My Sunday morning routine involves hopping on my bike and peddling over to the Leucadia Farmers Market. If I’m solo, I power through it with three or four regular stops that always include Le Rendez-Vous for what I consider to be one of the best baguettes in North County. Given that Prager Brothers is at the same market and makes a damn fine baguette, it’s quite a claim but I’m sticking with it.
Maybe it’s the French background of the proprietors, but there are many details about the rustic baguette from Le Rendez-Vous that keep me coming back every week. First off, it’s a bit smaller than the standard baguette which makes it perfect for one or two people to enjoy over a couple of days. It also has a bit more crunch to the crust while maintaining the soft and fluffy inside.
One of my favorite parts of the experience is snapping off the well-done, crunchy ends of the baguette as I make my way around the market. I’ve tried in the past to wait until I got home but that did not last long. I’ll put this experience right up there in my top 10 culinary delights. I always incorporate the fresh baguette into my Sunday dinner, and it’s best paired with some type of sauce, soup or stew based entrée that transforms the baguette into the best dipping vessel ever.
If a portion makes it past Sunday dinner, I’ve discovered a trick that brings the baguette back to life on the second or even third day after purchase. Simply cut in half length-wise, like you would for a sandwich, slather it up with real butter, and press it into a hot pan with a tea kettle or other heavy pan smashing the baguette down. The butter softens it up and it becomes soft and pliable again, with a toasty goodness. This also works in a toaster oven, but not as well. Keep this technique in mind for day-old bagels as well as it works wonders for them also.
I should note that they have a nice selection of French pastries happening at their farmers market outpost and I occasionally indulge in those as well. There is some serious French baking talent going on at Le Rendez-Vous and knowing that made me want to explore their Oceanside café where all the baking happens and some savory delights are offered along with the sweets.
Their Oceanside café is in an Oceanside Boulevard strip mall, but don’t let that deter you, this is place is the real deal with a family of authentic French bakers working their magic. Baguettes are stacked and they share the stage with eye-candy delicacies that pop out of the deli case. Some of the sweets include layered éclairs, fruit tarts, tiramisus, rainbowed macarons and bread pudding just to list a few.
On the savory side of things, one item that I had my eyes on is their classic quiche — and oh my, is it delightful. It is not a large slice by any means but it is so rich and decadent that it’s modest size is more than enough. I’m putting this quiche in my top five for sure, maybe even top three and I’m hoping they can bring this dish to the farmers market on Sunday.
The classic French baguette sandwich is also available and because of the quality of the baguette they serve it on, it is a very solid sandwich. It had been a while since I’ve had a Croque-Monsieur so we added that to our lunch order as well. For those unfamiliar, it translates loosely into “mister crunch” and is baked or fried ham and cheese sandwich. It originated in French cafes and bars as a quick snack a quick snack.
A Croque Madame is a variant of the dish topped with an egg. It’s a delight and worth trying. There are also Paninis, Tartine Campagnarde and Croissant au Béchamel on the savory side of the menu.
The Oceanside location is worth the drive for sure and their outpost at the Leucadia Farmers Market should be a regular stop as you make your rounds through the market. It should be noted they will cater events and make amazing cakes for special occasions including weddings.
Coast News Lick the Plate columnist David Boylan is celebrating 10 years and 500 columns with the Coast News in 2019! His feature covers the ever expanding North County culinary scene that includes restaurants, culinary personalities, trends, observations, tributes and his popular takeover column where area businesses, bands or teams contribute to the column. Lick the Plate has also been a popular radio show for the past eight years in San Diego on 100.7 KFMB, and on stations in Detroit, Michigan, Windsor Ontario and Traverse City, Michigan. Besides the column and radio show, David runs Tatonka Digital & Analog, a boutique marketing agency headquartered in Oceanside, California. Reach him with show suggestions at email@example.com or www.lick-the-plate.com