Friday, September 16, 2016

Chak's Take: Dres Delanghe, Belgium Native who Redefined the Bay Area Cafe Scene

In Santa Clara County, bakery shops are a very familiar scene to me. From Gilroy to downtown Mountain View, I've seen plenty of bread offerings, regardless of the type. Asian bakery shops are very common in Silicon Valley, although European bakery shops are nothing new to me. Anytime I'm at a random place in Silicon Valley, this often reminds me of many elements.

It's true to the fact that Santa Clara County is home to many bakery shops - many of which are in San Jose. Asian bakery shops tend to offer a lot of Chinese tarts, and many would buy a lot of the Chinese bread offerings. I often see those Chinese breads at major oriental supermarkets, including an occasional baguette. Locally made bread was sometimes sourced from various San Jose-based bakeries, including one made in-house at each Lee's Sandwiches locations throughout Santa Clara County.

But Alexander's Patisserie in downtown Mountain View is different. Everything is made in-house for customers like me to see. I see that the difference between Alexander's Patisserie and the bakeries that is based throughout Santa Clara County is that in a typical bakery shop, there is only a selection of bakeries, very few cafe choices, and/or a separate restaurant run by another vendor. I see those more commonly at big oriental chains like 99 Ranch Market. Instead of a concept where it's only a come-and-go type of bakery, Alexander's Patisserie has a better approach - it's an environment that resembles a modern-day coffee shop, a quick bite that can be consumed inside or on-the-go, and a bakery shop that everything is locally sourced.

When I read articles such as the San Francisco Chronicle and Mountain View Voice, Dries Delanghe believed that as an executive chef at Alexander's Patisserie, he feels like Mountain View is just like his hometown in Belgium when Alexander's Patisserie opened in 2014. I think that Alexander's Patisserie, part of the Alexander's Steakhouse group that operates restaurants in Cupertino and San Francisco as well as in Pasadena, has done a great job of introducing a concept that no other bakery shops in Silicon Valley has ever done. While I may not be visiting the Alexander's Steakhouse anytime soon to try out the expensive wagyu steak or burger, I think that Alexander's Patisserie has great potential.

I tried the sandwiches in my first visits to the Alexander's Patisserie, and their sandwiches has more than satisfied my expectations of my visit. I generally paired my sandwiches with a drink to appreciate the atmosphere each time I come in for a visit to their shop and sit down with food to eat and something to drink. My favorite sandwich so far is the Caprese when I first came to the place during the early evening hours, but I also like trying all sandwiches in my future visits to Alexander's Patisserie. The sandwich bread was crisp when it came out of the oven, and the food was very fresh! Tasty!

I wish that I could see Dries Delanghe in person. However, because Dries Delanghe is very busy focusing on bread, he might not be taking a break to read this blog about how much I love to come to the Mountain View location. Although this is not my first time in Mountain View partially due to the Morocco's Restaurant on the other end of Castro Street as one of my friends has an interest in that restaurant, I will come down to Alexander's Patisserie from time to time to have a small bite or buy some bread. I believe that homemade bread in Silicon Valley such as the one made at Alexander's Patisserie would still remind me of Gilroy, Morgan Hill, and San Martin - and Dries Delanghe is very proud of his great accomplishments. I'll be surprised if Dries Delanghe finds me and sees my face when he has a break, but I'll have to keep in mind that he's very busy with baking and producing goods for all of us to enjoy.

Original Work: Kyle Chak
Twitter/Instagram: @KyleSChak
BONUS: With the exception of the last photo, the following photos below were taken by me, showing how much I appreciate the great support for the place...

The sandwich and drink pairing - in this case, the French Fizz.