Posts Tagged ‘bakery’

Quick bites: Oliver’s Public House, Le Petit Croissant

Sunday, July 5th, 2015

Oliver’s Public House finally added lunch service about six weeks ago. The menu is a small but perfectly assembled array of delicious takes on otherwise-ordinary lunch items. For example, the hot ham sandwich ($11.50), which seems quite pricey, is worth it when you take that first bite and realize the depth of flavors from the swiss, roasted mushrooms, roasted garlic aioli and whole grain mustard.

I felt the same about the bluegill sandwich ($14), perhaps the best bluegill I’ve ever eaten–it’s light, tender and fried in a tempura batter topped with a precise amount of salt. Other lunch items include the three bean salad ($8), ratatouille & spinach sandwich ($9) and tuna bruschetta sandwich ($11). The soup du jour ($9) happened to be miso soup. It was very salty and densely packed with tofu and seaweed, unlike most miso soups. I also appreciated the slight spiciness.

Lunch also gave me a chance to try the non-alcoholic beverages. In my mind, you can’t go wrong with either the Bubba Watson ($5)–sparkling water with mint and lemon juice–or the Lee Trevino ($5)–sparkling water with strawberry shrub, Thai-rose rhubarb shrub and lemon juice. Both were refreshing and made me want to sit on a deck overlooking a lake.

The only negative part of lunch was the slow service. My dining companion and I were the first in the restaurant and first to order, yet it took 35 min. from the time we ordered to receive our food. I asked the waitress what was the reason for the delay, and at first, she was surprised there even was a delay (that’s not a good sign), but then she said the chips were freshly made (so apparently, it takes half-an-hour to make fresh-cut chips?). Thus, Oliver’s may not be a good choice if you have a limited lunch break (or don’t want to spend a lot, since it’s a bit pricey).

See more photos in our Oliver’s Public House Flickr album.

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I feel bad for Le Petit Croissant. A wonderful bakery and cafe, it’s located in the same shopping strip as Le Tigre and Taqueria El Jalapeno (“le” and “el” is the apparent theme here). For some reason, the owner of the property closed off the entrance on Hammersley Road, which means you can only exit south on Midvale/Verona Road or enter the Beltline. I’m sure it will get worse as the interchange is rebuilt over the next few years.

Hopefully the inconvenience doesn’t stop patrons from visiting. I didn’t try any of the entrees, although the bacon-egg croissant sandwich and the quiche both were very tempting. Instead, I wanted to try the pastries.

Honestly, you can’t go wrong with any of the choices. For example, the chocolate chip cookie–which looks very plain–was immensely chocolately, and I savored every bite. The other cookie I had, the black & white with raspberry swirl, should satifsy most sweet tooths.

The shell of the croissant was slightly tough, but the rich, buttery taste certainly made up for it. Meanwhile, the scone and muffin were so–for lack of better term–tender. The muffin in particular reminded me of when I first ate a doughnut from an Amish bakery–it’s on a different level, not factory-like as you find in most stores. In other words, you will enjoy the baked goods here.

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Paleo Mama Bakery

Sunday, September 28th, 2014

Is Paleo another diet fad? Not according to Belle Pleva, founder of the newly opened Paleo Mama Bakery, who told me that at least some aspect of it (e.g. avoiding processed foods) will endure.

You can find endless stories of how the Paleo lifestyle–which consists primarily of consuming fresh fruits, vegetables, grass-fed meat, poultry, eggs, fish, seafood and nuts–have improved the health of its followers. Belle is no exception–she is now med-free and symptom-free from her auto-immune disease with which she was diagnosed several years ago.

Belle let me sample several of her desserts and snacks, all of which are free from grains, gluten, soy and refined sugar. In summary, I thought her products were delicious and near-replicas of their non-Paleo counterparts, though be prepared for higher prices as a result of using hard-to-find ingredients (e.g. coconut flour).

Take for example the carrot and orange cupcake ($12.99 for four). The pure honey leads a parade of flavors that also include organic oranges and Chinese five spice. I couldn’t even tell the different between normal flour and coconut flour, as used in this recipe.

You can immediately taste the banana in the chocolate banana bread muffin ($11.99 for four), although the chocolate was a bit more subtle. Still, this super moist muffin seemed like “the real thing.”

I enjoyed the two cookies I tried, even with the slightly grittier texture. The oatmeal cookies ($11.99 for eight) are made with almond flour, unsweetened coconuts and flax seeds, among other ingredients, and the chocolate chip cookies ($11.99 for eight) have both almond flour and coconut flour.

The candied pecans ($12.99 for 8 oz.) are sweet and addicting, thanks to the coating of pure honey and organic cinnamon. Another satisfying snack is the chocolate granola ($11.99 for 8 oz.). It contains walnuts, almonds, pistachios, bits of semi-sweet chocolate and too-tart-for-me cherries.

One non-sweet item graces the menu, and that’s the spicy tortilla chips ($8.99 for 4 oz.), which uses–what else?–almond flour as its base ingredient, and it’s seasoned with several organic spices, including cayenne and turmeric. If you can get over the fact that these chips are more wafer-like instead of crunchy, they can readily be inserted into your snack rotation.

Paleo Mama Bakery operates out of New Self Renewal Center, 6300 Enterprise Ln. Currently, you must order your baked goods at least 24 hours in advance.

Nonna Rita’s

Sunday, April 1st, 2012

If you ever have both sweet and salty cravings, then Nonna Rita’s may be the place for you. The small store that boasts empanadas and pastries in its name opened in January in the space formerly occupied by Milio’s not too far from the intersection of East Johnson Street and East Washington Avenue.

I ordered the beef and chicken empanadas ($2.50 each). Instead of frying them, Nonna Rita’s bakes them. The crust was nice and flaky, but I didn’t care for the beef (too much cumin) or the chicken (a bit dry). You also can try taco, ham & cheese, spinach, corn and tuna; one dozen costs $25.

The small pastries are based on traditional Argentine baking techniques and are either topped or filled with dulce de leche (similar to caramel in flavor), a custard-like cream or both. I really enjoyed the dulce de leche–it’s a wonderful alternative to the typical chocolate topped/filled pastries you find at other bakeries.

I also liked both the butter croissant and the “saltier” croissant (as it was described to me). Both have so much flavor that you don’t need to add jam or anything. I paid $7 for a dozen pastries, but I got that as a discount since they were about to close for the day.

The only other item on the menu are the pizzettas  ($2.50, $3 or $3.50), personal-sized pizzas that can be topped with pepperoni, heart of palms or tomato basil, for example.

Nonna Rita’s is open Tuesday-Saturday. There’s usually ample street parking right in front. Credit cards are currently not accepted.

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