City Bakery...let them eat cake
The day began promisingly, Maureen Dowd's Saturday N.Y. Times Column and a delicious report on Mastro's by JudiAu. We lumbered over to City Bakery for some freshly baked something or another to discover that after nearly a year their limited bakery selection had increased by three or four items so we ordered two we'd never tried: the blueberry coffee cake and the pear ginger danish. Nothing special really and $3.50 each. As one who was as enthusiastic as the next guy at their opening, I've found City Bakery to grow more lacking. Everything is so heavy and doughy but without the flavorful richness that sets, say, Clementine's apart (her sour cream blueberry muffin for instance is fantastic). Still, there's the hot chocolate and those croissants. Maybe I'm just in a year end slump. Lord knows I don't need more carbs.
I am always on the lookout for the perfect croissant, trying to approximate those I enjoyed over twenty years ago at a small bakery in Santa Cruz. My favorite so far in L.A. is from Amandine, on Wilshire a couple of blocks west of Bundy. Light, flaky, with distinct layers, buttery, and $1.50 each. Gosh, if only I could time it so I could get them hot from the oven.