Café Poupon

Café Poupon

225 N. Charles St., (443) 573-4620,

The Patisserie Poupon at 820 E. Baltimore St., in the shadow of the Shot Tower, is a magical little pastry and coffee shop, and is seemingly out of place on a street with a Cop Shop and a shifting array of campaign offices. Sitting there, you want a riverbank or a plaza to look out upon and ponder. Now, downtown denizens are in luck, as the new Café Poupon location at 225 N. Charles St. (adjacent to the historic Tremont Plaza Hotel) is three or four times the size and luxuriously appointed in red-stained oak and granite. Lunch is served.

On a recent visit, the day's quiches ($7) were bacon or spinach, but you'll see mushroom, tomato, asparagus, and leek on alternate days. Then there are the sandwiches. We chose a turkey ($6.95). The crusty bread is key-crunchy on the outside, chewy inside: a real baguette. The rest-fresh greens, tomato, turkey, cheese-it's perfectly serviceable. The café includes Dijon (Grey Poupon?) mustard on the side, a lot of it. The sandwich is made the way they like it. Nobody asked if we wanted lettuce or not. It's not like a Subway, and you won't mind. On another day we got the asparagus quiche, since it's fresh just about now. The counter-person asked if we wanted it heated (we did) and what we got was a beautiful 6-inch personal-pan quiche, the shell flaky and firm, the egg just smooth but neither runny nor rubbery, perfectly seasoned, with nice-sized asparagus bits in it.

The case here contains the same delectable assortment of cakes, éclairs, and-but of course-the trademark tarts ($3.50) as the East Baltimore Street location. We got the apple tart. The shell was flaky and not too sweet; the bottom sticky. Magnifique. Obviously, tart season is just getting underway. Expect blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries in the coming few months, but don't miss that asparagus quiche.

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