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Monday, April 17, 2006 - Page updated at 11:31 AM

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Information in this article, originally published April 14, 2006, was corrected later that day. Sweet and Savory, a bakery/cafe in Mount Baker, is wheelchair accessible. An early version of this review said there were obstacles to access.

Dining Deals

At Sweet and Savory, the early bird gets the pain au chocolat

Special to The Seattle Times

Wander into Cynthia Brock's compact, cookbook-lined Mount Baker cafe and you won't want to leave. Certainly no one was in a hurry around noon one weekday as customers dallied over soup, a sandwich, a slice of quiche or a demitasse cup of French hot chocolate and their pastry of choice.

Other than a list of coffee and chocolate drinks, there's no written menu. Baked goods and sandwiches reside in a tall glass case set front and center on a granite counter where vintage lamps line up opposite a handful of seats. Oversize baskets dangle above. A few small tables offer additional seating inside; more are outside.

Come early for warm croissants stuffed with ham and Gruyère, or petite pain au chocolat, their dark chocolate souls still soft. Brock rolls her own puff-pastry dough and makes bagels and sandwich buns from scratch. Her repertoire reflects the changing seasons: right now rhubarb is showing up in tarts and in coffee cake topped with cinnamon and walnut streusel.

Sweet and Savory

1418 31st Ave. S., Seattle; 206-325-2900

Bakery/cafe

$

Hours: 6 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays, 7 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays.

No liquor / credit cards: MC, V / no obstacles to access.

Rating: recommended.

Back in 1993, Brock studied at the Hotel Ritz in Paris, but her peripatetic cooking career began in a Montana bakery long before that. After graduating from Portland's Western Culinary Institute, Brock cooked on fishing boats in Alaska and the Caribbean and worked as a private chef.

Ten years ago, she opened the original Sweet and Savory, a cafe and catering kitchen located first on Bainbridge, then in Ballard. She moved again last October to this charming Mount Baker storefront and made pastry a priority, though she still does catering on the side.

She leads a baker's life: up at 4 a.m. on weekdays, earlier on weekends. After the cafe closes at 2 p.m., she does the next morning's prep work.

But caveat emptor: She says she is careful not to over bake. "When I'm out. I'm out."

Check please:

Curried potato soup: Ladled from a plastic container and warmed in a skillet, each bowlful is piping hot and fragrant with subtle spice. The potato gives it body, but the rough-textured broth sings of celery and onion, too.

Quiche: Eggs, cream, butter and bacon meet in sublime proportion on an exquisitely flaky crust. Flavors rotate daily.

Chicken sandwich: Shards of succulent thigh meat cut right from a freshly cooked bird are tucked between a soft but sturdy potato roll together with arugula and good Dijon.

Apple-rhubarb tart: The fruit, well balanced between sweet and tart, is held in the embrace of a fragile pastry shell that shatters with each bite.

French hot chocolate: This molten blend of chocolate, cream and spices really qualifies as dessert, especially when you assuage the chocolate's peppery tickle with spoonfuls of whipped cream that comes in a little bowl on the side. Other beverages include juices, Italian sodas and Caffé Vita coffee drinks.

Itemized bill, meal for two

Curried potato soup (bowl) $4.25

Quiche $3.75

Chicken sandwich $5.25

Apple-rhubarb tart $3.00

French hot chocolate $3.00

Tax $1.79

Total $21.04

Providence Cicero: providencecicero@aol.com

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

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