Restaurant: La Bou Bakery and Café
Address: 4540 Post St. in El Dorado Hills
Hours: Open seven days a week, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday
I’ve been searching online and I cannot find a satisfactory translation for La Bou. The closest I’ve come is “the mud.”
Would you lunch at a place called The Mud? Me neither, so I think I’ll accept the suggestion from one of my coworkers for a possible definition. It is short for boulangerie, French for bakery. That’ll work.
To dine at La Bou was a bit of an off the cuff suggestion by a coworker as we were coming back from Fairfield, where our sister paper, The Daily Republic, covers the news.
We were both starving, so we took the El Dorado Hills Latrobe exit and headed toward Town Center, then veered left toward Nugget, where La Bou is located.
Man, this place smells great. The aroma coming from what I assumed (and confirmed, later) is freshly baked bread made me delirious and even more ravenous than I was when I first got there.
Why is the first thing I see as I walk through the entrance the men’s bathroom door?
If Robert Irvine (that big English guy from the Food Network’s “Restaurant Impossible”) was here he’d freak out. Not the best or most appetizing way to greet guests.
There are a ton of people in line. Must be good.
I’ve heard from many, many folks that this is the place for lunch. La Bou Bakery and Café, I found out, is a genuine Northern California home-grown franchise and first opened its doors way back in 1981.
The restaurant has always specialized in gourmet soups, salads, pastries (see, I told ya) and sandwiches.
I decided to order a wrap but I got a salad — the Chinese chicken salad, to be exact. Initially I was a little bummed out, thinking that my wife had gotten to them somehow and let them in on my high cholesterol. After eating the salad, I have to admit that it was one heck of a great salad. Plus my salad came with a bowl of soup that I didn’t order.
My lunch partner ordered a half sandwich and a cup of soup (the wonderful spicy Thai chicken that I got instead — I know, it’s getting confusing). He got a half sandwich and his soup came to me. I was able to persuade the person at the register to give me an empty bowl so I could share. Whew.
Fourth impression: What’s up with the décor? I mean, I don’t want to be a stickler here, but there are Mexican tiles, an Asian style pergola held aloft by Roman columns, all surrounded by a kind of “industrial chic” aesthetic. I mean, it’s a little distracting. Not offensive, just distracting.
Fifth and last impression: OK, yes the place has some issues but to me they’re mostly cosmetic and I’m probably being too anal and not representative of the majority of casual diners out there. But those things matter to me and do make a difference. The most important aspect of La Bou Bakery and Café — the food was spectacular and exceeded my expectations.
The service, as my partner let me know, was slower than usual, but seemed pretty speedy to me overall. If you’re from the EL Dorado Hills area then you’re probably already a fan. If you’re not then let me tell you that it’s worth the drive.
La Bou Bakery and Café is located at 4540 Post St. near Town Center Boulevard. The phone number is 916-933-3326. It is open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday to Friday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.