It’s the middle of the day on a Friday afternoon, and things are buzzing in a little street front bakery. In this open, airy space, walls painted in the soothing colors of fresh light green and butter yellow reflect the sunshine pouring in through the windows lining the front of the establishment.
Graceful electric candelabras descend from the embossed white tin ceiling and rotating fans keep the room refreshed with a circulating breeze. The room reverberates with the sounds of espresso machines frothing away, mixed with the active chatter of patrons and live music emanating from the front of the room. This gourmet bakery, café and coffeehouse is Flour Fusion, a little gem tucked away on Main Street in Old Town Lake Elsinore.
Owner Chris Hertz opened Flour Fusion in October 1997 out of a passion for delicious food. “This is very much a family business,” Hertz said of the restaurant that she founded with her family members. “My husband, daughter and myself are all foodies, and we wanted a good place to eat.” They adored the historic feel of downtown Lake Elsinore and fell in love with the space that formerly served as an antiques shop. The original strip hardwood floors and tin ceilings, which date back to the 1920s, blend well with the updated color and design scheme of the place.
More to the Menu Than What’s On the Menu
Don’t let its handcrafted European style pastries fool you into thinking it’s just a bakery. Flour Fusion offers a wide variety of dishes to please your palate from breakfast through lunch and beyond. “We focus on freshness,” owner Hertz assures, and that devotion to freshness is evident in the menu. Start your day off with something simple, like a bagel (several varieties available) or some seasonal fresh fruit. You might prefer a croissant egg sandwich, or Flour Fusion’s fluffy breakfast crêpe, baked with cheddar cheese, smoked bacon, diced tomatoes and spicy cream cheese. Flour Fusion also serves sweet crêpes with fresh strawberries and whipped cream, or delectable Nutella crêpes with the famous chocolate-hazelnut spread adding its richness to fresh bananas, and all topped with house-made whipped cream and toasted almonds.
Savory Quiches are accompanied by fresh fruit and salad. Choose the traditional Quiche Lorraine, or try the asparagus/leek quiche or one of their other quiche creations. Flour Fusion offers fresh salads, including the Caprese Salad: fresh mozzarella with slices of tomato, fresh basil, baby arugula, extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar with black pepper and Fleur de Sel (hand-harvested sea salt with a more complex mineral make up than regular table salt), served with a side of fresh ciabatta. You can even jazz it up a bit with some minced raw garlic for a little extra kick.
Flour Fusion’s soups are made daily from scratch, and pair nicely with any of its tasty sandwiches. Black Forest ham, roast beef, smoked turkey breast BLTAs (the A is for avocado) and more can be served up for you on your choice of baguette, ciabatta, croissant, multi-grain, sourdough or rye bread. Some out-of-the-ordinary combinations are on the menu, too. Try the brie and Asian pear sandwich with a little prosciutto, or the spinach, feta and Kalamata olive panini, stuffed with fresh mozzarella cheese, tomato, red onion, cucumber and Flour Fusion’s own signature aioli, made on homemade focaccia and served with a side salad.
Being family-oriented, Flour Fusion also offers specialties for its younger patrons. Kids can choose a meal with a dessert or simply slide in for a little treat. In any event, Flour Fusion’s patisserie selections will make you feel like the proverbial kid in a candy shop. The pastry menu changes with the seasons, so be sure to try out specialties as they come along (you don’t want to miss out on any of the delicacies crafted with Flour Fusion’s classical pastry training). Then again, if you have a desire for a certain something you don’t see in the pastry case, just ask, as the chef is happy to take special requests.
Delightful patisserie treats of the day might include cakes, pies, tarts, meringues, puff pastries, cupcakes, cookies or other confectionary surprises dreamed up by Flour Fusion’s pastry chef. On this particular visit, my guests enjoyed rich chocolate chip cookies packed with real chocolate chips, and the Russian Tea Cakes dusted with an abundance of powdered sugar were calling my name from the case.
Accompany your pastry selection with an illy brand coffee drink from the espresso bar. You can add a dollop of real, house-made whipped cream–not from a spray can!–to any coffee drink at no extra charge. If you’re in the mood for something really cool, treat yourself to a refreshing Italian soda made with Torani syrup, or some Ciao Bello Gelato in dark chocolate, hazelnut, dulce de leche or pistachio (or order a combination of flavors!). For a summer-perfect icy treat, there’s coconut and passion fruit sorbet to refresh and revive you.
In addition to the sweet and savory offerings on the regular menu, Flour Fusion also does catering and produces beautiful and delectable cakes and pastries for special occasions. “We do amazing cakes! Wedding cakes and all-occasion cakes. Our pastry chef is a graduate of Cordon Bleu, as is our savory chef. Any dish you can dream up, we can do it.” When asked if she could whip up a steamed Maine lobster meal, Hertz gave a big smile and replied, “Give us two days, and we can do it!”
“During the summer, Flour Fusion offers live music four days a week, a nice bonus to the already pleasant dining experience there. There are also occasional concerts at night, with no cover charge. The schedule for evening music can be found on the café’s website.
Comfy and Relaxing
The fun doesn’t stop with the music. A bookcase stands at the front of the café, stocked with little entertainments for guests to enjoy. There are dozens of books, arranged by topic, no less; a selection of toys, including Mr. Potato Head; plus a collection of various games and card sets. Paper and pens are available, too. “We like to encourage the creative process.” Hertz has made it easy for guests to fall on by and sit a spell in this welcoming spot. “We really have a passion for great, beautiful food and fresh quality,” she says. “This is a place where people can come and feel at home, and enjoy music, food and good friends.”
133 N. Main Street
Lake Elsinore, CA 92530
Open 9:00am to 3:00pm daily
Check online calendar for evening event schedule