Food Snob. It's a proud badge and I wear it with pride. I won't eat anything unless it’s utterly delectable. What's the point?
This past Saturday, I had a little mid-morning business meeting. Eager to escape the confines of the Starbucks and the cliché chains, I trotted down near the airport and hopped onto Hinckley Road. Destination: Pain D'Avion's Café Boulangerie.
Most of us Codders know about Pain D'Avions bread. Available a specialty shops, area restaurants and on site at the bakery. Dozens of kinds of breads, rolls and bagels. YUM! A few years ago, after a brutal fire, the owners set up shop in a warehouse and the public followed. Tucked away between two industrial buildings, the bakery seems to blend well with the "rustic" area. Stepping in the warm, dough spiced air of the cafe; one is transported to a French market and stands in awe of the bounty of bread. Woven baskets hold beautiful ciabatta, focaccia, bagels, crusty rolls and delicate brioche. Baguette soldiers stood by the dozens. Glass cases were abundant with croissants, quiches, salads, and pain au chocolat. I snitch a sample of the chocolate hazelnut. The moistness of the inside, flecked with deep chocolate bits and hints of hazelnut surrounded by a rough crust was enough to send me into utopia. Butter would have been an unwelcome companion.
Nudge by my dining partner that we were suppose to be eating "healthy". I ordered a Croque Madame, an open faced sandwich with black forest ham, gruyere, and egg served on country bread. For "dessert", a yogurt parfait to share. I also ordered a cappuccino - and in these exact words - "as big as my head" - for you novices, that's a double shot, baby!
After ordering at the counter, we picked our way through the cafe tables to choose a spot in the sun. It appeared the cafe had been very busy moments before our arrival and there weren't any tables clear of dishes. A small downside, but I'm not too good to bus my own table. The cafe also features a long conference-like table perfect for the informal lunch meeting of 4 or more.
The Madame was delivered. One bite and I was transported to the European countryside. The sweetness of the ham played well with the nutty, melted gruyere. The hearty country bread stood up to the pairing and was an appropriate platform. The surprise was a small nest of arugula on top. Not noted on the menu, it was a fresh addition to the dish. The peppery crispness added an excellent finish. The parfait was unpretentious and lovely. Creamy vanilla yogurt, sweet sliced fresh strawberries and granola I would swear is homemade. Luscious as a quasi dessert or a simple snack.
Café Boulangerie has class, superb tastes and an atmosphere that is Paris in a laidback Cape Cod kinda way. The staff was a tad aloof, which I hope is a tribute to the traditional French attitude and not overall rudeness. Utterly Sinful gives the experience eight raised glasses out ten. The cafe is open for dinner as well and you know I'll be back.
Bon chance, lovers