Nicole Grandjean wants people to know about French food. To this end, she offers her gourmet imports to the public at the same prices she sells them to restaurants. Her pretty, spacious shop in South Pasadena also contains a sandwich counter and a small number of tables on the patio - a perfect secret lunch spot. But dangerous. You might stop in for a croque monsieur (ham, Gruyere and bechamel melted together on a baguette) and walk out having bought a Laguiole knife set, a Provencal tablecloth, some frozen porcinis and a big chunk of fresh foie gras. A meal-sized salad (the authentic Greek, or the one with smoked duck breast and dried cherries) could cost you the price of any number of European and domestic cheeses, kilos of chocolate, and a gallon of olive oil. The good news is, you won't spend a fraction of what you would elsewhere. Nicole's is a great resource to those of us Francophile gastronomes who don't have the wherewithal to keep a pied a terre in Paris; and with Grandjean's public-friendly prices, she's taken great foodstuffs out of the realm of sheer luxury and turned them into affordable, simple pleasures.
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