All this talk of hiking and adventuring is making me hungry, so it's time for a another little foodie gem from our time on the road. The gem in question today is actually a charming little French bakery, appropriately called La Baguette, in the Old Colorado City part of Colorado Springs.
The bakery is housed in handsome brick building, sandwiched between a bar and a gift shop. Inside, exposed rafters give the place a slightly industrial feel, but the interior is bright and airy. There are cozy white-washed booths to fold yourself into, with small tables and cane chairs completing the Euro-cafe aesthetic. A hand-painted cluster of grapes adorns the kitchen door and the walls are hung with local artwork and vintage-looking posters extolling the virtues of the French trifecta - bread, cheese and wine.
While I haven't sampled their namesake, I've dined here - and fallen in love here - on two separate occasions. The first time was a few years ago, with a tall, dark, and frothy hazelnut cappuccino - possibly the best cup of coffee I have ever had. Ever. Why else would I tip $5 for a $2 cup of joe?
I've warmed myself with the memory of that gorgeous coffee many times since and, based on this wonderful chance encounter long ago, I dragged Matt halfway across the city to make sure we came back on our way through C-Springs. Crazy? Yes, but with good reason. The food and atmosphere were just as lovely as I remembered - and this time I fell in love with their justifiably popular French Onion Soup.
I'm a big fan of French Onion Soup, which is strange because I don't usually like things that are overly cheesy or oily. Still, I'm a sucked for the clear, molasses-colored broth, the smooth, translucent onions and the slightly soggy raft of bread with it's silky skin of toasted cheese. I order it whenever I get the chance - even at places I shouldn't (a-hem, Applebees!). I've even resorted to canned French Onion, but only in times of crisis. So I was in luck because, in the world of French Onion Soup, La Baguette's is le roi (okay, so I don't speak French, but for this soup, I'd try!).
Just looking at these photos again makes me wish for a few sweet onions and some Gruyere. Can you see the bubbles of cheese, hiding perfectly caramelized onions and a sweet, clear broth beneath? C'est un miracle!
While I was rhapsodizing about my soup, Matt was devouring an equally delicious-looking turkey-and-swiss croissant whose dimensions closely approximated those of a wooly mammoth. One thing is sure - you won't go hungry at La Baguette. In fact, I'd had my eye on a few items in the pastry case - I've heard wonderful things about their eclairs and pastry cream - but, by the time I'd finished my soup, even my dessert stomach was full! I actually offered half of my crusty, white roll to Matt - which was astonishing because the bread was quite fresh and very good. Luckily, he still had a bit of stomach room left after finishing his mammoth-sized croissant. At least it went to a good cause.
Sadly, I also didn't have any room for my favorite hazelnut coffee...or their delicate Opera cakes, or their buttery, sugar-dusted almond croissants, or their rich, crustless quiche, or their escargot (yes, they really do serve it!), or the number of other delicious things on their extensive menu - all of which just means that someday we'll have to come back. Again, and again, and again.