Hamid Rouchdi trained as an engineer and worked for major corporations like Orange, Airbus, and United Airlines before he decided to shift in a completely different direction and become a bakery owner. Rouchdi, who previously lived in Morocco and France, missed traditional French pastries and cafe culture, so he decided to fill the void himself. He did extensive research and imported talent and ovens from France to ensure the baked goods at Café Vendôme were authentic. Chef Karl, who oversees production, is an award-winning chef from Brittany, France with an incredible talent for French pastry.
Vendôme makes many different types of classic French pastries such as croissants, caneles, Madelines, and more. But my favorite thing to buy from the baker (aside from the caramel eclairs and macarons) is the baguette, which rivals competitors like Star Provisions and Proof. The baguette comes in two shapes, one skinny and one fat. The golden, crackly crust is super chewy and kind of fights back when you tear into it. The interior is airy, but has enough heft to make it the perfect accompaniment to a beef stew. Or simply spread on a good butter for an easy snack.
Café Vendôme serves breakfast and lunch six days a week. The menu is mostly made up of sandwiches, salads, and hot plates like quiche with salad. Naturally, all of the baked goods used in the dishes are made in-house. The goods are made throughout the day, so you can grab something fresh to take home whether it’s loaf of bread, a box of macarons, a refined French dessert, or even the homemade jam stacked next to the cashier. If the crowds of ladies and gentleman who lunch are any indication, Café Vendôme was sorely needed in this part of town and is a welcome addition to the scene.