Sophie is a bright and cheery spot in the ever increasingly bright and cheery neighbourhood of Leslieville . Occupying a prime corner location at Queen and Logan, its energy is hard to miss, and draws you in with its meadow-green signage and hint of something lovely happening inside.
After briefly stopping by the previous day (though unfortunately just before closing), I got a hint of the treats that would await me when I returned. With the image of their quiche stamped in my mind, I managed to refrain from eating all morning until I made it back. I knew it would be worth the wait.
We arrive around lunchtime and confront a serious rush. Although a bit of a surprise, we take this as a good sign. The last time I walked this stretch of street, there was no sign of Sophie. But it seems she's already made many enthusiastic friends in the month since the café opened. And, insofar as there's a real Sophie behind the name of the cafe, I mean that both figuratively and literally!
I scramble to get a table and then make many attempts to get a good view of the pastry case, surrounded by the throngs of fast-moving fans. It's borderline chaotic, with coffees to go, and lunches to stay -- so my companion and I decide to sit back and think long and hard about the decisions ahead.
There are few things I appreciate more than the combination of pastry and cheese (and other goodness of the salty variety -- the tourtiere, for instance, which they also offer), thus either the quiche or savoury flan a must.
What seems like a benign little piece of pie reveals itself to be far more rewarding than I'm prepared for. My cooking-enthusiast sister almost makes a bit of a scene with her first bite, "(gasp!) that is goood ." There is indeed a great depth to the flavor, which is creamy and densely eggy, not to mention gloriously smooth; the satisfaction belying its relatively small size.
A tiny but yummy salad on the side catches me unawares (didn't see that coming), and the pomegranate seed garnish is a nice touch -- you would think that with the last couple years' worth of pomegranate mania, I would have encountered this before, but I haven't.
We alternate between the savoury flan and sweet (but not too sweet) plum galette. The plum, in my humble opinion, never gets enough play, so I find this rather refreshing.
Nevertheless, I won't pretend that the choice of dessert was an easy one, with the array of homemade looking slabs of pastry (lemon bars being one of my greatest weaknesses and all), powder-sugared cookies (see previous...), and rather gigantic scones all crying out to be piled on my plate, like so many endings to Thanksgiving dinners.
In a city that is on the verge of hibernation, Sophie reminds me of the few scattered days when fall feels startlingly like spring -- even for just a few hours. I will anticipate their many pastry-encrusted jewels and coffee in adorable cups like so few and precious sunny days this winter.