Friday, March 6, 2015

Tous les Jours Opens On Rte 40; A Top-Notch Bakery And Coffee Shop Mixing France And Korea

Excellent croissant and red bean donut
It's thanks to Lil' Chow that I can tell you that the new Tous les Jours looks and taste just like the top-end coffee shops in Korea.

Of course, Mrs. HowChow and I saw Seoul's coffee shops last year when we went to meet and then bring home our boisterous toddler.  But it was this morning's daycare closing that got me into Tous les Jours for opening day.

And it's worth getting in there even if you've never been to Korea.  This is a terrific coffee shop -- heavy on caffeine and sweet pastries rounded off with croissants, a few sandwiches, smoothies and bing soo.  Clean, modern design.  Big spaces with tables and easy chairs.

Lil's Chow and I split a croissant and a red bean donut.  I drank the espresso on my own.  These were delicious pastries -- as were the other samples that the Tous folks pressed on us.  A light, flaky croissant with a crisp outer shell that reminds me of jet lag in Seoul.  One of the best red bean donuts that I have ever had -- and I've been posting about them for six years.  Lighter and fresher than most local bakeries with a perfect scattering of sugar on top.

The Korean bakeries have really expanded along Rte 40.  First, La Boulangerie in Ellicott City.  Then Bon Appetit and Shilla.  Now, chains actually from Korea seem to be coming -- Caffe Benne that will open next to Soft Stuff and Tous les Jours.  The Tous is on the north side of Rte 40 west of Rte 29 in the shopping center with a Boston Market and Lighthouse Tofu.

You should definitely check out Tous les Jours  this weekend.  It's classy and delicious enough for adults to lounge, but the pastries are kid-friendly enough that you could break your cabin fever by letting your youngsters sugar up.  You could go for lunch or grab dessert after dinner at Lighthouse or fried chicken at Bon Chon.  Folks have wondered how Rte 40 can support all these coffee shops, but I have to say that Tous les Jours tops my list now -- exceptional food and a really nice space.

If you're interested in the Korean coffee shops, I absolutely recommend checking them out.  Pastries, drinks and desserts are a few dollars each.  Right now, Shilla and Tous Les Jours are my favorites, but you can read all the posts about Korean bakeries.

If you go to Tous les Jours, look in the corner for the display of trays and tongs.  Again, that's right out of Seoul coffee shops.  Pick up a set and select what you want from the pastry displays.  Then take them to the register to be boxed or carried to a table.  I love the modern trays.  I'd buy some for our house.

Hat tip to Min who saw an opening day advertisement in a Chinese newspaper.  That's how I knew that Lil Chow and I could check it out.  The Purim parade was postponed again today because someone fed our daycare stories of ice and snow.  Since Lil Chow couldn't have hamantashan, it seemed only fair to get him out of the house and feed him red bean donut.

Tous les Jours
9338 Baltimore National Pike (Rte 40)
Ellicott City, MD

NEAR: Tous les Jours is in a shopping center with Boston Market and Lighthouse Tofu on Rte 40 in Ellicott City.  It's on the north side of the road west of Rte 29.  Coming from Rte 29, you'll see signs for Asian Court, a Chinese restaurant with excellent dim sum.  Then watch for Tous on the right.  It is in the "back" of the shopping center so its windows look parallel to Rte 40, not onto the road.


Anonymous said...

Ooh. Looks yummy! Definitely will have to try that out the next time I'm in EC!

I was wondering if you tried Snow Cafe out? It's off of Frederick Road by 7-11 and Rita's. From what I gathered on Yelp, it replaced Waffee Comzytime around September 2014. Snow Cafe is also run by some Korean folks just like its predecessor, and they also serve waffles and coffee. They also do some kind of cross between shaved ice and ice cream and of course, bingsoo. Plus they do sandwiches and some other things.

I stopped by for a waffle. It was pretty tasty. I got mine with Nutella and some fruit. Really good plating, so it feels fancy too. Small place, but you can sit, drink coffee, and work on your laptop. When I was there, the owner offered to turn the WiFi on, so you might have to ask for that. It was kind of empty while I was there for an hour, so I was hoping they could get a shout out from HowChow.

s. chou said...

FYI Caffe Bene is already open, I've been there twice in the last two weeks and every time I was there on a Saturday night it was packed.

Chris said...

We've been to all of them so far.

I like the cakes better at La Boulangerie. Cakes at Shilla were pretty bad. Shilla and La Boulangerie have similar baked goods. The variety at TLJ is much better, and more of the savory selections. Their cake selection looks better, but haven't tried any yet.

