NO SIDEWALK BUT STILL A COMFORT ZONE 


Pulling up to the shopping plaza at the corner of Sand Lake Road and Orange Blossom Trail, it becomes apparent that Camille's Sidewalk Café has no sidewalk. Well, there is a strip of pavement out in front scattered with tables. But Camille's has never been associated with real sidewalks – sigh – it's just another marketing ploy. The first opened in Tulsa, Okla., underneath an escalator in a mall, and now there are 60 stores and a whopping 700 more in development.

Inside, Camille's is bright and modern, with splashes of beige, red, mint green and brick. Soft rock blares, and so do recorded messages from an overly peppy Camille. Although the whole operation is bathed in mediocrity, there is still something comforting about this fast-food chain and its carb-conscious fare.

The wraps are what Camille's is known for, and the Paris bistro grilled hot wrap ($6.49) I sampled could have used some spark, but overall it was worth the money. Not excessively supersized, the compact nibble of rich ham and Brie on a whole-wheat tortilla was adorned with apple, spinach and tomatoes. Less present were the promised flavors of sweet honey mustard and pungent red onions.

The menu of regular sandwiches also has some interesting and healthy combinations. The apple-walnut tuna ($5.59) is made distinctive by sweet apple and the crunch of walnuts; and the café chicken salad ($5.59) carries the strong flavor of dill. Served with sandwiches or on its own is a fresh mix of spring greens with a choice of six dressings, including creamy Caesar, bacon-tomato and "sesame oriental."

The strawberry breeze ($3.49) was my choice among the smoothie options, and it tasted a tad unripe. The coffee was satisfying, but the cookies, baked daily from pre-made dough, were hard and forgettable.

Camille's is equipped for wireless Internet and has a free meeting room, so the place accommodates business needs as well as offering a rare spot to "eat, relax and enjoy" in the Florida Mall district.

Speaking of On The Side

More by Adrian J.S. Hale

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