We visit La Boulange Bakery at least every few weeks for a coffee, a quick snack or brunch. Our last visit we had a tartine (open-faced sandwich) with some chips.
More recently, Starbucks purchased the Bay Area bakery cafe chain to learn best in practice fast casual food service. We all know Starbucks has not cracked the food component of their franchise, and La Boulange does this so well. In fact, Starbucks should also learn from Panera Bread. Like any chain, although stores strive to have consistent service, cleanliness and menu, each Boulange varies on these factors. However, we love the Polk location for solid execution and outdoor seating.
As we were gazing at the baked treats, and taking a few snaps, a disgruntled passerby grumbled, “It is only food.” Not sure why this impacted me so deeply, but to me food is nourishment, food is art, food is a communal experience and above all, food is love.
The Polk Street location has one of the best ambiances, seating and they serve fries (vs potato chips). We enjoyed a Boulange Club ($9) with turkey, bacon, avocado, tomato, lettuce, aioli, pain de mie served with the pommes frites. We enjoyed the ratio of ingredients and the taste of our sandwich, but loved the pommes frites with aioli. In fact, next time we may just order a side of fries with aioli for $5 or with parmesean and truffle oil for $6 for snacking.
In fact, La Boulange reminded us of La Boulangerie de Papa in Paris. There were flakey pastries, tarts, croissants, financiers, canelles and french bread which absolutely reminded us of Paris.
We couldn’t help ourselves but try La Boulange’s macarons and tried the pistachio for $1 each. The other flavors to choose from include vanilla, chocolate, and coconut. Quite frankly, these can not be beat at Pierre Hermes or Ladurre (BMH reviews of Pierre Hermes or Laduree), however do serve its purpose when one has a macaron craving and needs a fix.
Another favorite if the Healthful organic oats with low fat milk, flax seed & fresh fruit w/maple syrup, honey or brown sugar for $6. There is a kid size version (a rice bowl size) which is perfect for a lighter b-fast.