It’s a truth (nearly) universally acknowledged that buying a house you love is the cornerstone of the American dream. Often left out of that narrative is the fact that packing and moving all your belongings can be a nightmare. Rather than move all in one cortisol-drenched go, my boyfriend and I decided to spread our move out over almost two months. While we did avoid finding ourselves in the situation where everything we owned was simultaneously packed away, we instead lived in a sort of limbo where we knew our things were unpacked and accessible, but we weren’t certain which dwelling they were in. Or two-thirds of the things we needed to make dinner were in one home, but a key ingredient or utensil was in the other. Don’t even get me started on how many times I showed up to the new place with a car full of boxes and an empty stomach and proceeded to spiral into hanger-fueled panic almost immediately.
The solution to all this? Lots and lots of takeout meals, many of them lukewarm and dispiriting, consumed out of dire necessity, not desire.
But there has been a bright spot in all of this. In our new neighborhood, minutes from our house, is a beloved institution and the perfect place to stop in to get lunch before you unpack all your worldly possessions except for the pan you really need to make eggs.
I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve gone to Deluxe Bakery in the last two months, but they have gotten me through many an afternoon of unpacking and questioning why I’ve amassed so many pairs of shoes.
Most recently I stopped to pick up something before heading into work on a Saturday to make up hours lost to, you guessed it, moving. Getting a nice lunch to eat at my desk was my way of taking a bit of pleasure in the experience.
The offerings at Deluxe are things that most of us have seen and eaten before — sandwiches, croissants, cookies and pastries — but everything is so perfectly executed and beautifully presented that it feels like something special. Surveying the offerings in the pastry case is like looking into a jewel box: it’s a glittering riot of color.
I always have a hard time deciding what to order because everything looks wonderful. So I’ve just been working my way through the menu, one savory item and one sweet one at each visit. This time I chose veggie quiche and a glistening fruit tart that was almost too pretty to eat. Everything was packaged to go in a recyclable paper container, a touch that I appreciated. Once at the office, I plated them on a real plate and tucked in.
The quiche was silky, made with a creamy blend of cheddar and broccoli and a peppery flavor that emerged a couple bites in. The crust was layered and flaky, more like a croissant or the phyllo dough used in baklava than the pie-style crust one usually finds in quiche. It also had a hint of sweetness that seemed like it shouldn’t have worked with the other flavors but did. In my experience, including with quiches I’ve made at home, the eggs are often firm, just this side of overdone, but the eggs in this quiche were browned to a slight crisp on top and were custardy underneath, soft enough to sort of melt in the mouth but set enough to not leave a gummy residue on the fork. Quiche is a simple dish that even a novice cook can make a brunch-worthy version of, but to achieve these textures requires a true mastery of the ingredients. I don’t know how they accomplished it.
The tart was simple and beautiful. It was about 3.5 inches in diameter, with a crisp crust, a custard filling and topped with syrup0lacquered berries that glistened. And it was as tasty as it was lovely; the filling had a mild sweetness that cut the acidity and moderated the tartness of the berries. It was about four bites — the perfect serving size, neither too little nor too much.
Deluxe has performed the vital function of keeping me fed during an extended move, but now that that move is complete, I look forward to making my way through their menu in a more leisurely and luxuriant way, one sweet and one savory bite at a time.
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