Saturday, June 10, 2006

La BonBonerie

Now entering Wonderland (Click to enlarge)

After a fun morning of shopping at Trader Joe's, it was time for a little kicking back at lunchtime and Mary suggested we go to La BonBonerie in O'Bryonville for tea. The BonBonerie has been around since the mid-1980s and is cherished as the most long-lived place in town for gorgeous made-to-order, custom cakes. The bakery also carries a wide selection of small, single portion desserts like mini-cheesecake bites and cupcakes, as well as properly crumb-y full size scones, among the various cakes and tarts being coveted by a shopful of customers.

The quirky and whimsically appointed Tearoom was full of happy patrons when we arrived during a cold, drizzling rain. Charming in a fetching mismatched kind of way, each table was different and mated to a variety of orphaned chairs. It reminded me a little of the place I used to hangout in when I was in high school: rather boho and a lot of fun. A server showed us to a small table for two, which was decked out with a girly pink frou frou lamp, and left us with menus to peruse as I tried to drink in the atmosphere. It was a lively scene full of mothers and children, friends catching up on the day's events, and an elderly couple sitting near the door, monitoring the rain's progress. Mary, a longtime habituée, of BonBonerie, served as my guide on this culinary adventure.

Quiche of the Day

The menu was chockful of food and drink options, and I deferred to Mary's good taste since this is one of her favorite haunts. Since I hadn't been there before, we decided to split our choices and ordered the Quiche du Jour (on this occasion, asparagus) served on a bed of baby greens with homemade balsamic vinaigrette, fresh fruit and tea cookies and the Tea Lunch, with three types of finger sandwiches (cucumber, egg salad, and cheese spread on date-nut bread), fresh fruit and cookies (each $7.50). To wash it all down, Mary suggested we order a large pot of black tea infused with violets ($4.50). It was the perfect choice, taking the chill off the day and lending our meal a delicate floral flavor. Other drink options include tisanes, espresso, and Italian sodas. (There are over 75 varieties of tea alone!) There's even a white hot chocolate.

Tea Lunch for One

After lunch, while waiting for a break in the downpour which the former drizzle had become, I found myself coveting a funky square wooden table near the door with gaps between its planks. It was painted that old shade of greenish blue made popular by folk art collectors and (dare we speak her name?) Martha back in the 80s. It was artfully distressed and so was I. I want it for my kitchen! And I want it now! ;-)

Tempting goodies in the bakery case (Heaven help!)

Before leaving, we made the short trip up the stairs to the bakery. It was a madhouse, but we managed to get through the crowd to make some purchases for midnight snacking later. No doubt, we'll be back again!

La BonBonerie
2030 Madison Road (Entrance and parking is on O'Bryon Street)
Cincinnati, OH 45206
Telephone: (513) 321-3399
Tearoom open Monday-Friday from 7:30am-5:30pm and on Saturdays from 8am-3pm
Bakery open Monday-Friday from 7:30am-5:30pm and on Saturdays from 8am-4pm


Blogger Garrett said...

Did they let you take flash photos? I fear taking pictures in the restaurant when others are dining. I figure it would irk most others if i started shuttering every dish that came my way. I figure, at the least, I'll take a picture of the facade for my reviews, or use one from their website.

5:50 PM  
Blogger Willa Frank said...

it was kind of a madhouse that day, what with all of the general uproar, and our table was in a corner of its own, facing (if an inanimate object has a "face" ;-)) the wall. it's overall a very casual and relaxed place. i think the issue of taking the photos rests on using good judgment and, certainly, when in doubt, asking if it's all right.

6:09 PM  
Anonymous Mary Twiss Connolly said...

Of course it always helps if you have a digital camera that has the option of snapping photos at low light.

Hee hee - this is one of the funnest reviews I've read in a long time, Sandye, and certainly puts my feeble attempts to shame. I'm a long-time habituée - I love it. :D

We'll have to go back, Sandye, to try the chocolat chaud blanc - decadent!

2:07 AM  

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