BY NATASHA GOMEZ
Butter can perform miracles. If you
don’t believe me, I invite you to La Quiche Parisienne Bistro to see
for yourself. This little French café is a chapel to butter’s splendors.
Entering the bistro from the 4th
Street Mall in Downtown ABQ, a cataract of sunlight follows diners inside
through the street-side windows, where they immediately encounter La
Quiche’s most precious effects: pastries, croissants, meringues and
cakes. Beneath the displaycase glass, raspberry, blueberry and lemon
tarts gleam like jewels, forcing diners to pause for a second to relish
the anticipation before surrendering to these ambrosial delights —
the savory offerings here are as appealing as they are sweet.
“Everything is made from scratch,”
states Sabine Pasco, co-proprietor and pastry chef. “From the croissants
to the bread to the pastry, we make it all ourselves.”
Not only is everything at La Quiche
homemade, but all is crafted according to traditional French methods.
Take the signature quiches, for example. Bruno Barachin, co-proprietor
and master baker, explains in a charming Parisian accent how the quiche
flavors are not the product of the chef’s whim, but are classical
French preparations. “We do not just throw tomatoes in something because
we feel like it,” he says. “The quiche blue cheese and walnuts ($8.99)
has just that and nothing else. This is how it is made in Paris.”
The selection of sandwiches is also
distinctly French. Unlike American-style sandwiches, where filling is
the prize and the bread a mere pedestal, the French-style sandwiches
revere bread above all. Fillings are elegant adornments. Such is the
case with the Bayonne sandwich ($8.99). It’s composed of a fragrant,
crusty baguette and delicate slices of imported prosciutto, lettuce,
tomato and cornichons; ubiquitous butter replaces the usual mayo. There
is a long list of other sandwich options, with cracked pepper turkey,
hot roast beef and chicken, among others.
La Quiche also houses a lovely bakery,
where breakfast is as simple as a cup of their excellent coffee ($1)
and a pan au chocolate ($2.05). Barachin bakes half-baguettes into the
shape of a sprig of wheat or other variously odd forms such as crocodiles,
turtles, horses and octopi. Other items offered from the bakery includes
challah ($4.25), muesli bread ($5.25), pumpernickel ($4.25) and ciabatta
PHOTO BY WES NAMAN
While the Bistro’s bread and quiche
may sustain one’s soul, the true glory of this little café is in
the celestial pastries. The lemon tart ($3.25) is about the size of
the palm of your hand and might be the very definition of perfection;
candied lemon and a fresh strawberry rest on a godly-rich firmament
of lemon and cream. Other possibilities include the cream praline Paris
Brest ($3.50), French style almond macarons ($8.99 for a box of 8),
éclairs ($3.25) and almond walnut chocolate tarts ($3.50). Do not worry
about choosing one over another, as anything in the pastry category
is guaranteed to be a revelation.
Food is served promptly, making La
Quiche Parisienne Bistro an ideal quick stop for breakfast or lunch
in the Downtown area. But the intimate café setting, cheerful view
of the 4th Street Mall and the divine quality of the food invite you
to sit, relax and thank heaven that such a place exists here in Albuquerque.
La Quiche Parisienne Bistro
401-A Copper NW, 242.2808
HOURS: 7a-3p, Mon.-Fri., 9a-2p, Sat.
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