Campus Coffee: What Bugged Us About Next Coffee Co.

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This week we spend some time at cafés near other campuses in the Valley. Today, we're featuring an ASU West campus coffee shop in Glendale with a couple of quirks.

We're not ones to whine about coffee and pastries. We recognize a good thing when we see it, and Next Coffee Co. seemed like a pretty good thing.

The café was spacious, cool, and has ample seating. Everything looked clean and pleasant, but as we approached the counter, the mildly obtrusive man working there kept pestering us to figure out what we wanted and order.

We quickly noticed out of the four sandwiches, four wraps, and four salad varieties on the menu, there wasn't a single vegetarian option for lunch. They even offered a lasagna-like creation, but that too contained chicken.

Though vegetarian patrons are stuck with the pastries for lunch, the sticky homemade cinnamon roll is nothing to sneer at. Baked to flaky perfection with walnuts, honey, and raisins, our cinnamon roll seemed more like baklava than a Cinnabon. The treat is so popular that the staff said it is the only food item they offer every day.

Luckily, we brought some meat-eating friends to test out the sandwich and salad options. The ham and cheese sandwich wasn't made fresh, and wasn't really worth nearly $8, according to our friend, especially considering its side was tortilla chips that had that straight-from-the-bag taste.

What really bothered us about Next was the salad. Our friend immediately noticed the salad had wilting lettuce, something we'd expect from a Burger King salad but not a $7 salad. The kicker of the salad debacle, however, was the little green bug perched on a piece of chicken in the pre-packaged salad container... Suddenly we weren't hungry anymore.

To recuperate from the chicken Caesar salad a la insect, we got some drinks, which were actually very tasty. The cinnamon-and-honey filled Viennese Café was the perfect way to wash down the cinnamon roll. The variety of flavored teas, such as a blackberry green tea, were also very refreshing and delicious.

For now, we think Next should stick to drinks and pastries, at least until they work the bugs out of their lunch menu -- literally. But, how will Mesa Community College hangout Cup'O'Karma stack up? Stick around for tomorrow's answer and until then, make sure to tip your barista!

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