I’m an LA girl who knows a thing or two about restaurants in the City of Angels. As much as I love getting eats close to home, there are times when I grab my keys and venture out of my own county. The desire to explore a different town or try a shop I haven’t heard of peaks my interest when I least expect it. That moment came when I had the chance to eat at Pandor Bakery and Cafe in Newport Beach.
After a drive down a few freeways, I made my way to the restaurant. Standing in line, I took a moment to look over the menu and I decided to order the PB&J French Toast and the Salmon Salad. The PB&J was an easy choice just because of the childhood nostalgia it brought when I read the name. It quickly reminded me of elementary school and the days of Alf lunch boxes, nap time, and the rusty pencil sharpener attached to a wall. The Salmon Salad seemed like healthy option to offset the calorie-heavy sandwich. In the unlikely instance that I should run into my trainer and he ask what I ate today, I would mention the salad and leave out the part about the French toast. It’s not really lying if it’s partially true, right?
While waiting for my food, I sat outside in the quaint patio area. Tables were shaded from the sun by umbrellas and the bustling of people walking through the plaza area added a nice soundtrack to the restaurant. My food soon arrived and, if you guessed that I started with the sandwich, then pat yourself on the back because you’re correct! I started with this dish because I wanted to see how they would spin a sandwich that characterizes what it means to be a kid. This restaurant had to put a unique spin on the classic in order to win over the advanced tastes of the adult crowd. To do so, Pandor took two slices of white bread with smears of peanut butter and jelly and slices of fresh banana. On the exterior, the sandwich looks like a mashup of ingredients that may not blend well together. With a few bites, it feels reminiscent of younger days and it ends up working well together. It’s a fitting amount of jelly and peanut butter, so you don’t have to worry about peanut butter sticking to your mouth if you have arachibutyrophobia. This is a dish that you should definitely try, but it wouldn’t be one that I crave when back home in Los Angeles.
In contrast, the Salmon Salad was a colorful arrangement of leafy greens, mushrooms, tomatoes, green beans, and Alaskan salmon. The plating seemed a little haphazard, so my concern then lay in the taste. A forkful or two into it, and the salmon was the standout of the dish: a good portion, lightly seasoned, and good nicely. The remainder of the salad would have been forgotten if it weren’t for the fish. Furthermore, the serving of green beans seemed slightly out of place. The stiffer exterior and density of the beans became a distraction to the entirety of the salad. I had no problem pushing them to the side to continue enjoying the salad without them.
My trip to Newport Beach for Pandor was ok. Although I was hoping to get more excitement from the Salmon Salad, it was a content meal. Opposite of the salad, the French toast was a creative and mature take on a childhood classic that would be an ideal option if you’re looking to devour something that will send you on a trip down memory lane.
Pandor Bakery and Café
Westcliff Plaza Shopping Center
1126 A Irvine Ave.
Newport Beach, CA 92660
Open Daily: 7am – 8pm