Cari Taylor-Carlson

Try Rocket Baby For Lunch

Yes, the pastries are fabulous. But the lunches are pretty tasty, too.

By - Nov 16th, 2018 11:15 am
Rocket Baby Bakery. Photo by Cari Taylor-Carlson.

Rocket Baby Bakery. Photo by Cari Taylor-Carlson.

Most people familiar with Rocket Baby know it as a bakery of artisan bread and gorgeous pastries, a place where lingering at the counter display is almost de rigueur. It has the look and charm of a typical Parisian café, casual with fire engine red chairs, a high ceiling, and a black-and-white floor. When sunshine floods the room from large windows that front North Avenue and 69th Street, you can relax with a cup of their strong coffee and pretend you are lingering in a neighborhood café in Paris.

Macarons. Photo by Cari Taylor Carlson.

Macarons. Photo by Cari Taylor Carlson.

You can’t find anything at Rocket Baby short of utterly delicious. Here are a few of my favorites from a long list: all the macarons, especially lemon, vanilla, and pistachio; the monkey bread, bundles of croissant dough enhanced by lots of cinnamon sugar, packed together, baked, and finished with frosting, a yummy, sticky mess; the bacon cheddar croissant; the impossibly buttery chocolate chip cookie, especially when it’s teamed with Kopps vanilla ice cream; and the decadent carrot cake with layers of cream cheese frosting, enough to satisfy even the most demanding carrot cake aficionado.

You might not think of Rocket Baby as a lunch destination; I didn’t, until after several visits to try out some of their lunch choices. Now it’s a satisfying go-to place on the west side for a quick meal and a cookie.

I should have read the menu description more carefully before I ordered Grilled Cheese. There was no issue with the cheese, a mix of Carr Valley cheddar, Swiss, and goat cheese melted together into a gooey blend. For some reason, instead of grilling it, they served it in a crusty baguette. I don’t know why. The French don’t put cheese in a baguette and call it “Grilled.” Less bread, more cheese would have been better, or they could have made the sandwich with pan de mie or sourdough, instead of using the baguette like a package. But the cup of Tomato Soup tasted like a garden tomato with both acid and sweetness in the mouth. It made an ideal companion to the cheesy, albeit frustrating, sandwich.

My companion, however, couldn’t stop raving about her BLT, and with good reason, given its house mayo, the more than generous portion of thick-sliced, slightly crisp bacon, and the toasted pan de mie. Like all the sandwiches, it came with either kettle chips or a side salad. The salad, dressed with a light vinaigrette, tasted as if they just picked the lettuce from a garden outside the back door.

For more bacon, you can add it to the Breakfast Sandwich, Yuppie Hill scrambled eggs and melting cheese on a ciabatta roll, for an anytime, breakfast or not, satisfying meal.

Like the Grilled Cheese, for the Ham and Cheese sandwich, they stuffed Berkshire ham, Swiss and arugula, inside a crusty baguette. I didn’t find the bacon aioli until I got to the bottom of the baguette where it had settled. It was a tasty aioli despite its unexpected appearance when it unfortunately squirted at my face and drizzled down my chin. It would have been even more delicious had it been on the sandwich instead of on my nose.

Apple Salad, according to my companion, made a satisfying, albeit light lunch. The combination of crisp Granny Smith apples played well with the almonds and goat cheese, a generous portion of each, tossed with more of those lovely fresh greens. An apple cider vinaigrette bonded tart, crunchy, creamy, and crisp.

For a quick lunch, from 11:00-2:00, you can also grab a square of pizza with its thick chewy crust, a lunch to go.

As we left, my companion, who is a fussy eater said: “This is the best BLT I’ve ever had. I would come here every week; the food was that good.”

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