Les Pascals bakery opens in Glen Ellen
The much anticipated Les Pascals Pâtisserie et Boulangerie opened Saturday in the so-called “yellow building” in Glen Ellen, and was instantly crowded to the gills with happy new customers.
It is called Les Pascals because the married couple who own the bakery, Pascale and Pascal Merle, share the basic same name. They met in France where he made pastries and treats at multiple well-reputed patisseries such as Boulangerie Follet, Pâtisserie Vial, and Henon for nearly 40 years. Eventually he and Pascale moved to Carmel where they owned Lafayette Bakery, and then returned to France.
Christine Hansson, owner of “the yellow building” and the next door Chauvet Hotel across Arnold Drive from Glen Ellen Village Market, completely revamped the building, installed the finest state-of-the-art baking equipment, added a parking lot and lovely flower-accented flagstone patio with handicapped accessibility, et voila.
Pascal generously gave this writer a tour of the kitchen a week before opening, and it is very impressive. What was even more impressive, was Pascal’s deep passion for baking and setting out his art and craft for people to enjoy. His life and love are in his baking. Pascale, with an “e,” exudes her experience and love of hospitality by managing the “front of the house,” which is only a few steps from “the back of the house” where her husband creates sweet and savory delights.
Sean Perry bakes the bread in the wee hours of the morning, and the loaf I bought was wonderful.
On Monday I ventured out to Glen Ellen and tried a square slice of quiche Lorraine, which is loaded with French and Black Forrest ham. The macarons are brightly colored, and croissants, both plain and almond, might be the best in Sonoma Valley. 934-8378.
Local chef Michael Mullins makes it real
Kenwood native Michael Mullins is capturing the crowds at the new Perch & Plow, which is a second floor restaurant facing Santa Rosa’s Old Courthouse Square.
You might recognize the name because his father, J. Michael Mullins, served as Sonoma County District Attorney and now as Dean of Empire Law School.
A couple of weeks ago, Liz Mullins – mother of Perch & Plow’s chef Michael – and Susan and Lori Miron and I all invaded the large restaurant to try as many items on the menu as we could. We are all old friends and neighbors. Liz reminded Michael and me that I was the first friend to see Michael when she brought the newborn home from the hospital.
Mullins graduated from St. Francis Solano School, Cardinal Newman, and the University of London. From London he ventured out to sample cuisines of several European cities, adding to his love of his Texas grandmother’s cooking.
Back in New York, Mullins graduated from the CIA-Hyde Park and did his externship at Park Avenue Café, then earned a degree in hospitality management from the University of San Francisco. Mullins praises his mentors including chef Mark Dommen of One Market, Max Schacher formerly of Kenwood Restaurant, chef Umit Ozkaya, Ben Davies of Russian River Vineyards Traci des Jardins, and Josh Silvers of various Santa Rosa restaurants. He also cooked for Google’s caterer, Bon Appetit Management, and at Cavallo Point in Sausalito.
The four of us tried the spiced almonds, Castelvetrano olives, Ahi tuna poke, Ceviche, beet salad, Little Gem wedge with blue cheese dressing, roasted Brussels sprouts, charred cauliflower, grilled octopus, loaded-with-fish fish stew, buttermilk friend calamari and a house burger. Everything was excellent. Hate to admit it, but we ate everything. ($5 to $22). Long bar with $12 cocktails, most draft beers $7. Open 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday. 90 Old House Square, Santa Rosa. 541-6896.