Food: pretty good
Space: casual café
J’adore les crêpes! Of course, I love French cuisine in general, but there is nothing like a delicious buckwheat crepe to satisfy my foodie cravings. When I heard about Logan Square’s La Boulangerie, I was floored with excitement. Fresh macarons, baguettes, and crepes just a short bike ride away? Absolutely!
La Boulangerie is a quaint little French cafe with chalkboards and a couple cupboards filled with European retail items like teeny-tiny jars of Bonne Maman jam. Baguette-filled baskets line the wall behind the cash register and the counter is traced with glass so you can watch hungrily as your crepes are being made on the griddle.
First things first, I needed to get myself pumped up full of caffeine. Unfortunately, La Boulangerie does not serve coffee, which is strange for a café since that is the French word for coffee. Have no fear, New Wave Coffee is right next store and La Boulangerie welcomes the outside beverages with an understanding air. Once the latte met my hand, I was back in front of the savory crepe portion of the menu. La Boulangerie covers some of the classics, such as Ham, gruyere and an egg, as well as a few more interesting options like pulled pork with peach BBQ sauce and cheddar. Jacob opted for The Logan, filled with bacon, crème fraiche, egg, spinach and pine nuts. The Bliss quickly caught my eye: peach puree, goat cheese, truffle oil, pecans and honey. Sweet and savory in one!
The flavors in The Bliss blend together into an oozy dream. I’m always an absolute fool for goat cheese and it paired perfectly with the accompaniments. There is something about the natural curtness of honey blending with earthy truffle oil that makes my mouth water. The peach puree, however, was very sweet which overwhelmed the delicate savor. Furthermore, my crepe was made first and then left on the side as Jacob’s was made. I’ve never heard of cold crepes.
The Logan, though warm, wasn’t good. The absence of cheese had already turned me off, but that wasn’t its only downfall. The egg was overcooked, the bacon wasn’t anything special, the pine nuts were excessive and plopped about everywhere, the spinach appeared to be from a frozen package, and the crème fraiche was absent. The flavors were bland and the texture was awkward, but at least it was warm. Furthermore, I felt a lack in the buckwheat flavor of the crepes.
We couldn’t leave a French café without taking some pastries home with us. Our first instinct was to go for the croissant or chocolat au pain. However, due to some unfortunate restrictions “beyond [their] control”, La Boulangerie can only sell those pastries in sets of 8 and their other pastries in sets of 3. After much deliberation and many questions asked, we went for a profiterole, a paris-brest, a pink peppercorn macaron and a baguette. The profiterole is essentially a cream puff with a salted caramel glaze. The cream filling had a great slightly salted flavor and the glaze was very tasty. On the other hand, the pastry part was rather tough and chewy. The paris-brest, an apricot-glazed donut shaped pastry filled with a hazelnut cream was also quite tasty, but had the same issue with the dough. The macaron was an overly vibrant hot pink color with a gummy cookie and an Oreo center-style cream filling. The flavor wasn’t bad, but it was not a good macaron. Be aware, I’m a macaron snob! I’ve had them from the best place in the world, Paris La Duree. The baguette was decent, but a little flat tasting. It made a nice crostini, however.
My overall experience at La Boulangerie was pleasant but slightly disappointing. Alas, my search for the perfect French bakery in Chicago continues!