Saturday, January 24, 2009

Mini Dish: La Baguette

Warm Your Tummy with a Toasted Creation
170 Stanford Shopping Center, Palo Alto
Near Stanford University
PH: 650.321.0535
Lunch, 7 days a week

Always get it warm. Always get it warm.

That’s my advice whenever the woman behind the counter at La Baguette French Bakery asks whether you want your sandwich order warmed or not. Because when it comes to you fresh and heated, it’s heaven.

I generally don’t blog about shopping mall food, because you get your typical fast food or food court fare. But a few weeks ago when I was at Stanford University for an event, I made a stop first at the nearby Stanford Shopping Center for a bite at La Baguette Boulangerie and Patisserie. And I can’t stop thinking about their toasted sandwiches.

Stanford Shopping Center, ironically, does not have a food court so your eating options are limited to some casual spots and a few fancy restaurants that are a bit much to spend for lunch.

La Baguette has a prime spot at the heart of the mall, so it’s often crowded as people line up for either their baguettes and sandwiches or a beautifully decorated French creation from its patisserie.

For lunch, they have the typical baguettes with ham and cheese and such, but I always go for the special sandwiches. They’re typically more expensive (about $7-plus), but worth it. And again, get it warmed.

A couple of months ago (when I wasn’t snapping pictures), I got the Florentine, which is grilled chicken with roasted tomatoes, fresh Mozzarella and pesto on a warmed Ciabatta bread. Once I bit into it, I was mesmerized by the tender chicken and gooey cheese, blending nicely with the tomatoes and pesto sauce. And the bread was so perfectly baked and fresh that it reinforced why I’m such a fan of panini and any grilled or toasted sandwich.

In my most recent visit, I ordered the Tuscan, which is also grilled chicken but with roasted tomatoes, fresh Mozzarella and a balsamic vinaigrette on a panini roll. The bread was perfect as usual, but I have to say the sandwich lacked color with only the red of the tomatoes and the darkness of the balsamic vinegar. It really needed some greens. Still, it was nice and comforting with the warmed bread (although I’d say the Florentine is my favorite).

Because of the lines, some people have complained about the sometimes snarky service from the ladies behind the counter (who did look kind of suspiciously at me as I snapped away at the patisserie). But I didn’t have any issues with the service as they promptly took my order. And it only took a few minutes to warm up my sandwich and have me out the door.

La Baguette is a tiny shop, so there’s no seating inside but you can grab your sandwich and eat at any of the outdoor tables. I didn’t try the pastries or desserts, but they were plentiful and all looked very enticing. It definitely looked like a place where you could find a special treat to take to a party or when visiting friends, or when you feel like treating yourself to something special.

Since this is a mini review, there’s no rating. Some people might be turned off by the slightly high prices, but this is Palo Alto, people. I definitely recommend any of their specialty sandwiches, especially the Florentine, as long as you get them toasted!

La Baguette French Bakery on Urbanspoon


foodhoe said...

Mmmm,yes I love heated and grilled sandwiches! I grew up in PA and was there a couple of times in the past month... it has changed so much, but not the attitudes. Anyways good to know about, because you're right it's challenging to find reasonably priced good stuff in that mall.

Mrs. L said...

I'll have to keep this place in mind. We have a gift card to WS Home and we are planning on going up to Stanford to shop next week (and hit a few cupcakes places of course). Hubby and I will make this place our dinner spot, thanks!

Chef Ben said...

Mrs. L, I think of this place as more of a lunch spot. Not sure if it might be as satisfying as dinner. Let me know what you think! (And don't forget, Kara's at Town Village.)