You can bet on MarieBette

The bread you can't stop thinking about


When my food arrived, I was stoked.

Jamie Albert | Cavalier Daily

Restaurant: MarieBette

Location: 700 Rose Hill Drive, Charlottesville, VA 22903

Type of food: French café / bakery

My roommate raves about MarieBette, a little café / bakery near the Bodo’s on Preston. I looked at the online menu to see why, and sure enough, the variety of dishes with eggs, vegetables, potatoes and hams caught my attention. So one day last week I took a 20 minute leisurely walk to find myself at MarieBette with curiosity and an appetite.

When I first walked in, I saw the counter where bread and pastries are sold. They looked great, but I wanted something more filling and savory, so I sat in the dining room where larger breakfast dishes are served.

After reading over the menu, I ask the waitress what a “tartine” is. She, explained that it's a number of items served on a piece of bread. "Oh." I shrugged. I was pretty apathetic towards the bread part of the meal … I just wanted the other rich flavors. So I placed an order for the Morning Jørgensen, which is smoked salmon, a poached egg and crème fraîche all on top of a piece of sourdough bread.

When my food arrived, I was stoked. The intense color of the salmon with the delicately poached egg perched on top had me licking my chops. To be honest, I wasn't sure whether it was finger food or silverware food, so I just went in sans silverware.

Lo and behold, there was a certain component of this dish that outperformed all the others. In fact, I was still thinking about this component of the dish during my entire walk home. It was the very thing I ignored when I first entered the café, the very thing about which I couldn't have cared less when the waitress described the dish I was ordering. I was blinded by my excitement for the smoked salmon and the egg that I did not expect in the slightest to be so thrilled by the simple foundation of fresh, crunchy, melt-in-your-mouth sourdough bread.

To me, bread is normally just a vessel for deli meat, or for tuna salad, or even just for olive oil. I like bread, yes, but I never give it much thought. I merely accept its existence and then focus solely on the item resting upon it.

But WOW. The bread at MarieBette had me feeling an entirely different way. I'm not trying to say the smoked salmon or egg were anything less than delicious, but that sourdough bread absolutely triumphed and took the gold. I had to force myself to leave the café without stopping at that front counter, the very one I had initially ignored, because I would have bought about 18 loaves of that sourdough bread (and probably eaten it all in one day).

My main takeaway from my stag MarieBette breakfast is the following:

The dish I had was tasty. The dishes at neighboring tables looked enjoyable as well. My smoked salmon and poached egg were not very different from their counterparts at any other Charlottesville breakfast place, but they were nonetheless satisfying. You should definitely still put MarieBette at the top of your list, however, because I’m telling you, that bread will change your life. You will be so sad as you finish the last bite. You will ponder it for the rest of the day. You may even think about it a week later when daydreaming in lecture, but all in all, you will be so happy that you crossed paths with such an amazing thing in life.

So next time you’re wanting to spend some dough on a breakfast outing, just think of taking a bite into a fresh slice of sourdough bread. And realize that you can make this a reality if your breakfast outing takes place at MarieBette.

related stories