The setting is just the St. Mary's stretch of Beacon Street, but by the looks of the outdoor bistro tables and the breakfast service at Tatte in Brookline, you might think you've walked into a fashionable European cafe.
The tiny bakery is Tzurit Or's place, her second career after giving up a film production run in Hollywood. The Israeli-born baker started by selling her home-cooked pastries at Boston-area farmers' markets until demand encouraged her to open a shop in 2007. Nowadays, she has three Tattes, this one and two larger spaces in Cambridge, not to mention a thriving partnership with Williams-Sonoma.
The national attention started in response to Or's nut tarts—essentially, rectangular shortbread boats filled with a layer of caramel that anchors meticulously arranged pistachios, pecans, or mixed nuts. Some of her other pastries, like the halva rose, have Middle Eastern ties, and have garnered a loyal following of their own.
But what I like most about Tatte is Or's lavish breakfast. It's a complete spread, not unlike a Turkish breakfast that includes both savory and sweet elements. This one ($18), which is meant to be shared, consists of two eggs done however you like (over-easy was good); mezze portions of olives, a few cheeses (fresh mozzarella, Swiss, and cottage), and a baby arugula salad with fresh avocado and a very savory (if too salty) vinaigrette; a basket of assorted Iggy's breads plus a housemade brioche roll, butter, good strawberry jam and orange marmalade; and tea or coffee. If you like your chai and hot cocoa milky and not too sweet, both are worth splurging a couple extra bucks.
About the author: Liz Bomze lives in Brookline, MA, and works as the Senior Features Editor for Cook's Illustrated Magazine. In her free time, she freelances regularly for the Boston Globe, Boston Magazine, the Improper Bostonian, and Martha's Vineyard Magazine; practices bread-baking and canning; takes photos; reads; and watches baseball. Top 5 foods: fresh noodles, gravlax, sour cherry pie, burrata, ma po tofu.