I feel SO lucky that I got to study abroad when I was in college, and not just anywhere: Paris. The city of pastries and love and everything wonderful and beautiful. The summer I spent there was pure magic; I was pretty shy at the time, so I basically spent my days journaling in the Louvre and eating way too many crepes, all by myself. I loved it.
When I found out that a new French cafe was opening up in Ventura, I was intrigued. It’s not the first “French” bakery in the area, but I knew Café Ficelle was the different the moment I stepped inside.
It’s not hard to figure out why. Their pastry case is always full of the most amazing pastries and bread, made by Executive Baker Jarrett Chambers. Chambers even recently represented the United States at la Fête du Pain this year!
Not only do they have a large selection of baked goods, Cafe Ficelle also offers a full espresso bar, as well as breakfast and lunch options. Their avocado toast is probably one of the best things I’ve ever eaten, and definitely the prettiest toast I’ve ever seen! And don’t even get me started about their bread. French bread is probably the biggest reason why I left Paris a few pounds more than when I got there, even with walking roughly five miles a day.
I’d actually never had a kouign-amann before Cafe Ficelle, which is probably a good thing. Because I just can’t stop eating them. This traditional french pastry made by folding layers of butter and sugar into the dough, which caramelize when baked. It’s basically crack in pastry form.
Oh, they have champagne too. So there’s that. And a selection of local beer, which is awesome. Ventura County has some pretty amazing breweries right now, a few of which I’ll be showcasing on the blog soon!
I think one of my favorite things about Cafe Ficelle is just the Ventura County pride. I’m sure you heard about the Thomas fire that devastated California’s Central Coast last year; Ventura County is a tight-knit community, and it pretty much got close to everything. Cafe Ficelle is less than five minutes from some of the neighborhoods that were burnt to the ground. To see a successful and intentional business come to the area is really powerful. I’m not sure that I can explain it sufficiently if you don’t live in a similar community. I’m really thankful that I live here.
What is it about French bakeries that are just so special? I’d love to hear about what cafes you have nearby!