By Heather Hoch
By Eric Schaefer
By New Times
By Rachel Miller
By Eric Schaefer
By Heather Hoch and Lauren Saria
By Robrt L. Pela
By Heather Hoch
We're sitting at a cute little table at the cute little Vie de France bistro and bakery next to Kierland, talking about this home-improvement project he's helping me with. And he's trying to explain
The bottle is empty now, and this is still all I hear: Blah blah more money, blah blah a lot more money, blah blah big delays, blah blah much, much more money. He's not impressed with the science of my defense
Parisian egg and cheese crepe $5.95
Turkey-and-Swiss crepe $6.50
Quiche, slice $3.99
Spinach- and feta-stuffed croissant $3.99
Black-and-white espresso cake $3.50
I'd thought that taking away his home-court advantage would help him regain faith in my brain skills. I've lured him away from the pile of rubble and pipe stubs that used to be my guest bath to a place I do understand
But then I read the label and discover that, rather than improving my cognitive skills, the brand name is rewarding me just for selecting it. Its manufacturer thinks I'm already mighty bright for choosing this water, which is "specially formulated for superior purity, rapid hydration, maximum detoxification and delicious taste."
Well, if I were intelligent enough to have known all that, I'd also know how to put in my own tile. I picked this bottle because it's pretty.
That's okay, though. Even if my friend thinks I'm home-improvement challenged, I'm all over him with aioli. I take snippy pleasure in telling him that it's not mayo on his LK sandwich, a crusty baguette stuffed with tender roasted Boar's Head turkey, mild Havarti, leaf lettuce and tomato. Aioli
I also get to imply that he's the knothead for not knowing what the tapenade on my Uncle D sandwich is; it tops a hefty mouthful of creamy albacore salad sparked with apple chunks and red onion in a baguette. Tapenade, I explain as easily as extolling the different PSI values of copper tubing, is a thin paste of black olive, anchovy and capers. Without it, the tuna sandwich is fine; with it, it's great.
And I'm not embarrassed to admit that I wanted to try Vie de France
Vie de France imported the special bricks used in its ovens, I'm told, something about re-creating the heat and humidity levels essential to turning out the golden, perfectly crisp crust and inner texture that characterizes authentic French breads. My building buddy is fascinated with the construction details. All I hear, though, is Blah blah French boule, blah blah Italian focaccia, blah blah challah, blah blah pumpernickel, multigrain, sourdough and rye. The bread is way too good for me to care about bricks and mortar; I'd rather slather a sourdough baguette with the homemade jams, jellies and spoon fruit jars that line Vie's gourmet grocery shelves.
Vie de France makes its own croissants, big buttery gems that demand great restraint to stop me from working through multiple flavors: strawberry or raspberry cream cheese, raisin cream, apple, chocolate, almond and cinnamon swirl. Little is more life-affirming than a croissant served flaky, fresh and moist. They serve an alternate purpose, too
The croissants are stunning when stuffed themselves, too, served warm and rich around savory deli meats and cheeses, spinach and feta, broccoli-mushroom-Cheddar, Cheddar omelet or sausage-Cheddar omelet.
The bright store, with its polished, green concrete floors, lemon-colored walls and funky chrome snake lights, has become my happy place of late, cheerful and convenient in its proximity to the circus of home-improvement stores in and around the Airpark. One day begins with challah French toast, a fluffy pile topped with sweet cheese, maple syrup and powdered sugar, rounded out by golden-edged morning potatoes and bacon or sausage. Then it's on to Lowe's, to learn that the drainage system for my new tub costs almost as much as the tub, must be custom ordered and won't be available for weeks.
At lunch, I drown my sorrows in a superb chicken-tortilla soup, slurping hot spoonfuls of hearty broth studded with corn and capped with Cheddar. Alongside I've chosen a crepe, dainty thin but the size of a small throw rug, packed with tangy Swiss, thin sliced tomatoes, shaved turkey and aioli. Then, it's back into the trenches, with my construction cohort shaking his head as I struggle to understand why replacing a vanity with a pedestal sink requires completely new plumbing fittings.