A Taste of France
At the corner of Hertel and North stands a pâtissier complete with a small outside seating patio under an awning. When you walk through the door you’re immediately greeted with the open kitchen: bakers working at the ovens, line chefs at the stations, and servers bustling about. The large glass display case of scrumptious looking pastries can’t be ignored.
I’ve been to France a few times, and yet I’m not a fan of French food. However, I adore French pastries. There is something other-worldly about French baking that cannot be beat. It’s actually science: French flour has a different composition from American flour, which was first noticed by Julia Child when she tested her French recipes in American kitchens with stateside ingredients. She couldn’t get her baguettes to turn out as they did in Europe. At a loss, she hired a chemist who confirmed, to astonishment, that the chemical composition of the flour differed between the two countries. Which is why, I’m guessing, the bags of flour stacked in the windows of Camille is imported from France.
This was not my first time at Pastry by Camille. This restaurant has earned my patronage several times before, and I’ve recommended others visit too. However, this time I went in with the intention of choosing a dish for Vegetarian Buffalo!
This is not a vegan restaurant. Traditional to its French heritage, the menu items include butter, cream, eggs, and more. Hardly anyone is going to get out of a French patisserie without some animal protein. However, Camille does accommodate vegetarians, so here we are.
The menu has several delicious French dishes, many involving a type of ham, either speck or bacon, so consider it an easy sell to get your non-vegetarian friends to join you. A handful of dishes on the one-page menu do not include meat, and it’s entirely possible to stop in on a day when the specials include a vegetarian dish too. Once I lucked out and had a smore’s crepe made fresh in-house. It was divine.
What I Ordered
There’s nothing like a French Brioche to start your day right. The French Toast is made with a hearty slice of brioche bread topped with a berry jam, pistachios, fresh berries, and whipped cream. At $10 a plate, it’s not a cheap meal, but it is completely worth it.
The texture of the French toast was beautiful. The berry jam was hearty pureed fruit flesh with seeds still intact and fresh blueberries and strawberries were deliciously ripe. The whip cream was only lightly sweetened. The crushed pistachios were plentiful and added a texture that elevated the experience. Who knew French Toast needed that? Camille, that’s who.
My husband, recognizing the treat, ordered pastries. A buttery croissant was served with a house jam for $4.00. Mouthwatering crème patisserie filled the thin pastry layers of their massive $6.00 Mille Feuille. Everything (French Toast included) was served with a small white chocolate stamped with Pastry by Camille. A server made a round of the dining room and handed out birthday macaroons coated with sprinkles for a special occasion. Everything, I mean everything, was a scrumptious delight!
If you’re vegetarian and haven’t checked out Pastry by Camille, don’t let anything stop you. While options are limited, I completely vouch for the taste and satiety of what is available. Vegans, unfortunately, would be limited to a baguette, and possibly nothing more. Camille’s baguettes are wonderful, but they are only sold on weekends and sell out quickly. I lucked out on this visit and secured one to take home. We had it for breakfast the following morning with butter and homemade strawberry preserves, as one does.
Pastry by Camille is a treat and well worth the indulgence! It’s worth a special trip to Hertel Avenue.