Crema, West Berkeley
I have now tried Crema, the new cafe which has taken over from Cafe Cacao in the old ScharffenBerger building on Heinz in West Berkeley, twice.
Both times I ordered a cup of Ethiopian coffee ($2.25). All their coffee is brewed to order, one cup at a time. I am not a coffee expert but I thought it was very good. It takes several minutes (5 or more) from ordering to get coffee.
Each time I tried one pastry. Last time I had a small square "french" apple tart. It was really simple and nicely done. Short crust, nicely sliced apples, no other flavors to get in the way. If I recall the bottom crust was a tiny bit soggy. I would order it again.
Today I had a lemon cupcake. It was indeed very lemony, and I liked the candied (meyer?) lemon zest on the top. It was nice that it wasn't super-sweet. But, the cake was just okay, kind of dry. The frosting was not to my taste at all - it was clearly made with powdered sugar, and the frosting was a bit sweeter than it should have been and very grainy. I definitely would have preferred a meringue-based buttercream much more. I think the cupcake suffered a bit from being so cold (it was about 40 degrees out at the time, and the cafe was pretty cool). I would not order it again at this price point ($3).
They serve breakfast and lunch Monday through Friday, along iwith counter services of coffee and pastries, and are closed on weekends.
I was the only customer at 8:30 this morning (no one was eating a seated breakfast, and no one was ordering or eating coffee or pastries). I hope business picks up!
Cafe Cacao - CLOSED
914 Heinz Ave, Berkeley, CA 94710
Looks like the Alameda store is off. I noticed that all signs were removed from the Park St. location and there's a new sign that says "For Lease". Their Facebook page says "Dear Créma Friends, due to market conditions beyond our control, we were unable to hold the lease for 1354 Park St. Please stay tuned as Crema readjusts.".
411 13th St, Oakland, CA 94612
re: Martin Strell
The update as of yesterday is that they are aiming for mid-Feb, 2011 for Alameda's opening.
I've been stopping in for a coffee and breakie on my way to work and am happy to report that they have restarted baking savory breakfast pastries: chedder and scallion muffins and pine nut and basil scones. Their cooked breakfast menu looks yummy, but it takes 5-10 min (even the oatmeal) for an order so make more time than you would for BBW's cafe. However, you can call ahead so that your order is ready when you arrive.
Their menu is on their Facebook page. I keep trying for their potato pancake breakfast, but it sounds like they're not prepped for it until ~8.30am