MIX the Bakery – Vancouver, BC

MIX the Bakery
4430 West 10th Avenue
Vancouver, BC
(604) 221-4145
Monday to Saturday 7am to 5pm; Sunday 8am to 4pm

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My neck of the woods has a few gems when it comes to simple but cozy cafés that pump out solid sandwiches. I’ve written about some of them previously: Coco et Olive, and Pane e Formaggio.

MIX the Bakery is another one that churns out not only fabulous artisan breads made fresh in-house (which can be seen from the order counter at the front of the house), but also a solid array of sweet desserts and pastries, and take home preserves that utilize wonderful BC sources (such as Fraser Valley blueberries and Okanagan peaches).  To top it off, they also have a catering service as well.  It’s a great spot for a quick lunchtime meal or takeout, and the following are my thoughts on two recent pickups there…

A hearty but incredibly satisfying part of MIX’s menu are their homemade soups.  With the weather turning for the worse as we head towards winter, I can’t think of a better way to get a meal going.  On this day, they had a trio of offerings: a pork adobo, a butternut squash, and pictured above, a corn chicken chowder.  Filled with healthy vegetables including onions, potato, celery and flavoured generously with cilantro and cumin, it was not fully creamy like a seafood chowder would be, but not totally thin and liquid-y in consistency either.  The large size take away container (three inches high, and four-and-half inches in diameter) was plenty for two.

What is dubbed the Chimayo Chicken panini (breast meat, Jack cheese, avocado, tomato, cilantro on sourdough bread) headlines the sandwich menu board and its easy to see why, as the combination of flavours works perfectly and makes for a fabulous meal.   The creaminess of the avocado spread inside works wonders in particular, melding with the delicate Jack cheese and ample slices of chicken meat inside.  Contained in a simple sourdough, well crisped under the griller, keeps things all under wraps without any unnecessary distractions in the bread.

Opened up, autopsy-style.

The Granny Gobbler contains smoked slices of turkey meat, spinach, sliced apple, cheddar cheese, and honey mustard, served on a cranberry focaccia.  First bite, this one has more impact than the Chimayo Chicken, clearly from the smoke flavour in the meat, and the richer flavour of the cheese utilized.  The sweetness of the mustard and the apple slices also amps up the taste, bringing it all nicely together.  The cranberry embedded in the focaccia is subtle and not overbearing, resulting in a strong fit as well.

The “guts” looked prettier in this one.

Not to leave out the sweets, although I’m not a huge dessert fan, here’s my thoughts on a pair of items I recently purchased from their glass counter…

For some reason, the only time I ever have Baklava is when I can find it sold at Shawarma shops.  Its this strange habit I formed at a place on 12th Ave SW in Calgary that I used to frequent.  Something about trying to tame the greasiness of a shawarma with the rich, sugar contained in this dessert piece.  When it comes to MIX’s take on it, I found it a touch on the dry side, while I like it flaky, this was perhaps too much so.  Coupled with the heavy density of the core (maybe from the cool, refrigerated case in which it was displayed?), I have to say I’ve had better elsewhere, or perhaps I’ve not had a really good one (see my a fore mentioned tendency of eating this item at odd places). 

Crème Brulee is an easy dessert to make at home, but I’ve never been much of a sweets or baker man.  So when I feel like bringing it home, its often by purchasing it at a dessert shop, thus requiring paying a deposit for the remekins and having to make the trip back to return them.  MIX’s take out option for this removes this second step, as they are contained in throwaway tin cups.   The adorned black bat was made out of plastic and just for decoration as Halloween approaches.  This dessert is not for the faint of heart, as it was very sweet and rich.  Wonderfully creamy in texture though and for me, it was gone within two minutes.  They don’t caramelize the top when you buy it (its pre-done) but that didn’t make a big difference as I was taking it home to eat anyways.

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