Flour Bakery + Cafe
@ 1595 Washington Street (at Rutland St.), South End, Boston, MA
A sandwich is not a simple thing. The concept is simple enough, but variations on the theme make it anything but. A melting hot cheesy Panini or Cuban sandwich, a Foot Long Submarine piled high with salty Italian meats and cheeses, dripping with oil and vinegar, a hot Phili Cheese Steak sandwich (Steak Bomb in my parts)…or there is the more Homemade nostalgic sandwiches like PB&J and the ubiquitous Grilled Cheese, or maybe you grew up with Mayo-heavy Egg and/or Chicken and/or Tuna Salad. Any which way, you have a memory of brown paper bags from childhood that has more than likely carried over in some way to adulthood. A sandwich from Flour not only dresses up the brown bag version, but maximizes anyone’s idea of a simple sandwich.
Sandwiches: There are about a dozen or so sandwiches to choose from including the daily specials and the regular menu. They all sound great, look great and…taste even better! While we stood in line debating our options we told the guy behind us to skip right ahead. He thanked us and then proclaimed: "Don't worry, anything you get will be excellent!" As he waited to order, our decisions were quickly made and an outdoor table was procured.
Roasted lamb, tomato chutney & goat cheese: The greatest surprise in here was the moist and pink Roasted Lamb. I am certain this meat had been cooked the same day, allowed to cool and carved on site. The chutney was strong and tangy, and made me think of a cross between a regular pickle relish and the tomato and onion mixture you get with Nan at an Indian restaurant. The goat cheese just added a little mellowing to the tangy chutney, and the bread was toasted from a very crusty white loaf. The crunch, the juicy meat, the tang of the chutney and the mellow cheese…it was a perfectly balanced meal between two slices of warm bread.
Oven-roasted veggies & goat cheese: A mound of freshly roasted veggies tasted fresh and sweet, most assuredly roasted that day. Zucchini, squash, portabellos and red peppers were sweet and salty in their own natural goodness, mellowed by the same creamy goat cheese from the lamb sandwich. The red peppers were the most deliciously perfect marinated and roasted version of this. Not oily at all, they tasted as fresh as my grandmothers homemade peppers used in antipasto! The bread was the most perfect part of this sandwich. Its outward crustiness and inner softness reminded me of the Tuscan-style breads that are baked with cornmeal, to assure the crustiest of crusts! There were no runny juices from the veggies to destroy the perfect texture and handling of this superb sandwich.
A side note: if you like seltzer or a tart soda, Flour makes its own Raspberry Seltzer…give it a try, its very refreshing on a summer day!
Dessert: A Peanut Butter 'Oreo' cookie sandwich was inventive and familiar all at once. The two midnight black cookies the texture of Nilla Wafers and flavor of semi-sweet chocolate sandwiched a soft and smooth peanut butter filling. It did not crunch like an oreo, but it was a great twist on the concept. I still believe that the greatest thing in the world for dessert is any chocolate with any peanut butter, so I was not a partial judge. It was rich and filling, and the price, $1.50, was more than justified.
Price: The sandwiches were $6.95 to $7.95, the pastries were $1 - $3 bucks. Its basically the same cost as a Au Bon Pain/Panera-ish place, but HIGH Quality and fresh as can be.
Overall: As a sandwich shop, a pastry shop, a place to get a cup of coffee…this is the kind of small local food establishment that people should put their money into to help us keep the Mom and Pop places alive. Next time you are near the South end and need a fresh sandwich or something to satisfy the sweet tooth - the only answer is Flour Bakery + Cafe.