Takeout

TAKEOUT

January 22, 2009|By Rob Kasper

Bonjour

6070 Falls Road, 410-372-0238. Winter hours: 7:30 a.m.-noon Mondays; 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays; 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays.

It is hard to visit a French bakery and not eat sweets. But the savories at Bonjour proved to be delectable takeout items for a quick lunch and a fast dinner.

This small shop near Lake Avenue often has a flag flying outside. In warm weather, a bicycle or two is parked outside and a cyclist or two is inside, carb-loading.

The quiche is made daily by Gerard Billebault, his wife, Gayle Brier, and their staff. It is sold by the slice, $4, or whole - $18 for a medium, $22 for a large. Billebault and Brier recently sold their French restaurant in North Baltimore, Brasserie Tatin. In addition to Bonjour, they operate a wholesale baking business, the French Oven, where they bake the quiche.

I was told that if I couldn't wait to dig into the quiche until I got home, the Bonjour staff would heat the slice in an oven and I could dine while seated at one of the few tables in the shop.

The evening I visited, I had no trouble waiting until I got home to eat. But I did have trouble deciding which of the three types - artichoke, ham and cheese, or tomato - that I wanted. I ended up getting a slice of each, wrapped snugly in aluminum foil.

The quiche crust, a puff pastry crust made with butter, was superb. If the secret to a good sandwich is the bread, then the crust is key for the quiche. It reheats beautifully.

My favorite filling was the artichoke, followed closely by the ham and cheese, then tomato. Each was perfectly seasoned.

I also bought a tomato pissaladierre, $6.75. Pissaladierre seemed to me to be a word given at spelling bees to trip up contestants. In fact, it is an open-faced sandwich made with a large slice of ciabatta bread, a splash of extra-virgin olive oil, a dash of herbs de provence, caramelized onions, Swiss cheese, Kalamata olives and pieces of either fresh tomato or artichoke. It is baked. The crunchy texture of my pissaladierre was pleasing. Its onion flavor was more pronounced than I had expected. It would make a good appetizer.

After heating and eating the quiche and pissaladierre for dinner one night, I returned the next day for lunch. Sadly, the $4 croissants, stuffed with cheese, ham or turkey, were sold out. So I opted for another slice of my favorite quiche, artichoke.

Once again I eyed the compelling array of sweets, but was able to resist. I settled for a small hot chocolate, $2.75, telling myself that if I ride my bike on my next visit to Bonjour, a pastry will be my reward for pedaling.

bonjour

Best bite: : Slice of artichoke quiche, $4

Also tasted: : Slices of ham and cheese quiche and of tomato quiche, $4 each; tomato pissaladierre, $6.75; small hot chocolate, $2.75

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