing my cake. =)

                            I did try to make an appointment with Flour Power, but they don't take reservations more than 6 months before your wedding. I'm doing my cake tastings more than 6 months before my wedding since my parents will be in town, so I guess I'm not going ot Flour Power.

                            1. re: skigyrl177
                              c
                              Cathy Apr 20, 2010 10:23 AM

                              You can walk into Flour Power in El Cajon to have some of their baked goods- it used to be a Winchell's donut shop and I have had a cup of coffee and slice of cake there on more than one occasion.

                              I think the 6 month policy is because of price quotes more than anything. Also, if they still aren't charging for tastings (they didn't at the old location in El Cajon, before La Jolla also became a location), they don't want people coming in for a free snack saying they'll place an order in a year...

                              The cakes are very very good.

                      2. re: Josh
                        skigyrl177 Apr 14, 2010 11:41 AM

                        Thanks for providing another opinion.

                        Has anyone had experience with Sweet Cheeks?

              2. j
                jturtle Apr 12, 2010 05:45 PM

                I am also searching for a wedding caterer. As food is very important to us I am seeking tasty food that is sustainable as well. I know that Super Cocina can accomodate us, which we will probably use for the rehearsal but am looking for something a bit more formal for the reception.

                -----
                Super Cocina
                3627 University Ave., San Diego, CA 92104

                2 Replies
                1. re: jturtle
                  Captain Jack Apr 12, 2010 05:54 PM

                  Classic, SC for the rehearsal dinner. If I bring a sweet gift, can I come?

                  1. re: Captain Jack
                    skigyrl177 Apr 13, 2010 09:26 AM

                    Does Super Cocina have a website? I'm not sure what I'm going to do for a rehearsal dinner yet either.

                    -----
                    Super Cocina
                    3627 University Ave., San Diego, CA 92104

                2. foodiechick Apr 12, 2010 06:07 PM

                  Highly recommend Waters for both their food and its sourcing. Have had wonderful cakes from Flour Power. We went with the strawberry/marzipan confection "strawberry bagatelle" cake from The French Gourmet for our coronation of a wedding. Still one of my favorite deserts!

                  -----
                  French Gourmet
                  960 Turquoise St, San Diego, CA 92109

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: foodiechick
                    d
                    DougOLis Apr 12, 2010 07:28 PM

                    2nd Waters. Andrew Spurgin seems to make a great effort into sourcing sustainable ingredients and serving interesting dishes. I've been very pleased with his offerings at any events he's cooked at.

                    1. re: DougOLis
                      skigyrl177 Apr 13, 2010 09:28 AM

                      And not surprising...they're the most expensive quote I got.

                      1. re: skigyrl177
                        j
                        jturtle Apr 22, 2010 08:25 PM

                        I sent them an email request a week ago and have yet to hear back...is this normal? Did you call them?

                        1. re: jturtle
                          skigyrl177 Apr 23, 2010 10:08 AM

                          They were a little slow to respond compared to the other caterers I've e-mailed. But they called me back eventually and were the most thorough in learning about us as a couple before making a proposal. I did find I had to bug them a bit. Give it a little time then send them another e-mail.

                          Who else are you talking to?

                          1. re: skigyrl177
                            j
                            jturtle Apr 23, 2010 10:42 AM

                            Chile Co as they seem to emphasize sustainability, Cafe Chloe, and Crown Point but am open to suggestions. And good to know that about Waters thanks!

                            -----
                            Cafe Chloe
                            721 9th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101

                            1. re: jturtle
                              skigyrl177 Apr 23, 2010 11:20 AM

                              When / where are you getting married? We should compare notes.

                              I've scheduled the following for tastings next month. Listed from least $ to most $. I used chow recommendations and weddingwire.com.

                              Indulge Contemporary Catering
                              Pear Trees
                              French Gourmet
                              Waters

                              -----
                              French Gourmet
                              960 Turquoise St, San Diego, CA 92109

                  2. b
                    Beach Chick Apr 13, 2010 09:46 AM

                    Waters Catering is top notch along with Flour Power and European Cake Gallery in OB..one of the most respected around..Michele Coulon is quite good too.
                    I had a destination wedding in Moorea and Kauai so I didn't get to use them but friends have and loved the 5* service.
                    Congrat's to you!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Beach Chick
                      b
                      Beach Chick Apr 14, 2010 12:50 PM

                      They are known for their Swiss Black Forest Cake..

                      www.europeancakegallery.com

                    2. m
                      mikec Apr 13, 2010 02:04 PM

                      Some friends just used: http://sandiegocake.com/ for their wedding. They have a booth at the Hillcrest Farmer's Market on Sundays.

