Pix Portland, Or
Dessert Recommendations: Queen of Sheba Truffle Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream Moist chocolate almond cake with bittersweet chocolate center. Warm slightly for molten chocolate center.Ind. $6.5.
Drink Recommendation: Regular Latte in a regular coffee mug. Nice and creamy.
First a little background…….. Pastry chef Cheryl Wakerhauser (a.k.a. Pix), is known for her eccentric and distinctive style that intertwines flavors and textures. After a short-lived career studying to be an astronaut, Cheryl trained at the pâtisserie of MOF Philippe Urraca in Southern France. In 2001 she moved to Portland and set up shop at the Portland Farmers Market. The next year, the first Pix Pâtisserie opened its doors, bringing European flare and innovative edible art to Portland with an assortment of elegant pastries and handmade chocolates.
Pix is a dessert lovers dream. I am a dessert lover. I typically eat my dessert before my meal. I am an adult and i can do that if i want. Most of the time it looks so good i can’t wait. Pix, for me was a dream come true, until i went there. It is a quaint store front, dressed in deep red velvety wall paper, chandeliers and chrome table tops. I felt like i was transported into a cafe in Paris. The atmosphere is nice, quiet, relaxing, not intimidating at all. We are immediately drawn to the illuminating refrigerated glass case by the bar. The desserts proudly showed their colors of deep yellow, purples, pinks and dark chocolates. Desserts tied in bows, sprinkled with gold flakes, topped with ice cream. We wanted them all, but at the costly price of $5.00 to $8.00 per piece, we could only decide on one each.
So we stood there, salivating on the case. We decided and looked up to place our orders. There was no one behind the counter so we checked out the coffee selection, looking for any direction on what to do next. Who do I need to talk to to get one of those in my mouth? We stood there looking around. Soon excitement turned into frustration as three workers simply kept their heads down and kept walking past us. Finally we spoke up. Excuse me can I get……. She walked away before i could finish my sentence. maybe she didn’t see us? Maybe they thought we had been there before and knew the protocol? What was the protocol? Another server walked by, trying not to make eye contact. Excuse me….. She piped up and said once you have made up your minds, you can find a seat and we will be right out. O.k. We were siked. Yummy desserts and creamy coffee was on its way. Just find a seat and she would be right out. We sat at a table outside. It was a beautiful day. There wasn’t that many customers, we figured she would be right out to us. A different employee came out and plopped 3 glasses of water in the middle of the table; nearly spilling them. I said, “we know what we want. Whenever you are ready.” She replied in a monotone, unenthusiastic voice that another person would be out to take our orders and walked away. I started to feel as if we were more of a bother than a valued customer. I almost felt like they didn’t want our business. Maybe if i gave her a brief synopsis on the way economics worked, she would be happier that we were there. It had been at least 25 minutes since the time we walked in the door till finally the waitress came to our table to take our order.
We ordered the Tarte au Citron, A French classic-luscious lemon curd in a crisp, buttery pâté sucrée shell.Ind. $4.25. The Amélie Orange vanilla crème brûlée sits atop a glazed chocolate mousse with caramelized hazelnuts, praline crisp, and Cointreau génoise.Ind. $6.5 and Incognito Cheesecake gone wild! Lemon mousse, cheesecake, ginger streusel, raspberries and candied lemon.Ind. $6.5, 1 coffee and 2 Hazelnut Lattes. This is their house specialty, they infuse the hazelnut in with the chocolate. We were getting excited again. Amazing desserts were definitely in our future. 15 minutes later our coffees came out. How long does it take to make 2 lattes and a coffee? none the less, the server did make an excellent presentation placing the cream and sugar in the middle of the table. One napkin to the right of each of us, then placing a fork and a spoon on top of that, then our lattes were placed in front of us. They were too rich, served in a Chimay beer glass (similar to a wine glass, but bigger and thicker). I don’t know if this is how they usually serve hot drinks or they were out of coffee mugs, but the glass was too hot to hold on to and it was too full to hold it by the stem. Poor choice in glassware. It made for a very unpleasant drinking experience. By the time our desserts came out the coffee and lattes were cold. There was no presentation in telling us which dessert was which. No suggestion on how to approach these delectables. Nothing. She basically threw them down and walked away.
Half way threw our pleasurable dessert experience, the waitress does a run by. You know, walk by real fast, throwing the check on the table and speeding off before we could ask for anything else. So there we sit, half finished with our desserts, my friend wanted another coffee and we could have used a few more napkins. But this waitress did not care about any of that. I have been in the service industry all my life. Rule 1 you never even think about throwing down the check until you are absolutely sure that your customers would like to leave. The longer they stay, the more they are likely to purchase, thus increasing your overall check and your tip. So instead of getting another coffee, maybe one more dessert, we had to stop eating, rummage through our purses to pay the check. This is by far is one of the rudest things you can do as a server. You are basically telling your customer that you do not want them to be there anymore.
We were so annoyed with Pix’s service that we finished our desserts and cold coffee, paid the tab and left. We spent a total of 2 1/2 hours on dessert and coffee. 45 mins was actually spent on eating. Pix is a typical chef owned restaurant. Amazing food but really lacking in the front of the house. It is expensive. The food and atmosphere is really nice. Service needs a lot of work, but overall if you have a few hours and money to burn, then by all means Pix is your place. Enjoy dessert lovers!
(This review was taken from LeLa’s Blog ‘The Sassy Server’ 2007)