Caffe Bene is open. The baked good are good, but the variety is not even close to TLJ. They are more coffee shop than bakery.

Need to get around and try the bingsoo at Bene and TLJ. The flavors at Shilla are better, but I like the shaved ice at Beans Bread Burgundy much better. Most other places use the small crunchy ice, similar to what you find at Sonic.

We tried the waffles at Bene and it wasn't great. I definitely liked the ones at Waffee Comzytime much better, which was very close to the HoCo Waffle Truck variety. I hadn't been back to that area since Comzytime closed, so good to hear they reopened. Would be worth a visit if the waffles are the same.

s. chou said...

A few more thoughts on the Korean bakeries/coffeeshops that have opened up on Rt 40 -

At most recent count there's five (TLJ, Caffe Bene, Bon Appetit, Shilla, Bean & Burgundy) actually on Rt 40, then there's Snow Cafe on Frederick Road.

TLJ has the most sitting space, and the tongs & tray set up is the norm for Asian bakeries in their respective Asian countries and it's pretty common here in the US in Asian bakeries too. (Shilla also has the same setup). The pastry and drink prices seem to pretty much on-par with the other places, but their bingsoo prices are higher. I bought a few of their pastries to try, but as TLJ is a chain and I've visited their Manhattan location several times, I don't expect anything too special.

Caffe Bene really doesn't have any pastries, their specialties are in the drinks. The misugaru drinks really taste like whole cereal, but you can definitely tell it tastes healthy. I enjoyed their dark hot chocolate much more. Another time I tried the Thai tea bubble tea, which was okay, but the bubbles weren't as chewy as I would like.

Bon Appetit still has the best bingsoo for price by far, and they include more toppings than ice compared to Shilla, Bean & Burgundy, and Snow Cafe.

Adam said...

At the risk of offending those who like that Korean bakeries have now become EC's main food identity, I would trade any of these for just a good fast casual burger place. I like Soboro bread as much as the next white dude who wandered into one of these places out of curiosity one day, but to have all these places within a five mile radius of each other is beyond over-saturation.

Yaofu said...

Although I like bakeries, I agree with Adam that we have a lot of Korean style drink/bakery places. But hey, as long as they are all making money, who are we to say they should or should not open yet another one.

In addition to a Burger place for Adam, can I also lobby for a decent Ramen place?

bmorecupcake said...

It's odd how this area can support so many Korean bakeries, isn't it?!

I find TLJ the best of the chains, but that's not saying much, in my opinion. Shilla was really fun at first, but once the euphoria died down, I just haven't been as impressed. Bon Appetit is where we go these days. They seem to make most things fresh in-house, whereas I feel the chains are having par-baked, or at least pre-mixed items, shipped in. To the point that even stale items from Bon Appetit now will taste better to me than "fresh" items at one of the chains, if that makes sense. Plus, Bon Appetit has some interesting items not found at the other locations, like "tofu snacks" (I believe that's what they're called) and wafer thin cookies in different flavors.

I'm okay with TLJ's plain donut, but for red bean donuts, the shop inside Hanoori Town next to the Catonsville H-Mart is my gold standard.

Katie said...

I'm beginning to feel as if EC is becoming over saturated with Korean Bakeries/Eateries.

Anonymous said...

What happened to the ramen place that was supposed to go in the old Jerry's sub shop space?

wondergirl said...

Stopped in at TLJ this week, I am impressed with the croissants and other pastries made with this dough. Their coffee is delicious if you like a bold dark roast. I agree with bmorecupcake about Bon Appetit. Their baked goods are fresh and delicious and I love the tofu snacks! La Boulangerie has great tofu snacks as well.

Anonymous said...

NOT counting whatever baked good are also available from H Mart and Lotte Mart, the count of these "bakeries" is up to 5? PULEEZE! How about a REAL bakery? It would seem that there is a demand for baked goods and I can only vouch for my neighborhood, but in addition to transplants from Korea and other places in Asia, there are also White, Black, Spanish Speaking, Western Asian, Middle Eastern and European folks in this area. A very casual survey of neighbors would indicate that VERY few wake up on a Sunday morning craving a Red Bean Doughnut. When When Whole Foods offers "the best" Baguette in the area and Einstein the best Bagel (they are not even "real" bagels), then you KNOW you are in Baked Goods Hell! True Confessions: Yes, I AM from NY and being from there, my standards high and my expectations NEVER met in HoCo. It just makes ya wanna holler!

Katie said...

@anonymous, if you are ever near the Arundel Mills area check out Bagels n Grinds. It's the closest I've come to a NY bagel outside of NY