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And it's classic stuff, sure, but the cafe makes its departures. On the sandwich menu options include the Southern—peach-barbecue chicken, slaw, and greens—and the Cosmopolitan, which combines pastrami with tomato, cucumber, horseradish, and chives. Fillings are premade and meticulously presented in the deli case; sans bread, there are a few you could mistake for some fancy sushi roll, if you weren't thinking too hard about where you were. Servers slide your filling of choice whole-hog into a warm segment of baguette. What we tried was fantastic: a pulled-pork sandwich, for instance, with queso fresco, red pepper, avocado, and a verdant-tasting jalepeno relish; and a classic number called a Parisian, with ham, thick slices of Mimolette, tomato, mustard, and cornichon. It tasted like just the thing to bring to a picnic.
Actually it strikes me now that Mimolette is orange, and whatever cheese made it onto the sandwich was not. Was this cheese Mimolette, as advertised? Who cares! It was fantastic. And the only drawback to a tomato-goat cheese quiche was that nobody's figured out a way to incorporate a baguette into it.
This is all counter service. Some pastries for after dinner were packed into a little box for us—a plate would've been fine, but opening the package felt like a reward for making it through a delicious slog. Another delicious slog lay ahead, in the form of a gooey, eggy canele; a tiny, perfect choux puff, filled with pumpkin cream and glazed with caramel; and another superlative seasonal gesture, a pumpkin macaron. I'm a fool for pumpkin (even "pumpkin") flavors, but there were other macarons, like black sesame and apple, that'll presumably change with the seasons. I'll be thrilled to see what else this bakery comes up with.
La Boulangerie Bakery and Cafe, 915 W. Belmont, 773-489-3141