Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Breaking: PCCD appoints former San Leandro police chief to Interim Executive Director of Public Safety
Breaking: PCCD appoints former San Leandro police chief to Interim Executive Director of Public Safety
Abdul Pridgen will lead the district’s community-based safety program
Li Khan, Editor in Chief • June 21, 2024
Carpentry instructor spruces up department
Carpentry instructor spruces up department
Rym-Maya Kherbache, Staff Writer • April 24, 2024
A cap at the Laney College commencement ceremony on May 24 reads in Spanish, This is for my mom who gave me everything. (Photo: Marcus Creel/PCCD)
Graduations, resignations and more: PCCD Trustees wrap up school year at 5/28 meeting
Romi Bales, Staff Writer • June 17, 2024
Student Trustee Natasha Masand believes her voice has the power to impact the PCCD community.
Student Trustee Natasha Masand finds her voice
Isabelly Sabô Barbosa, Social Media Editor • March 19, 2024

    Review — An experience at the Laney Bistro

    Student-run lunch spot delights with culinary expertise and friendly atmosphere

    by Alice Robinson

    Meatball sandwich and garlic fries include fresh baked ciabatta bread. (photo by Michelle Snider)

    Restaurants are all about food. Curating ingredients, preparing dishes with skill, delighting the senses.

    Restaurants are usually not about people.

    Then why do I feel, as I leave the Laney Bistro, that the people stand out as much as the food? That the third and fourth-semester culinary students make my 90 minutes in the small space more comfortable and extra delicious?

    People like Robin Love, our student server, and fellow student Rebecca Hoover, as well as Chantal Martin, a culinary instructor.

    Love is fast and attentive. As she hands me my rosemary water she also makes me aware of the invisible flavor.

    “You don’t have any rosemary leaves in yours,” she says, “but there’s rosemary [in it].”

    Hoover also helps deliver part of our meal in an attentive manner. Within seconds of handing me “The Meatball” sandwich, she reappears with a heavy-duty knife for cutting it.

    My sandwich, with a scaffolding of ultra-fresh ciabatta bread, is huge! The portion can easily be made into a second meal later. Generously doled out meatballs are properly moist and bathed in basil marinara. Perfectly cooked fries are placed next to the sandwich in a dainty wax paper bag.

    Martin, the instructor, greets Tower Editor-in-Chief Michelle Snider and me as we dine on bread pudding, and gushes enthusiasm for the Bistro and other specialized career programs at Laney.

    This is going to be the future,” she says in a low voice, a reference to students behind the scenes cooking the meals. This leaves me feeling jazzed about Laney College and the many opportunities it presents the community.

    The menu is a new world. Many ingredients are lost on me. Merguez sausage (lamb and beef from North Africa), roasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds), housemade Harissa (a chili pepper paste with added spices) are all available, but maybe that’s why I chose a sandwich for my main course. I was not ready for an exotic entrée.

    A raspberry chocolate mousse cake, one of three desserts offered at Laney’s very own bistro. (photo by Michelle Snider)

    Snider orders the Shrimp-Lobster Sausage & Grits. I cordon off a piece of the “sausage” made of shrimp and lobster. The staff has cooked and seasoned the seafood well. It’s tender and juicy, while the grits are creamy and smooth, causing me to ponder the strange but delightful juxtaposition of these foods that originated in the American South.

    At the Bistro, the customers contribute to the ambience. Today, about 20 others share the restaurant with us. They are forging bonds, disconnecting from their phones and actually sitting down to have a meal. It’s groundbreaking.

    The décor rates only medium marks. However, it’s important to note that the culinary program must conform to Laney’s slim budget. Big windows are appealing, but the scrunched area used for seating, and the utilitarian tables and chairs, remind me that I’m still in an educational setting.

    The Bistro doesn’t overcharge; main dish pricing is less than Bay Area restaurants with comparable menus. My meatball sandwich is $10, and the shrimp-lobster sausage with grits is $12. We also sample three desserts, including a light and addictive mocha cheesecake.

    April Bankhead, the front-of-house instructor at the Bistro, sweetly thanks a group of men who are leaving, one of whom grins broadly.

    Maybe he’s just experienced the Bistro brand, as I did: a warm staff and attention to detail.

    For box: The Laney Bistro is located on the lower level of the E Building, across from the Laney Garden area. The kitchen is closed during finals week. Tentative hours next semester are: Mon-Fri 11:45–1 p.m.

    About the Contributor
    In the fall of 2019, The Laney Tower rebranded as The Citizen and launched a new website. These stories were ported over from the old Laney Tower website, but byline metadata was lost in the port. However, many of these stories credit the authors in the text of the story. Some articles may also suffer from formatting issues. Future archival efforts may fix these issues.  
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