Local Hawaii ingredients used with an international flair
Friday, January 21, 2011
La Tour Café flatbread does a darn good impersonation of pizza
by Nanette Geller
La Tour Café has only been open for 10 days, and we’ve already enjoyed lunch there three times. I really like the flatbread, which reminds me of the pizza I ate almost every day when staying with my mother in Nice. Why eat pizza in Nice? Nice used to be part of Italy, so pizza, pasta, and other “Italian” foods are as common – and as good – as French food.
La Tour Café’s flatbread is made from organic-flour sourdough, which they age to allow the development of complex flavors. The crust is flavorful and thin but still flexible, not cracker-like. It comes lightly charred (as it should be) and with toppings in proportion. We’ve had the Italian and grilled vegetable toppings.
We also enjoyed the Croque Monsieur tartine, an open-face version of the classic hot ham-and-cheese sandwich. Actually, pretty much anything would taste good on La Tour’s hearty, flavorful sourdough bread.
The Vietnamese-style chicken curry is served with thick slices of La Tour’s baguette instead of rice, which makes sense given Vietnam’s adaptation of French foods when they were a colony. The Vietnamese-style baguette, long familiar to lovers of Ba-Le sandwiches, has a crispy crust with a soft interior, perfect for mopping up the curry’s sweet, coconutty gravy.
I was disappointed in Nadine Kam’s review, especially since her descriptions of the flatbread and Croque Monsieur were so different from what we ate. I can only assume that, since she ate there within a day or so of opening, they were still ironing out some glitches. John Heckathorn’s Honolulu Magazine post is more in line with our experiences.
We will probably continue to buy Rodney Weddle’s marvelous La Tour artisanal breads at the farmers’ market, but it’s nice to have an alternate source if we run out, or if we want just two macarons or one croissant to share. By the way, we did agree with Nadine Kam’s description of the macarons as “more chewy than crispy, light and airy” when we ate them cold, but left at room temperature for a couple of hours they were perfect. Martha Cheng did a nice piece on the bakery side of the business in the Honolulu Weekly.
La Tour Café is open every day 7am to 9pm. There’s a breakfast menu which includes Croque Madam (Croque Monsieur topped with a fried egg), and dinner specials such as gnocchi. It’s located at the Diamond Head corner of the old Weyerhaeuser building on Nimitz Highway, right near Best Buy, Home Depot and Costco.
La Tour Café
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