Boston, Cambridge and South End: Flour Bakery

One for the Table - Boston

Let's Eat by Kitty Kaufman, photos Dilusha De Tissera

Flour case Flour Bakery's got everything including things you didn't know you wanted from a bakery like sandwiches, salads, soup, pizza and quiche. There are, of course, the usual things you expect like pecan rolls and cookies; cakes with carrot, fruit, chocolate and mousse; tarts with fruit and chocolate, gluten and nut-free meals, and pies. I see no cupcakes. It doesn't matter.

Flour opens weekdays at 6:30 and goes through early dinner. Sometimes chefs work up front so you watch them assembling your lunch. If the counter's too tall, drooling on bakery cases is okay. Don't dawdle because lines form quickly. If you must, eat dessert first. It turns out that Flour people think so too since it's their slogan: "make life sweeter . . . eat dessert first." We always see people who cannot wait but we are not those people.

All Flour's are noisy and fun: high ceilings and concrete floors left over from the Farnsworth Street's former incarnation, and kids (their grilled cheese tastes nothing like home). The prep space is four times bigger than the common area. Twenty people are waiting. Here's what you do: Step up, give your order to a friendly server, go through the line, and pay. Gather napkins, condiments and straws before they call your number. We get a table.

This is Kim's first visit and she's debating salads: quinoa and tofu or bean and mozzarella? No, it's chopped Greek with romaine, feta, olives, onions, tomato, lemon chicken, chickpeas, cucumbers, pickled banana peppers and lemony green goddess dressing. Owner Joanne Chang says eaters underestimate the magic of balancing bread and filling. Yes, and salads too.

Flour lamb Has there ever been a better time to have a sandwich? Dilusha's favorite is roast lamb with chunky chutney and salty goat cheese. Rare meat's thinly sliced and piled with peppery arugula and feta on country bread. Just big enough so there will be room for dessert. I wonder if Flour thinks about beer and wine? Lamb does love wine.

Flour BLT Dilusha issues the usual "no BLT for you" but I come by them honestly. If you grew up in New York you had your best BLTs in coffee shops. (There were coffee shops everywhere.) If BLTs were too big, my mother and I would split one. But BLTs at Flour are sized right with bacon to write home about. Here's the whole Flour BLT: Applewood smoked bacon, mayo, tomato, and arugula on soft grilled toast. That's it. Chefs, enough with scatting BLTs: they're fine without the nectarines, the avocado, crisp toast, crab cake and shrimp salad. I have had BLTs with these add-ons and it's not pretty. It's like lobster thrown in with mac 'n cheese. It not only insults the lobster but the cheese too.

One day I have the portobello with pesto, mozzarella and tomato that's pressed into a gooey, green mouthful and it's splendid. Try turkey, tuna, chicken, roast beef, hummus and mozzarella variations all with great go-withs plus a breakfast sandwich done up with eggs, bacon and cheddar.

Oh right, dessert. Today, Kim goes for a macaroon cookie with a chewy almondy crispy outside. We see cookies for dogs along with people granola, apples, oranges, mugs, vegan, vegetarian, aprons and trail mix along with short bread, biscotti and coffee.

Flour is tarted up If you're too full, Flour people pack anything to go and nothing gets squished. We take the fruit tart home and nothing falls out. This baby travels from counter to table intact. I'm unboxing a pecan roll as Dilusha reminds me she is a chocolate person. Okay, I come from the bakery without an inch of chocolate. She forks into the tart as le bébé comes running from another room. Not only is it beautiful but the pastry is buttery. We survive without chocolate.

I'm nuts over the pecan roll. (My mother and I discuss what our ideal breakfast could be. It starts with eggs, potatoes, bacon and ends with grilled, buttered pecan rolls. Right, and then she pulls out the box of corn flakes.) Have it.

Flour Bakery
12 Farnsworth St with six others in Boston and Cambridge
Boston, MA 02210
617. 338. 4333

© January 6, 2014 for One for the Table. Dilusha De Tissera is a Cambridge photographer and marketing guru. Kitty Kaufman is a writer in Boston. See more food adventures at Corporate Edge and follow Kitty on Twitter
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