                      -----
                      Hillcrest Farmer's Market
                      San Diego CA, San Diego, CA

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: mikec
                        skigyrl177 Apr 14, 2010 11:39 AM

                        Wow. Their website makes me drool. Thanks!

                      2. e
                        Ewilensky Apr 14, 2010 12:39 PM

                        Congrats! We used Proof of the Pudding / Euro Pastry and people raved about it. Only had a bite on the actual wedding but a year later it was excellent...

                        http://www.eurochocolatefountain.com/...

                        1. a
                          aloha925 Apr 14, 2010 12:52 PM

                          We're using CAKE, located in south Mission Hills, for our upcoming wedding. The tastings were a bit unconventional (we had to go back twice because they didn't have all the flavors we wanted to try available on the day of our tasting), but the cake was moist and delicious, and importantly fondant free! Great flavor choices like banana truffle (banana cake with chocolate truffle icing) and almond with fresh berries. The almond cake was a bit sweet for my fiance, who is not a sweets person, but I loved it. I was told that they use almond flour to intensify the almond flavor.

                          www.fabcakes.com

                          1. l
                            LauraChristin Apr 17, 2010 10:11 AM

                            Skigyrl,
                            I *ADORE* Sweet Cheeks Baking Company. I highly recommend you check them out. Their cakes are always fresh. They use natural and organic ingredients. And their creativity is endless. I am a wedding photographer and have seen (and eaten) a LOT of cake in my day.. like pretty much every Saturday Spring through fall. :) In my opinion theirs is by far the best. I never liked fondant because of how chewy it was until I tried theirs.. turns out it isn't supposed to be chewy ;) They are hands down the company that I will choose when I get married. And I buy specialty cakes from them when the need arises. They also treat you like family when you work with them which is important to me as well. They care a lot about what they do. Schedule a tasting!!!

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: LauraChristin
                              skigyrl177 Apr 20, 2010 10:09 AM

                              Thanks Laura. I've made an appointment.

                              1. re: skigyrl177
                                l
                                LauraChristin Apr 20, 2010 06:15 PM

                                Yay! You will love them. You're welcome. :)

                            2. p
                              plantman Apr 20, 2010 06:43 PM

                              I have worked a few events for Continental Catering based in La Mesa and can vouch for their quality...a first rate organization capable of any level of service and food you you could want..

                              1. e
                                eastcoastgirl_28 Apr 22, 2010 08:12 PM

                                We got our wedding cake from Michele Coulon...and it was AMAZING!!! Her cakes are not inexpensive but well worth it. I think we tasted 6 or 8 cakes (free of charge; big slices and she wraps up the lefovers for you to take home!) at our tasting and she said she could give us more to choose from if we didn't find something we liked. We found too many! We ended up combining 3 different cakes and she was FINE with that.

                                I recently tasted cakes at Flour Power and was NOT impressed. Unfortunately someone else is buying the cake so we had to go with them. I personally, would NEVER buy a cake from them.

                                Good luck!

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: eastcoastgirl_28
                                  Josh Apr 22, 2010 08:44 PM

                                  Glad to hear we weren't alone.

                                  1. re: Josh
                                    skigyrl177 Apr 23, 2010 10:09 AM

                                    Thanks for the feedback. I do want to try Michele Coulon as I value all of the opinions here at chow. But starting at $8 a slice scares me. =) We shall see though. I'm starting off with French Gourmet and Sweet Cheeks and we'll go from there.

                                    -----
                                    French Gourmet
                                    960 Turquoise St, San Diego, CA 92109

                                2. c
                                  cubano Apr 23, 2010 10:47 AM

                                  Waters Catering is expensive, but they're top notch, from the sourcing of their ingredients, to their preparations, to their professionalism. We used them to cater a 85th birthday party for my mother-in-law, and they were quick to set up camp early, handle unexpected emergencies on the fly, and deliver the goods as promised.

