I remember my first few moments in my first Tatte Bakery & Cafe. I walked in, almost windswept, though not from the cold weather. A gush of hot air pushed past and around me from the energy. Everyone inside, customers and staff alike, seemed so euphorically happy. Perhaps it was the coffee, super-charged, or the cozy breakfast like the North African Shakshuka made with pepper and tomato poached eggs and fresh, get this, challah bread.
There was, however, a halo circling the glass display of puffed up, golden pastry saying “you want me so much, it hurts.” And it did. I winced, in only a good way, from a croissant that reminded me of every little nook of Paris and of nothing I had ever tasted. Filled with a sweet pistachio mash, it was one of the best croissants I had ever had.
Big warm croissant in mouth and hand, I felt like I had found something wonderful. And Tatte became my regular spot. (Well, one of them anyway.)
That wonderful feeling hit me again when I opened a large wooden gift box delivered to me from the other side of the country. Besides being filled with a multitude of tiny life indulgences (think chocolates, candles, fresh notebooks waiting for a story), it also held the HP Spectre, one of the thinnest and most beautiful laptops in the world today.
This is the first post in a series where I get to explore my inspirations, including the beauty of HP’s new laptop. HP has partnered with me and I’m overjoyed to share a little about my loves (like Tatte!), a little about the new laptop (which you have to see to believe), and a little about the new Eat Boutique space.
Now, Tatte may seem like the opposite of a laptop – it’s soft and warm and filled with gushy pastries. But since I spend most of my days typing away in cafes just like Tatte, the pairing works. I visited the recently renovated original Tatte Bakery & Cafe earlier this week, laptop in tow, to type away, soak it all up, and snap a few images.
Putting all my coffee cups on the table, you should know that Tzurit Or, the Tel Aviv-born, self-taught pastry chef and founder of Tatte is now a dear friend of mine. We met a few years ago when I was deep in the creation of my first cookbook and she was expanding her Tatte brand. That very first time we met up, we ate (and ate) and talked about what it felt like to make things by hand – for me, a cookbook; for her, pastries, cakes, and cafe spaces.
To say that I am perennially in awe of every single Tatte cafe would be an understatement. I love to spend the day working inside those cafes, especially the newly renovated one on the border between Boston and Brookline. Tzurit crafts each Tatte by hand and painstakingly (joyfully!) laid out that intricately-designed floor, reminiscent of old style cafes while still modern and a little funky. When I type away on my own space plans there, which is how I generally spend a lot of my time, I look down and notice the little gold, almost copper square design that punctuates at points in the floor. It’s darling and reminds me of the copper trim and accents to the new HP Spectre.
More than all that gorgeous copper trim, being one of the thinnest laptops in the world comes with other benefits. It fits snugly and just right on the marble top cafe table, a must for a lady who works in cool cafes. And since I’m always on the go, because I like to move from cafe to cafe when I’m searching for inspiration, I love how lightweight the HP Spectre is. Coming in at just over two pounds, I can slip it in the nifty case or right in my handbag, which makes it so I can use my hands for delicious things like hot coffee or more Tatte croissants. Right?!
Besides the delicious food and beautiful design, Tatte is, perhaps, one of the first hospitality venues in which I could see glimpses of my own aesthetic preferences in action. There are loads of cafes, beautiful ones, that make a grand cup and serve a warm dish, but Tatte so gets me – every detail is accounted for, from the printed napkins to the wild overhead lights – and delivers the sort of experience that I hope to honor in my own retail space.
You see, working from one of the cafe tables provides me with a perfect view from which to watch and learn as customers come and go; as counter staff take orders and serve food; and as the chef creates hearty dishes in the background. Anyone who hopes to open a retail space should consider spending time in a very good cafe, because cafes are the workhorse of the hospitality set. They require great hot coffee and amazing service. I scribble notes in my special file (on my HP Spectre) for food and service moments done right, moments I hope to replicate in my own space.
There are about a thousand things I’m taking away from my Tatte visits, but here are FIVE SUPER SPECIAL TATTE TAKEAWAYS:
1. Service Matters: When I order food at Tatte’s marble counter, they bring it to me. They bring it to me! Rather than having to go back up when my order is ready, they’ll jet it off to my table where I’m waiting, probably not so patiently, ha. It’s a little service feature that makes a casual place feel just a little fancy.
2. Never Falter on Quality: Everything is wonderful at Tatte. Between their egg dishes, sandwiches, pastries, and coffee program, every plate is absolutely delicious. Some spots focus on making one or two dishes outstanding, and letting the others ride their coat tails. At Tatte, the commitment to all dishes being consistently delicious resonates with me. It’s way easy to taste.
3. Offer Unique Experiences: Like I said, everything is wonderful at Tatte, but their brunch is out of this world. And they do brunch all day on Fridays, YAY! The lesson to me is that folks want to eat eggs all day. I know I do. Or, at the very least, I want to feel like I’m in brunch mode all day, even if I have to venture back to piles and piles of work.
4. Create a Signature Dish: Perhaps everyone makes a pistachio croissant, but even after living on/off in Paris for two years, I had my first one at Tatte. For me, that means Tatte’s signature pastry is their perfect large, flaky croissant. Every cafe or restaurant needs a signature dish, something for which they are loved, something that makes them stand out.
5. Make the Design Genuine: Even filled with antiques and vintage finds, Tatte never feels old. Sure, it feels familiar, but more so than that, Tatte feels like the perfect mix of old and new, the kind that makes you so comfortable you never want to leave, the very best of Brimfield mixed with upscale modernity. I love the right balance in the design – which is all created by Tzurit, herself.
I’m always on the look out for inspiration for Eat Boutique’s first retail space, and Tatte provides it in spades. I also have a good looking machine that can fit into my jump-from-this-cafe-to-that-cafe lifestyle, and I’m super grateful for the HP Spectre’s ability to get the job done, and look pretty good while doing it.
Where do you find inspiration? I’d love to hear more about those places, moments, dishes that drive you creatively.
Like I said, this is the first post in a series where I get to explore my inspirations (okay, let’s admit it, my obsessions), including the beauty of the HP Spectre. HP has partnered with me but all my opinions remain my own, naturally. Thank you to Tatte Bakery & Cafe for letting us hang out this week and all the time!
Next month: We visit Mei Mei Boston. #ReinventObsession #partner
Eat Boutique was an award-winning shop and story-driven recipe site created by Maggie Battista – an author, business guide and alignment seeker. After hosting retail markets for 25,000+ guests, Maggie now supports entrepreneurs as they create values-based businesses through We Are Magic Studio. Follow Maggie Battista on Instagram.