222 Capitol Way North #103, Olympia, WA 98501
Price: $1.25 and up.
Fare: French pastries, bread, soups and sandwiches, and wine and cheese.
There is wine, there is bread and there are pastries. If you cannot afford to go to France, go here. Everyone stands at the counter, peering throught the glass and asking, “what should I get?” My answer is, it doesn’t matter, you’ll be back tomorrow to try something else. This is food you dream of. Plates like corucopias – Pain au chocolate, gateau basque, morning rolls, cheve croissants, apple fritters, bread puddings, almond croissants dissapearing quickly under the calls from the crowded line at the counter.
People come here to eat, read, talk, eat, meet friends, drink cafe au lait, and to eat. They sit for hours, living a little slice of their lives at the tables. At the long slab of wood bar, watching the street buzzing just outside the windows, they rest, newspaper in one hand, cup in the other. The din of the restaurant envelops you. The sharp hiss of the espresso machine and smell of the still warm loaves of bread stacked behind the counter pull you into a trance.
I think that the kitchen is at least twice as big as the rest of the restaurant. It’s light blue and white checked floor is a massive, slick expanse, seemingly always being cleaned. Gigantic gleeming steel stoves with gigantic gleeming steel pots boiling away. Ovens constantly opening and closing to a rythmn of people in flour drenched white aprons confidently promanading around them.
Bit into the cheve croissant and discover a new feeling, a new meaning to the word savory. The tangy goat cheese tickles the tip and sides of your tongue, coliding as you chew with the sweet carmalized onions and soft croissant. Little flakes cling to your lips to be discretely licked off or sucked down with your cafe au lait.
Apple fritter crisp-caramel drippings stick to your back teeth. The buttery coating covers your mouth. I make a trip here, like a visit to holy shrine and with my friends in tow. “You cannot imagine…” I tell them. They always smile politely. Then they look through the glass, then they buy, they bit, they pause. Then a sheepish smile. “Yum,” they say through a mouth full of buttery, flaky carbohydrate heaven.
Here is a favorite bread pudding recipe of mine:
Bread Pudding with Mangos, Pecans and Rose Whipped Cream
Two to three croissants
1/2 cup pecans
1 cup of milk
2 tablespoons of whipping cream
1/2 cup of sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
1 teaspoon cardamon
Break up two to three croissants in a greased baking pan. Add about 1 mango cut into small pieces and ½ cup of pecans. Beat together four eggs, 1 cup of milk, 2 tablespoons of whipping cream, ½ cup of sugar, one teaspoon of vanilla extract and teaspoon of cardamon. Pour your custard over the top of the bread. Add dollops of butter on top and sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon. Bake at about 375 degrees for about 30-45 min or until you can pull a fork out cleanly.
To make the whipped cream, I recommend using organic whipping cream. Take 1/2 cup of whipping cream, 1 tablespoon of sugar, 1/4 teaspoons of rose water (you can find this at Indian and Middle Eastern groceries) and whip it. Whip it good.
I like to serve this warm. With rum or makers mark poured over the top before adding the whipping cream. Did you think a post about a french bakery was going to have a low-fat recipe?