Girls on Food

Travel

French Breakfast in the Bay: the girl and the fig, tartine bakery

I love breakfast.

If I’m not working on a Saturday or Sunday, I’m brunching.
I’m a savory breakfast type of girl though – no thank you to pancakes and
French toast, no matter how inventive. At the top of my list: quiche. In fact,
I’ll take that a step further and officially declare it my death row meal: a
perfect quiche lorraine.
A weekend in the Bay Area led me to discover two incredible
versions, and more breakfast delights…
 
the girl and the fig
country food with a French passion
 
110 West Spain Street
Sonoma, CA  95476
thegirlandthefig.com

 

This is one of my very favorite restaurants so it’s no
surprise that I loved everything I was served. It really deserves a post all to
itself about the many wonders they create but for now, consider this snapshot
of a flawless breakfast your amuse-bouche…
Cheese Plate
Cow – St. Jorge (Santa Rosa)
Goat – Laura Chenel Chevre (Sonoma)
Sheep – Roquefort Gabriel Coulet (Roquefort-sur-Soulzon, France)
*Favorite!*
Also in attendance: fig cake, fig jam, spiced nuts, local
honey, apple

 

I paired this with their Fig Royale: French sparkling wine,
house-made fig liqueur. It basically ruined mimosas for me, no matter how good
the orange juice. I’m okay with that though.
Quiche Lorraine, summer salad and matchstick fries with tarragon
aioli
This to me feels like the closest I’ve come to tasting a
quiche prepared the way it was intended. They don’t fuss with it. It’s just a
perfect egg custard filling with a small amount of diced ham set inside a
buttery, flaky crust with a golden brown, crisp top. Classic.

 

I know I mentioned I’m not the sweets-for-breakfast type but for those of you who are, this looked pretty fantastic too!
Stuffed brioche French Toast with sweetened Bellweather
Farms fromage blanc, lemon & huckleberry compote

 

 Tartine Bakery & Café
600 Guerrero Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
tartinebakery.com
I should start off by saying this is actually the third time
I’ve been to Tartine, but it’s the first time I’ve actually gone inside. The
first two times I’ve driven by to see hungry locals literally lined up down the
block and just didn’t have time to wait. It’s perpetually packed. I couldn’t even snap a picture without seeing people walk in or out. Luckily, I
wandered in during a slight break in the crowd and found a
little room at the counter to stand and enjoy the favorites that keep the crowds coming…

 

Quiche with crème fraiche, Niman smoked ham and heirloom tomatoes

This quiche is more like the kind you find most places,
stuffed with seasonal produce. I chose the ham and heirloom tomato, though the
squash version was tempting. It was fantastic. Perfect filling, perfect crust,
and it’s pretty hard to find fault in adding heirloom tomatoes to any breakfast
in my book.

 

More impressive to me at the time though, probably because I love these and never find them in bakeries, were the Gougères!

Gougère
These are made from choux pastry (pâte à choux), which is what they make profiteroles, éclairs and beignets from, but it’s mixed with gruyere cheese. It’s a rich, hollow, flaky cheese bun. Warmed up they’re pretty hard to beat by themselves or, my preference, with tomato soup!Since this is the first place I’ve found them I wanted to give you a recipe link so you can make your own if they don’t carry them at your favorite bakery:
This isn’t the recipe I’ve used before but it’s the one I want to try next. I’ve made the traditional variety with just the gruyere, at Tartine they add black pepper, and in this recipe they add dry mustard and cayenne. Baker’s choice!

 

Leavenworth, WA: The Bavarian Town of Samples

I needed to get out of Seattle for a little N&R (noshing and relaxation) so I decided to hop on a bus and visit Leavenworth, WA. Leavenworth is modeled after Bavarian towns and is located in Eastern Washington.
No joking, polka music plays EVERYWHERE!
Right when you step onto Front Street, you feel like you’re in a Disney film. It’s a stretch filled with restaurants, unique gifts shops and a cute Nutcracker museum. The best thing about Leavenworth is that most of the places give free samples to the tourists. Not the tiny free samples one would get at Costco, they offer as many samples as you’d like.
The Gingerbread Factory
828 Commercial St
Leavenworth, WA 98826
I wandered off of Front street and onto a less crowded one. I came across a real life gingerbread house. I was worried a scary old lady would be bake me into a cookie if entered but to my surprise I was offered to try a hearty sample of their trademark gingerbread man and their maple walnut cookies. The cookies are better than homemade here they had a fluffiness I doubt I’d be able to recreate.
The interior looks like a Barbie Dream House.

 

The buttercream frosting topped sugar cookies were also amazing.
The Cheesemonger’s Shop
819 Front St
Leavenworth, WA 98826
Heads up: Look hot when you come in, there’s a few cute teenage boys that work here. They’re friendly and want you to try lots of free cheese. What could be better?
This little shop has an extensive collection of cheese, sausages, beer and wine. So me it’s basically heaven. You do have to request samples here but you can try any of the cheese you wish.
I walked out with Koko’s Coconut-infused Gouda, which pairs beautifully with a stout or porter beer. I bought Truffle Tremor, which is goat brie with black truffle, I’ve topped my heirloom tomato salads with it. It’s not an overwhelming truffle flavor which is nice. I also bought a local honey lavender chevre for a dessert option.
The Oil & Vinegar Cellar 
633 Front St
Ste F
Leavenworth, WA 98826
This was my favorite sample spot of all. There are several oil and vinegars for sampling with bread and they encourage you to try all of them. To make things worse, they offer $5 off each 3 bottles purchased. I could easily go broke here.
 I walked out with an English Toffee balsamic reduction, a Fig balsamic reduction, a Lemon Lavender white vinegar, Key Lime oil (the best!), Garlic Mushroom oil and a Rosemary oil. I haven’t had anything like the Key Lime oil before, I’m still kind of not sure what to do with it so if the readers have any suggestions, please leave a comment and let me know 🙂
The Flavor Express
220 9th St
Leavenworth, WA 98826
This is actually a fudge shop and that’s not really my thing. While looking around I discovered she had a sea salt sample table so I decided to go crazy and get my sodium fix.
At this sample table, tomatoes are on toothpicks and you dip it in the sea salts. Yes, I tried all of them and walked out with Black Truffle Sea Salt.
Leavenworth Sausage Garten by cured
636 Front St
Leavenworth, WA 98826
There weren’t free samples but this was my favorite meal. This is Currywurst sausage topped with fresh sauerkraut, curry ketchup and cajun creole mustard on the side. It was so flavorful it didn’t really need condiments. The beer is Whistling Pig Hefeweizen. This is a patio restaurant, great for people watching and has a great view of the mountain range.
Alveterzane!