|DOnut and latte at Tous Les Jours|
Tous Les Jours is a Korean chain offering French pastries. That is a common theme in Seoul, and it offers spectacular fusion items like red bean donuts when it's done well. But it's also just a terrific bakery doing breads, cakes, pastries, coffee and drinks -- savory to sweet, grabbing take out to hanging out with friends.
This place does everything well. It is our "new for 2015" option that quickly became a favorite stop. We have gone for mid-day breaks and after-dinner desserts. We enjoyed hot coffee and cold drinks. We have barely scraped the menu, especially because the pastry selection seems to alternate more than many other Korean bakeries.
This is part of my "While I've Been Out" series to restart the blog. Late last year, the blog got some serious competition. I'm still working out how to keep writing while I'm doing so many other new things as well. Yesterday, I talked up an old friend -- the Victoria burger. Today's is this new coffee shop. Tomorrow, I will suggest a great excursion from Main Street to great food.
I can't suggest Tour Le Jours enough if you haven't tried it yet. Stop for coffee and a pastry. Stop to buy classy desserts to serve at home. Hang out for a whole afternoon in a comfy chair with a laptop or friends. You can have it all -- and you can view this as just another friendly bakery with accessible sweets or as an authentic example of how young people are eating right now in Gangnam.
Start with the red bean donut. I admit that my personal bias. I posted about red bean among the first 10 HowChow posts in 2008. But you won't go wrong.
Then check out whatever interests you. Tous Le Jours does macarons, breads, croissants, and cakes. They do coffee and bubble tea. They do bing soo, the Korean dessert with shaved ice and fruit. They do a variety of fruit "ades" like lemonade and strawberryade.
Most of the dishes have a classy Korean style, but they're more modern and international than specifically Korean. I worry there are people turned off by the Rte 40 bakeries like Tous Les Jours or Shilla because they think they'll feel foreign. Give them a try because the French base will make almost everything feel welcoming.
And the Tous Les Jours store adds to the welcome. It's clean-lined and outfitted with cafe tables, easy chairs and long tables. We have mostly sat after dinner with Lil' Jake. But I've stopped in mid-day. You can get in and carry out from the counter, but you can stay to work on a laptop, talk to your friends, or just soak in the scene.
The one authentic Seoul experience is how you pick your baked goods at Tous Les Jours. Look to the left for the sleek wooden trays and metal tongs. Take tongs and pick your baked goods from the displays. Then take your tray to the counter to pay. They'll bag takeout orders or let you sit down with your tray.