Sunday, April 3, 2011
Thuet's hands did not touch my quiche
This morning I slept in. The Royal York Hotel is such a spectacular hotel, who wouldn’t want to take advantage of the beautiful surroundings. I snuggled under the pouffy duvet, the billowy pillow soft on my cheeks and ran my legs across the luxuriously silky sheets. Now this is heaven.
I lazily got up and went for a walk on the warm spring Sunday morning. I walked up Front, to Bay then King and decided to walk east. I had no idea where I was going but was hoping to find a great coffee house for breakfast. What I found was Petite Thuet.
It was an inviting little pâtisserie with painted concrete floors, small dark tables and soft, upholstered French chairs. Behind the pastry counter were piles of artisan bread. On the back wall were dozen of mason jars filled with preserves and other amazing ingredients.
The pastry counter was filled with dozens of mini tarts holding French custard and fruit. Everything was mini from the lemon meringue and apricot frangipane to the chocolate mirror tart and chocolate éclairs. There was succulent quiche, buttery warm croissant and many other French pastries such as millefeuille, brightly coloured meringues and Mama Thuet’s Alsatian apple and almond torte. There were Madeleines, macaroons and other things I didn’t recognize with layers of sweet cream, chocolate ganache and other sinfully delicious things.
It’s the kind of place that naturally inspires a face-plant right in the middle of it all. I’m secretly doing the face plant in my mind while trying to look like I’m still pondering my decision.
I smile at the young guy behind the counter who is trying not to look too out of place. He’s looking much more like a rough and tumble hockey player than a young preppy coffee barista. After a brief conversation with the hockey player, I opt for the quiche lorraine and – oh no, first strike, no chai latte. I ask for an herbal tea.
That’s when I notice a lone cookbook in a basket by the cash register and I recognize the face of celebrity chef Marc Thuet. It was his cookbook, French Food My Way. What’s the connection between Thuet and this pâtisserie I ask, knowing what the answer would be. I’m told this is Thuet’s pâtisserie and that he even made some of the pastries in the shop today. Wow, I thought, some of the delicious pastries I see could have actually been touched by Thuet. I ask which ones. The hockey player begins to stumble and quickly saves himself by telling me the quiche I ordered was made by Marc that morning.
Oh, yea right I thought. I took my tea that was served in a paper cup (oh, yuk) and my china plate with my microwaved quiche and a – what is this? A plastic fork! Aughhhhh. I asked if I could read the cookbook, took it to a small table and began to leaf through it while I ate my delicious breakfast. Halfway through I looked at the quiche. It was warm on the outside but stone cold on the inside. I know for certain the hockey player will only nuke the heck out of it so I eat on. I have to disagree with the hockey player, Thuet didn’t make this quiche. But someone did because it certainly wasn’t processed and it was delicious in spite of the temperature.
I watched as people came in and out buying specialty pastries. It seems brownies are the most popular; but then again this was Toronto not the Thuet Boulangerie in Alsace.
If you happen to be in Toronto, I highly recommend Petite Thuet and buy lots of pastry to bring home (I did!).