Thursday, February 7, 2008

And the winner is...

I left my heart in Paris 7 years ago and I've been trying to get it back ever since. I can't pack up and move to France (yet) so in the meantime I reconstruct it: flowers, CDs, DVDs, books, pink cocktails, wonderful cheap wine, and of course, food. My quest for the perfect croissant to eat Stateside is more than a whim, it is happiness, comfort and resolve on a plate. With such high expectations, I've been disappointed more than once.

The secret to a great croissant is butter - it gives the bread it's golden hue and helps make the bread fluffy and crispy. I've had good croissants at Firehook, Patisserie Poupon and Breadline in DC. Le Pain Quotidien passes muster but they have better breads. La Madeleine has awful croissants. Starbucks - a crescent shape does not a croissant make. The French were on to something when they decided to score, rank, and publish the rankings of Parisian bakeries.

I went to Bouchon Bakery at a friend's suggestion. The nearest one to DC is in Manhattan, but it is conveniently located by Columbus Circle and Lincoln Center. The brainchild of Thomas Keller, it was originally created to provide his restaurants with baked goods. Luckily for those of us who cannot afford Per Se or French Laundry, the bakery has a wide selection of tarts, croissants, macaroons (one of my favorite things) as well as a sit-down cafe with views of Central Park. I had a croissant and one of the seasonal macaroons (pictured, the croissant was long gone) a perfectly made set of meringue cookies encassing a cassis filling. Well worth the detour, and cheaper than a trip to the Left Bank.

Bouchon Bakery & Cafe
Ten Columbus Circle, Third Floor
New York, NY 10019
Phone: 212.823.9366

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