January 26, 2006

Jolie Croque Madame

Pretty woman, that Jolie Madame. Parisian crooner Charles Trenet sang her praises 20 years before Roy Orbison. The great French designer Pierre Balmain named a perfume Jolie Madame in 1953 (gardenia, bergamot, jasmine, leather).

But hey, enough of this perfume & pop-music vamp. This is a food column, so let's get to the classic Croque Madame, a staple of French cafes for the past century.

Zinc Bistro Croque Madame.jpg Zinc Bistro Macon blanc.jpg

3 PM and we're in an elegant development called Kierland Commons on the dividing line between Phoenix and Scottsdale. The place is the tres tres French Zinc Bistro, and the "Off Hour Menu" features an intensely flavored onion soup; mussels steamed with white wine, leeks and thyme; and as ideal a Croque Madame as you can hope for: brioche bread, a layer of bechamel sauce, thin slices of ham, melted Gruyere, and (this is what sets it apart from the Croque Monsieur) a perfectly poached egg.

Served with a (literal) tub of fries, it's all of $12. Add a small carafe of Macon blanc for $8 and you've got yourself a fine, fine meal. Merci, Madame!

DSCN4106.JPG Zinc Bistro interior.jpg

Zinc Bistro, 15034 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale AZ, 480-603-0922 Zinc Bistro on Urbanspoon

Posted by Ronald Holden at January 26, 2006 9:43 PM

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True, brioche is sweeter and more cake-like. But it's a good substitute for pain-de-mie. Better than Wonderbead, certainly.

Posted by: ronald at January 27, 2006 10:11 AM

Hey, it's not a Parisian Croque Madame, not if the Scottsdale French demand brioche bread under it! But it's about the same price we pay here (minus the frites), so we're not going to object on your behalf. Pass the vin blanc, s'il te plait.

Posted by: the Paris pal at January 27, 2006 9:37 AM