Delightful French Bakery in Downtown Oceanside
Just one block north of Mission, at the corner of Coast Highway and Pier View Way, sits a delightful slice of decadence: Petite Madeline Bakery & Patisserie.
Stepping into Petite Madeline, you’re immediately removed from the bustling noises of the street and transported into a sanctuary of aromatic and visual enchantment. The mellow sounds of music and guests’ chatter fill the room, along with the smells of so much sweet goodness. Light streams in from the floor to near ceiling window walls, washing the inside of the cafe with a happy glow. Taking a look around, you know you’re in for a treat.
It’s understandably difficult to decide which way to go first: the specials board or the pastry case. Your natural instinct might be to go for the pastries and desserts. Lining the racks, the scrumptious delicacies promise to be a delectable detour from the typical cookies and cakes you find at your local market.
The cakes and pastries are, in a word, exquisite. Petite Madeline makes their treats with fruits grown at North County farms, adhering to their commitment of using ingredients grown locally and in season. Some of these sweets are even named after the patch of land their ingredients were grown at, like the Cyclops Strawberry Pie.
In the dessert case, you’ll find eclairs filled with the lightest and sweetest cream, carrot cake that tastes like carrots and spice straight from the kitchen, a mermaid looking cake made of blueberry mousse and sponge, a s’more cake topped with a toasted marshmallow cream, fruit tarts topped with naked fresh fruit (as opposed to that gross gelatin you usually see), and a bright green tea cake garnished beautifully with an orchid flower. It’s hard to pass on a piece of perfection!
One particular treat, the All Day Bun, is a popular item that needs a new name, because it lasts maybe five minutes. Flaky pastry dough seems to be covered in butter and sugar before being rolled into a rose like bun. The challenge is to make it last at least as long as your coffee. I have yet to accomplish this feat.
Petite Madeline has also grown in reputation for making elegant creations for special occasions, from petit fours to wedding cakes. Note: In order to create the best dessert for an event, they ask for a two week lead time.
As amazing as the cakes and pastries are, bypassing the breakfast and lunch offerings would be a tragedy. Sandwiches are made with housemade breads, omelettes are filled with the freshest locally grown ingredients, and seasonal specials should be tasted before they’re erased from the chalkboard forever!
After perusing the menu board filled with seasonal specials, your eyes may begin to wander around the room, taking in all the elements at play, from the polished concrete floors to the stone counter, up to the exposed beams in the ceiling and then to the fun hanging lights. Eventually, you’ll glance directly above the counter to the panel of images and text.
The board is separated into three sections, each describing the three days needed to make the very best croissants. It’s the traditional technique for making croissants, which Petite Madeline sticks to. Seeing that commitment to craft is a testament to the importance owner and chef, Christina Loyola puts on quality.
Taking a Risk
Before her life as a chef, Christine Loyola did research for investment bankers in the Bay Area. It was then that her love of finer foods and pastries was sparked. After taking clients out to business dinners at finer restaurants, she would recreate the meals she had enjoyed. At home, in her own kitchen, she honed the skills that went into the plates she had enjoyed.
And then the market took a dive.
While most people are unsure of what to do when the career they’ve built suddenly disappears, Christine had a more positive outlook on the loss. She took her one-year severance, along with her new love of cooking, and decided to go to culinary school for a full career change. This risk has definitely paid off.
It doesn’t require vast culinary expertise to know that what Chef Christine and her staff prepare at Petite Madeline is made with a commitment to their craft. From the breakfast dishes to the lunch items and on through the pastries and cakes, everything is made in small batches and everything is made from scratch using the finest ingredients.
The product of this commitment to the artisanal process is woven through everything that’s made there and comes through in each bite. Because of that commitment over the past six years, the buzz has grown, garnering the crew at Petite Madeline well-deserved accolades and awards along the way.
The Next Chapter
In 2016, Chef Christine brought in Chef Marc Faust who, through his creativity and talent, has earned the role of Executive Chef. Some regulars (myself included) noticed a distinct change in the offerings around that same time. Items like sea beans, Japanese eggplant, and wasabi started making their way onto the French/Mediterranean menu.
Those unexpected components were care of Chef Marc, who has brought a distinct Japanese influence to the regular French/Mediterranean menu. The combination of flavors really hits every taste sense. One of Chef Marc’s favorite creations was a Japanese Omelette. “I took an omelette and rolled it with the ingredients into a roll like traditional sushi. Then I sliced it and served it just like sushi.”
I asked Chef Marc if he had anything interesting planned for the menu in the future. “We went from French, then incorporated some Japanese and Asian flavors. Now, we’re going to be adding in more American and Southern type items.” One of the new specials that’s been a big hit has been the Silly Moose.
“I patterned it after the Loco Moco, creating my own variation.” Loco moco, he explained, is a popular plate in Hawaii that’s made its way to the mainland. There are many variations, but the traditional loco moco consists of white rice, topped with a hamburger patty, a fried egg, and brown gravy.
Chef Marc’s version, the Silly Moose (seen above on the familiar chalkboard menu), is made up of a deep fried pork loin, wrapped in bacon, topped with sunny side up eggs and sweet chipotle sauces, and served with pan roasted potatoes, scallions, tomatoes, radish and micro-greens.
Of course, you could always just come in before things get really busy, grab a seat by the window and a hot cup of coffee, and watch the sun come up while catching up on your reading…
While it’s true that the pastries are exquisite and the specials will have you licking your fingers, we think the service is what people seem to enjoy the most at this pleasant little patisserie. It’s the kind of place where the staff know the regulars and greet new customers like old friends.
Petite Madeline Bakery & Patisserie
- 223 N Coast Hwy, Oceanside, CA 92054
- (760) 231-7300
- Mon & Tues: 7:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
- Wed – Sun: 7:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
- Website: http://petitemadelinebakery.com/
Have you been to Petite Madeline? What is your favorite dish or pastry? Comment below to share your thoughts and be sure to share this outstanding North County business on social media!