Saturday, July 18, 2009

Petit Fours - Chic. Simple. Delicious.

Petit Fours Patisserie and The Cafe
The Oliver House
27 Broadway Street
Toledo, OH 43604
ph: 419-724-4477
fax: 419-724-4478

Monday through Saturday
Breakfast 7am-10:30am
Lunch 11am-3:00pm

In March of 2006, Karen Lucas opened Petit Fours Patisserie and cafe in Downtown Perrysburg. Karen's culinary background includes time with LadyFingers, a high end catering business that thrived a few decades ago and was eventually acquired by Gladieux. She has also had the opportunity to travel extensively to major cities in both the US and Europe where she gained exposure and familiarity with specialized products and techniques.

Recently, Karen sold the business to the Oliver House. While Karen still maintains an advisory role with her esteemed attention to every detail, the day to day operations are handled by pastry chef, Liz Grosjean.

The breakfast menu features "savories", "signature organic granolas" and "pastries". While the pastries can vary, European standards are the norm. The Croissant and Pain au Chocolat are the perfect consistency of flaky, buttery heaven and come in regular ($2.50) and petit ($1.50) sizes. Scones ($.85), cheese strudel($2.50), Almond Kringler ($2.00) and Almond Cherry Jalousie ($2.00) are nothing less than melt in your mouth perfection.

For those seeking a heartier breakfast, there is frequently a Quiche of the Day
($5.50). If the last time you ate a quiche was in 1975, and you swore them off after the publication of "Real Men Don't Eat Quiche" - make a trip to Petit Fours just to try one again. Real men DO eat quiche, especially when they are prepared in the traditional French method with a combination of eggs, egg yolks, milk and heavy cream. The texture is more like custard and the result is magnifique! If you learn to love quiche, you can take home a 6" round ($10.95) or a 10" round ($24.95) and feed your family.

The house made signature granola is crunchy and delicious. Flavors include maple cherry walnut, honey peanut, and lemon ginger. The Signature Organic Granolas are served with yogurt ($4.25 petit/$5.50 regular) or cold milk ($4.00).

The lunch menu at Petit Fours is concise and well portioned. The signature tomato basil soup is thick and chunky with a chiffonade of basil sprinkled over the top. The soup du jour when I visited was a sherried mushroom soup that was divine. Both soups are available in a cup ($3.25) or a bowl ($4.25). I sampled the Croque Monsieur ($7.50), cold Curried Chicken salad sandwich ($7.25) and a "Parma Pasta" salad (side $5.25, regular $7.25).

The Croque Monsieur is made with brown sugar ham and smoked mozzarella on a Parmesan crusted bread. The combination of flavors is subtle and elegant. The cold curried chicken salad sandwich was a savory blend of roasted chicken, bamboo shoots, white raisins and a creamy lemon curry sauce served with sliced cucumber and alfalfa sprouts on a whole wheat bun. All sandwiches are served with thin and crispy, lightly seasoned, homemade potato chips. Ooh, la, la! They are so naughty.

The "Parma Pasta" salad contains walnut and basil pesto, fresh tomato slices and black olives. This is the only true pesto available in any restaurant in Toledo. If you've never tried pesto, or you've only tried that dreadful watered down version available in most Toledo Italian restaurants you MUST sample the Parma Pasta and find out why the Glass City Gourmet gets so grumpy when she doesn't get the real thing! Pesto is an unmistakable earthy blend of fresh basil, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts and olive oil. The Petit Fours version contains walnuts which is a worthy enhancement to the perfection of pesto.

After all of these wonderful options, it is impossible to resist the Patisserie that is the headliner at Petit Fours. The sweets range from cakes, cupcakes, pies, tarts, cookies, brownies, bar cookies, cream pastries and tea breads to puddings and cobblers. The selection is vast and changes daily. When I visited, I tried the peach cobbler ($3.25) and was pleased with the topping and not too sweet peaches. There is a Belgian Chocolate Brownie ($1.50) available. What else do you really need to know about that? I couldn't resist the caramel, almond and cherry bar ($1.50) or another round of Karen Lucas' signature Bourbon Balls (5 for $2.50).

Keep in mind that Petit Fours is a bakery and specializes in extraordinary wedding and special occasion cakes. Chef Grosjean has an album of her work to spark ideas and can work with almost any budget and theme to create a memorable and savory confection for any occasion. Call to set up an appointment.

If you want to have a cosmopolitan gourmet breakfast or lunch, while supporting the local economy, take time to find Petit Fours at the back of the Oliver House. If you crave the specialty pastries you ate the last time you were traveling, this is the best place in the area to fulfill your need.

“Glass City Gourmet” is a chronicle of one woman's attempt to cook, eat, diet and entertain with both flair and whimsy while based in Toledo, Ohio. I encourage you to read on as the "Glass City Gourmet" attempts grand recipes, samples locally owned restaurants, visits indigenous markets and humbly pursues her quest to be formally recognized as the official "Glass City Gourmet".

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