CHICAGO (WLS) -- When's the last time you saw quiche on a menu? The classic French dish - which is really a custard at its core - is the star of a new grab-and-go café that just opened this week in Lincoln Park.
Our Hungry Hound got an early taste, and says there's actually a lot more than just eggs, heavy cream and pastry crust on the menu.
Dominique Tougne is a veteran French chef in Chicago. He splits his time between La Voute in Homewood and Chez Moi in Lincoln Park. Diners of a certain age will also remember his long stint at Bistro 110 just off of Michigan Avenue. The native of Alsace is now tapping into his heritage, whipping up some of his favorite casual French dishes, including quiche.
Tougne spends a lot of time these days back in the kitchen of his Lincoln Park French Bistro, Chez Moi, even though the dining room has been closed for some time. That's because in order to create much of the menu for his latest project - French Quiche, just a couple blocks away - he needs the larger kitchen with the big oven to make the cafe's namesake.
"Quiche is another way to eat and have a meal basically that you can carry in a box," he said. "It's a custard. The softness - it's really rich but at the same time you have this light lunch. To take you can eat it cold, warm or hot. When it's cold it travels better than when it's hot actually."
He begins the process by beating a lot of eggs, and a generous amount of cream.
"All eggs and cream. For the texture, the best recipe I found was to use whole cream," said Tougne.
He grates in some nutmeg, and at this point, he can be creative with the fillings. An all-vegetarian Provenal, for example, or lots of bacon and onions for a classic.
"Traditional Quiche Lorraine is with bacon and onions; I like to put some Swiss cheese or gruyere into it," he said.
Baked until the eggs are set, the slices are generous, and the homemade flaky pastry shell holding it all together is just as impressive. But there's more than quiche here -- a lot more.
"We're serving French sandwiches on a baguette, croque monsieur; we're serving pastries for breakfast," said Tougne.
And in what he hopes customers will appreciate, it's all served in an atmosphere that allows for easy pickup.
"And the goal is to please everybody," he said.
They also make crepes, pour Big Shoulders Coffee and come springtime, have a gorgeous little patio in back where you can eat in peace.
2210 N. Halsted St.
2100 N. Halsted St.
La Voute Bistro
2034 Ridge Road, Homewood