The Spot: French Grocery, Open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m.
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What We Bought: Walking into French Grocery for the very first time, we weren't sure what to expect --maybe a bunch of Francophile foodie imports, maybe some classic Creole grocery goods? Much to our surprise (and eventual delight), we were met with a everything-from-scratch French bakery, gelato shop, and ready-made take home food service. Though French Grocery offers a selection of French cheese, we went straight to the pastry case. We sampled an orange sage macaron, an éclair, and, of course, beignets. The beignets are made to order (3 for $2.75), so what you get is assuredly pillowy soft, warm and covered in powdered sugar. The orange sage macaron ($1.40) is packed with flavor, unique and bold. The éclair ($3.50) was exactly what it should be -- smooth pastry cream sandwiched between flaky, buttery pastry covered in rich, dark chocolate.
If that doesn't get you going, maybe the chicken and andouille sausage gumbo ($5.95 with a side of Louisiana rice) will. The to-go serving is definitely filling, and while we're used to super-spicy gumbo 'round these parts, French Grocery's gumbo utilizes more complex flavors rather than just spicing it up to death. If the other take home options are this good, we can see ourselves stopping by French Grocery frequently after work for a quick, tasty and gourmet dinner that we can heat up in minutes.
What We Skipped: French Grocery just opened July 9, so not everything is exactly ready. In fact, half of the store space is empty. We definitely aren't holding that against them, but the grocery items for sale, such as locally roasted coffee, teas and jams, didn't strike our fancy either. We'll stick to what's made in-house for now.
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What We're Still Lusting Over: Pretty much everything. It's so exciting to have some genuine Creole cooking in Phoenix. Our must-try list for now includes cheddar and jalapeño grits ($4.95), fig jam gelato ($2.25 per scoop), chocolate pot de crème, ham and cheese croissants ($3.50), goat cheese and red pepper quiche, and crab and roasted corn bisque. We'll definitely be back and can't wait to see how the small operation grows into the space. Maybe someday the to-go only meals will be served to order in-house -- we can dream!