                                  1. j
                                    jweg Apr 24, 2010 08:46 PM

                                    Water's catered my wedding in 2008 which was held at the Quail Botanic Garden in Encinitas. They were wonderful and easy to work with. The food was excellent. Our guests had seconds and thirds of the entrees! I have never tasted a good wedding cake so I asked Water's to make cupcakes instead. They made 5 different kinds that were also a huge hit. We also had passed desserts like little lemon bars, etc. We received mucho mucho compliments and it was well worth the money.

                                    1. skigyrl177 May 19, 2010 02:36 PM

                                      I just got back from my first tasting trip to SD. Here are some notes.

                                      French Gourmet
                                      Quality of ingredients was good. All of the proteins were cooked well. Seasoning was off though. A lot of the stuff was too salty. And the sauces were nice but too heavy for my taste. But that's not their fault. They are going through some legal issues with immigration which is a concern for me. But Edith was very fun to talk to and I imagine would be great to work with. And they own their own rentals which would make life easier.

                                      Waters Catering
                                      A true tasting is $100/head if you don't sign a contract with them. So they do some complimentary foods from their To-Go shop which was very good. I have no doubt that the food would be very good, but somehow, I felt like the experience lacked personality. They include a coordination fee which I'm not sure I understand completely, so I will be clarifying that with them. Not sure if I'll be going back for the $100/person chef's tasting.

                                      Sweet Cheeks
                                      Picked up some samples for tasting. They give you pieces of cake with little containers of fillings and butter cream. A little unconventional, but I thought it sounded like a good idea. It really wasn't. It ended up being a lot harder and more complicated than I thought it would be. So I was underwhelmed. Not sure if I'll be going back to try more.

                                      Indulge Contemporary Catering
                                      Food was very good. My concerns...They don't cook what they don't need to on site. You get charged for more than 5 hours for an event. You get charged a cake cutting fee if you don't work with their recommended baker. But they have their own rentals. And she did want to work with me on making deals for certain items, like chargers and napkin rings and chairs, which I liked. Food impression was very good, but left feeling like I was getting too much of a Sales pitch.

                                      Michele Coulon
                                      - Wasn't planning on going here, but had some time so stopped by. She was very nice and recommended additional caterers. And gave me a slice of cake that was SO GOOD!!! I don't know if I'll find anything else that compares to her cake.

                                      Places I'm going to check out next; Crown Point and Coast Catering.

                                      -----
                                      French Gourmet
                                      960 Turquoise St, San Diego, CA 92109

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: skigyrl177
                                        f
                                        foodie bride May 19, 2010 03:58 PM

                                        I'd like to add my support for CAKE in Mission Hills, which aloha925 mentioned above. We used them for our wedding in November, and people LOVED their cake. Lots of rave reviews on the big day. I loved that they don't use fondant and make buttercream look just as beautiful. We couldn't decide between two flavors, so we ended up doing both and there was no extra cost. And all in all, I thought that the pricing was very reasonable, especially when you see all the places that are charging $8 or even $12 a slice. I can't remember exactly what we paid now, but it was definitely less than $8.

                                        I blogged a lot of my wedding, so you can see and read about our cake from CAKE:
                                        http://fightthefondant.blogspot.com

                                        1. re: foodie bride
                                          skigyrl177 May 19, 2010 04:36 PM

                                          foodie bride,
                                          I think I've been on your blog before when I was searching for a venue. Thanks for the recommendation for cakes. You ended up at a restaurant, right? So you wouldn't have any recommendations for caterers?
                                          Thanks.

                                          1. re: skigyrl177
                                            f
                                            foodie bride May 21, 2010 11:08 AM

                                            ah, sadly no catering recs. i knew i wanted to use a restaurant because i'd know the quality of the food would be good, and the whole venue fee + outside caterer + rentals for said venue concept really bothered me. for what i paid to rent out a restaurant for the afternoon, i could NEVER have had that extensive of a menu at a venue where i was paying $2,000 just to use their room, plus pay another $1,000 on tables and chairs and linens. with a restaurant, it's all already there! and you can use the ambience/decor of the restaurant and build off of that. saves you a bunch on decorations, too.

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