French Daisies at Petite Jaqueline
Crepes had been on my mind all week. A sweet crepe. A delicious crepe filled with warm Nutella and ripe slices of banana. If James Lipton of the Actors Studio were to ever ask me, “What would you like to hear God say at the pearly gates?”, it’s possible my reply would include Nutella and banana.
With this crepe desire in mind, I brought home our French Daisy necklace, bracelet, and earrings for Nicole to wear in anticipation of weekend brunch at the Merry Table on Wharf St.
Heading into town Nicole found the restaurant on Yelp. “They’re closed” she said. I was incredulous. I was sure I saw on their website that they were open. “Not closed for the day, closed for good.” she said. While I was struggling to comprehend the unfolding situation, Nicole came through with an excellent alternative.
Petite Jaqueline was a quiet place at 1pm on a Sunday. Maybe it was the weather, or because it was past noon, but we got the feeling that it was not the most popular place in the city for Sunday brunch. This is definitely a shame, because after having the food we would both wait in line for a table!
The interior of Petite Jaqueline mixes provincial French with urban cool – light vanilla yellow beadboard and white trim suggest a welcoming bistro in Provence while the high ceilings and tall glass windows overlooking Longfellow Square are all city.
Nicole ordered a decaf coffee. It came with a mini carafe of milk and a bowl of sugar cubes. I almost ordered a coffee myself just to use the sugar cubes.
The menu had a good mix of sweet and savory items. Nicole went for the burger and fries. The Croque Madame stood out mostly because I remember learning of it in 5th grade French. I decided to give it a try. It was actually Croque Monsieur that I recall from French class. Both, I found out, are ham and cheese sandwiches; the difference is the Madame has a fried egg on top.
The Madame arrived looking bland and uninspiring – covered in a white cheese sauce. Looks were deceiving because the first bite revealed an intensely satisfying sandwich. Smoky brined ham. Melted gruyere cheese. Two slices of buttered white bread toasted to the perfect point of crunch. A mornay sauce with a subtle nuttiness and fried egg to top it off. All components balanced in delicious harmony. It was great.
Nicole’s burger came topped with caramelized onions, cheese, and aioli. It was delicious. It tasted like French onion soup and a really good burger put together! She liked the size of the burger too- it was not too huge, but just enough to fill her up. We both agreed that it’s in the top three burgers in Portland!
The fries here are also really good. You could tell they were made fresh, and they give you a lot, which is great for sharing.
As we were driving home Nicole was already planning a return visit another Sunday, maybe the salmon eggs benedict and some pastries? Oui s’il vous plaît!