La Madeleine: C’est belle!

By: Elizabeth Webber Akre

As soon as school got out, my daughter, my mom and I hopped on an airplane to go back to Texas. My sister won a cruise from her company, so she and her husband were headed for the Caribbean. We were the babysitters for my 4-year-old niece. Yes, we are the longest-distance traveling babysitters. Ever.

Any of you moms know that 4-year-olds can really give you a run for your money. While we had lots of cool excursions planned (Sea World, Wildlife Ranch, Houston Zoo, Kemah Boardwalk) we tried to keep her normal schedule at Montessori as many days as possible. After dropping her at school one morning, the three of us headed to La Madeleine. Although this is a chain, it’s a country French-style café complete with a wonderful bakery and a selection of patisseries that rival any I’ve seen in France. If you’ve never visited France, it’s worth a trip just to see the window displays of the local patisseries that exist in every single town. They are vibrant works of art!

This place was fantastic. The décor was authentic, with rustic country-style tables, chairs, and wood flooring – truly country French. My daughter went to the bathroom about 6 times because they have French language lessons playing over the stereo in there. Each trip brought her back to the table with a new word or phrase.

It was hard to make a choice because there were so many beautiful selections. Vivian chose a lemon muffin with decadent lemon custard filling and the housemade lemonade (the kid likes lemon!). My mom ordered the Cinnamon French Toast and I went with Quiche Lorraine.

Let’s start with the muffin. The fact that the child chose lemon over all the ooey-gooey chocolate items and shiny, glossy fruit tarts was pleasantly surprising. But she surprises me a lot. The muffin was delicious on its own, but then to discover that custard hiding in the center was a great treat.

lemon muffin

Mom’s French toast was amazing, to say the least. It was crisp brioche with a rainbow of fruit on top, and it sported a dollop of “real deal” whipped cream. It was way more than one person could eat, so Viv and I were able to have a few yummy bites.

French toastThe quiche was very nice as well. It was roughly a 6” pie, perfect for one. The crust was so super flaky, which always makes me jealous since piecrust is my culinary nemesis! The filling was rich (real cream I suppose, which is how I like to make mine) and tasted very authentically French.

quiche lorraine

After finishing our relaxing petit déjeuner, Viv selected two adorable mini lemon tarts to take home to share with her little cousin later. Now that I know that La Madeleine is a chain, I’m trying to think of everyone I know in the restaurant biz so I can convince them to open one here. We have nothing like it and I can’t imagine anyone not liking this menu. Until my next visit to Houston, bon appétit La Madeleine!

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