What is it with Boston and adorable café chainlets? On my last trip, I discovered Flour Bakery (where I stopped again on this trip), and this time I found Tatte.

I arrived in Boston a bit after 11 AM and had a few hours to myself while I waited for my beau to finish up at work. I wanted to explore but knew I couldn’t do anything until I caffeinated myself. I went into one of the first places I saw, Tatte, directly across the street from South Station. It’s bright black and white design and gorgeous pastry case were a lovely contrast from the corporate Downtown Crossing neighborhood.

I needed coffee but couldn’t pass up a little something sweet. While everything looked amazing – especially the tartes – I settled on a raspberry tea cake, which was small enough to not ruin the lunch I intended to take myself to in an hour or two. Not only did the cake look delicate, it tasted delicate. It was super light with a burst of juicy flavor from two very fresh raspberries nestled inside. I enjoyed my coffee and treat at a large wooden farm table, right next to my kind of centerpiece: a huge arrangement of eucalyptus, my favorite.

I was so tempted by the whole menu that I actually went back to Tatte on Sunday with my beau. We didn’t have too much time so the production of a full sit-down lunch would have felt rushed. The more casual counter ordering style was ideal and the proximity to the station meant we wouldn’t miss the train.

This time, I got much more than a tiny tea cake. I ordered the ham and fried egg tartine and have vowed to recreate it. A large hunk of toasted sourdough was topped with a generous smear of a ricotta goat cheese mixture. That was then topped with black forest ham, pesto, a perfectly fried egg, and shards of parmesan. I had never thought of this particular combo before, but it was amazing. Sam, I AM down with this version of green eggs and ham. It should be simple enough for me to make myself as long as I commit to buying high quality ingredients like the ones they used at Tatte.

Tatte is the best kind of chain: one that doesn’t feel like a chain. Maybe it’s the bright subway tiles or the unique menu peppered with Israeli flavors (the chef and owner hails from the Holy Land). Or maybe Tatte has just figured out the formula for a great cafe.