Friday, March 14, 2008

Food Finds: The Flaky Tart

By Pat Tanner

I can’t say what I adore most about this bakery-plus that opened in Atlantic Highlands last August, but the cheeky name ranks right up there. There is nothing flaky about proprietor Marie Jackson, who followed up a business degree with learning to cook at the NY Restaurant School, but she does have a magical way with tarts, as well as all her sweet and savory gems, from macaroons to mac and cheese.

This is how good the latter is: most days it comes out of the oven around 11 a.m. and is gone by 11:30. Her croissants have been rightly deemed as good as any in Paris, yet they vie in popularity with her cinnamon rolls, pecan sticky buns, and scones, which have a perfect balance of heft and airiness. (The ginger-pear scone is a revelation.)

While perched at the sunny counter at her cute little shop, I and a friend sampled as much as we could manage and took home a passel of goodies, failing to find anything less than stellar. Selections change daily, but among the typical offerings are ham and gruyere croissants, lemon meringue tartlets, pain au chocolat, raspberry sandbars, blueberry muffins, and mini carrot-cake cupcakes.

Prices are lower than in my neighborhood - and probably yours. A goodly serving of homemade beef chili comes with cheddar, crème fraiche, and a buttered baguette – all for $6.

The Flaky Tart

145 First Avenue

Atlantic Highlands


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