The experience

We decided to eat in Allen on our way to risk Cryptosporidium at the splashpark in Allen (not that there are confirmed cases from there, it’s just rampant right now in DFW). Ogre had heard of a little French restaurant in Allen so we head to Viola.

It was quaint and not too far off the beaten path. It’s yet another place with a menu up high near the ceiling. I don’t know why this annoys me as much as it does. We ask Mina what she wants for lunch and she says the Ham and Cheese Sandwich. I tell the lady the items I’ll have the Chicken Ceasar Salad Sandwich and a cup of Lobster Bisque, the Grilled Cheese Sandwich, and the Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich with Bananas. Oh, wait, did you catch that, too? Mina pats my arm and says, “Mommy, I wanted the ham and cheese sandwich.” Whoops. I change her order to the Ham and Cheese Sandwich and repeat the PB&J with bananas order. The lady on the counter looks like at me like I’m crazy. And, yes, I realize that I’m a little nuts, but I don’t want to be reminded about it, especially by someone who doesn’t know me. I raise an eyebrow. She says in a confused voice, “Uh, we don’t have bananas.” Hmmm, really, because it says right there on the menu that you can get bananas on the sandwich as a freebie. She stretches her neck to read the board. “Well, we don’t carry bananas, that’s weird, I’ve never seen that before.” Then we point out that not one, but two, of their crepe items have bananas on them. She mumbles something about how they only make crepes on the Saturdays and Sundays and her voice trails off. In my head, I’m thinking that I’ve gone into the twilight zone since it is Sunday, but instead I just tell her to forget the bananas. Ogre orders the Tomato Mozarella Sandwich and Mediterranean Salad with Proscuitto on it. “Sir, we don’t have any more Proscuitto, but you can have bacon on it instead.” Ogre is more laid back than I am and while I’m rolling my eyes he just shrugs and says, “Sure.”

We sit down and clip on Benjamin’s chair to the precariously light-weight table. I make Ogre sit across from him so that he has some counterweight and we get our food. Now, I’m already obviously not enjoying my restaurant experience, but when the food comes I am pleasantly surprised by the Lobster Bisque. I put a few pieces of lettuce on Mina’s plate, which she ate with ABSOLUTELY NO PROBLEM (probably because of last night’s issues with dinner and at home -you can read about it on yesterday’s post and at mommysplate.com). Benjamin ate his sandwich and seemed quite content; he even had and seemed to like some of the mozarella from Ogre’s salad. We decide to order some pastries after looking up and reading them boast about their best dessert awards and such. My mood had improved a bit and I thought that the Pain Chocolat would be tasty. So I go up to the counter to pay our bill and order the pastries. In the spot labelled Pain Chocolat are some cinnamon roll looking things. “Do you have any of the Pain Chocolat?” I query. She briefly scans the area and to no one’s surprise tells me no. I told her nevermind and was about to pay the bill when Ogre pipes up, “What are you getting for me?” Well, I wasn’t going to get him anything, but instead, I say “I don’t know, why don’t you come look, they don’t have any more chocolate croissants.” So we switch spots and he comes back with a almond croissant and little cheese danish for me. He’s so much of a better person than me.

I have to take Mina to the bathroom where I can tell you that there are no changing stations. It had a really nice sink though! Like one of those ones with the big ceramic bowl and cool-looking, slim faucet. See, I’m trying to find positives! We finish up and head out to the splash park.

The food

Obviously, we’re going to have to compare this to La Madeleine. It’s in that same sort of genre of restaurants. I think La Madeleine is better. The menu had a lot less breadth than the menu at La Madeleine. With regard to my particular sandwich, I think it is better at La Madeleine. This one was dry and had less flavor. Ogre thought the sandwich here was better because this one had more pesto and the other place is too much like salad. Hey, Ogre, it’s a Chicken Ceasar SALAD sandwich. I did not try his Tomato and Mozarella Sandwich, but he liked it a lot. We both liked my Lobster Bisque, it was nice and creamy. Mina liked her ham and cheese sandwich and ate about half of it, which is about what I would expect from her. The PB&J was crunchy peanut butter and raspberry jelly, so I’m sure it was tasty. Both of their sandwiches were served on a very fresh and airy Ciabatta roll. Ogre said the coffee he had was better than average, but about the same as at La Madeleine. Our desserts were good, in fact, Ogre said that the Almond Croissant (or Bear Claw) that he had was WAY better than La Madeleine’s.

The kids menu had a nice offering of sandwiches, a pizza, and a hot dog. None of these seemed particularly healthy, but kids will like it. The price was nice, too, ranging from $2.99 to 3.99.

The service

What can I say? Well, you know what I’m going to say. They’re lucky if I gave them one star in this category. You should probably know your menu and not look at your customers like they’re from outer space.

Total price: $37.36 (includes normal drinks and a three dollar coffee)

Sorry, folks, we forgot the camera today, which was really disappointing because we didn’t have it at Celebration Park!

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