Start the day off right at these tip-top breakfast venues in Medford, Central Point
Few things put the “good” in morning’s standard salutation like artisan pastries and coffee.
And mornings in downtown Central Point and Medford have been so much better this spring, since two distinguished bakers established cafes. Among specialities that Coquette Bakery and Herb & Flour Patisserie share in common are coffees roasted in the Rogue Valley.
A fixture at Southern Oregon farmers markets for the past eight years, Coquette coveted a commercial space between Rogue Creamery and Lillie Belle Farms in Central Point’s Front Street artisan corridor, said co-owner Denika Voget. Vacated by Ledger David Cellars late last year, the building’s turn-key accommodations with ample space for outdoor seating convinced Voget and husband Tom to open in late March — after just a few months’ preparations.
“We were perfectly happy doing farmers markets, but when opportunity knocks, you have to be ready to pivot,” said Voget. “It’s only been less than two months, and we feel like we have been a fixture in the neighborhood for years.”
Coquette, indeed, confidently and convincingly bridges the span between Southern Oregon’s most celebrated cheesemaker and chocolatier. Bakery specials occasionally incorporate products from each neighbor while highlighting Pennington Farms preserves from the Applegate Valley. Coquette also allocates retail space for the Pennington label and Ashland’s Hilltop Coffee, which crafted the bakery’s house blend.
While I habitually brew Hilltop at home, I’m much less equipped to whip up batches of croissants, morning buns, biscotti or even scones. So Coquette’s proximity to our corner of the region gave my family reason to rejoice.
Arriving on a weekday morning, my partner and I readily agreed to share our favorite almond croissant ($5) and debated the appeal of Coquette’s morning bun versus a raisin “snail.” Similarly shaped, each has a crunchy exterior and eggy interior. The raisin snail ($5) won out for its French persona that conjures nostalgia of my days as a foreign exchange student.
Francophiles also will swoon over Coquette’s “jambon beurre,” a baguette halved lengthwise, thickly slathered with butter and stuffed with sliced ham. Stacked several deep in the bakery’s refrigerator case, the sandwiches would beckon us back another time. The early hour instead warranted quiche Lorraine ($5).
Offering to warm the quiche, the clerk advised us of a few minutes’ wait. But I wasn’t about to let the pastries languish while I sipped my coffee. They delivered all the decadent richness I’ve come to expect from Coquette over the years, enhanced by their perch on plates at a table, instead of eaten on the go at farmers markets.
The quiche, baked in a single-serving pan, returned lukewarm from Coquette’s toaster oven. Where this recipe is concerned, I prefer a cooler temperature rather than risk the crust’s ideal doneness or the filling’s creaminess. But customers who crave truly hot items could request longer cooking times.
Quiche similarly raises Herb & Flour’s profile at the new sister restaurant to Medford’s Over Easy. As Sunny Side, the East Main Street spot serves pastries and coffee in the morning, ramping up to evening cocktails and small plates under the name On the Rocks. The arrangement involves Over Easy chef Braden Hitt, NewPort Distilling and pastry chef Kali Kennedy.
Kennedy’s Herb & Flour started as a pop-up producing monthly pastry boxes with seasonal themes and international influences. At Sunny Side, the former pastry chef for Neuman Hotel Group has a more mainstream selection of croissants, cinnamon rolls, coffee cakes and quiches that make stopping in for coffee and a light bite an everyday affair.
In contrast to Coquette’s miniature quiches with precisely fluted crust, Herb & Flour’s are more rustic, portioned into hearty slices that are deeply browned on top. I eagerly requested mushroom-Gruyere while my partner preferred bacon-laden Lorraine. Priced at $6 per slice, quiches come with a small side of mixed greens.
Also on the tepid side, the quiches seemed slightly underbaked to preserve custardy fillings and impeccably textured crust. Room temperature, I told my partner, is appropriate for quiche, and these were so good I would have gobbled them stone cold. The greens, very lightly dressed with oil and salt, made a pleasing accompaniment.
We also shared a croissant with butter and jam while sipping specialty coffees. Brewed with Cerberus beans roasted in Jacksonville, my cappuccino ($4) and my partner’s mocha ($5) were carefully poured with floral motifs in the steamed milk. Since our April visit, Sunny Side has started serving croissant sandwiches and “breakfast grazing boards” of assorted meats, cheeses, preserves, pickles and baked goods.
It’s hard, however, to beat a freshly baked baguette of Coquette’s quality. Ferrying kids hungry from a day at school, I sold them on one of France’s quintessential snacks. While the plain duo of “jambon beurre” ($7) appealed to a 7- and 9-year-old, my partner and I gravitated to the sliced turkey, Brie and fig-onion jam sandwich ($8).
Seated under Coquette’s black-and-white striped awning in cherry red chairs, we fueled the boys’ imaginations with thoughts of neighborhood cafes in France. Now the flavors of the Old World are close to home.
Located at 245 N. Front St., Central Point, Coquette Bakery is open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. See gogetcoquette.com, email email@example.com or call 541-727-0330.
Located at 237 E. Main St., Medford, Sunny Side is open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. See @sunny side_at_overeasy on Instagram.
Content editor Sarah Lemon has relished the Rogue Valley’s dining scene for two decades as one of the original contributors to Tempo’s dining column. Her palate has helped to judge some of the region’s culinary competitions and festivals. An avid home cook, she writes The Whole Dish column that publishes biweekly in A la Carte. Read more at mailtribune.com/lifestyle/the-whole-dish. Follow @the.whole.dish on Instagram, @thewholedish on Twitter or see facebook.com/thewholedish.