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Europane croissants... slightly disappointed

a
azibo Feb 14, 2007 09:32 AM

I have to admit, I am mildly disappointed. I went to Europane this morning to try a butter croissant, chocolate croissant, and coffee, after reading the rave reviews by the hounds.

Butter: First of all, not the right shape. Most of the croissants I've had in France have the characteristic crescent shape. There is a reason for this... It is easier to separate the arms from the body for dipping into coffee or hot chocolate (probably not the official reason, but reason enough for me). This also adds a unique quality: The arms of the croissant get slightly more cooked than the body, and add different textures to the overall "meal". Also note, when separating the arms from the body, the moister inside, if done right, tends to unravel away from the body slightly, leaving the body slightly more hollow. Crunchy on the outside, delectable and tender on the inside. The flavor at Europane was more like a costco croissant, close to, but still not comparable to, French ones. Still kind of too "bready/yeasty". I can't believe I am going to write this, and I'm sure I will get "hounded", but Oprah was actually right about something. You can order croissants from Williams Sonoma that are the closest to authentic if cooked correctly. Right shape, flavor, and texture. This will give you an idea of a more worthy croissant... I found a place in Santa Barbara that was closer to the real thing, still haven't found one in LA.

Chocolate croissant: never really like them anyway, so can't really say I was blown away, or not. Just ok is basically how I always feel.

Small coffee: delicious.

Overall: just okay. Not blown away. Any suggestions for a croissant more like I describe here?

Hopefully the egg salad sandwich, which I will have some other day, can redeem them for me.

  1. s
    slacker Feb 14, 2007 10:24 AM

    Their turkey sandwich is one of the best I've ever had, they roast their turkeys right there. Plus their lemonade is a perfect sweet/tart combo. But the counter girls have big attitude, and that always turns good food bad, no matter how good the food.

    1. c
      condiment Feb 14, 2007 11:26 AM

      The thing is, Europane croissants are slightly different every day, sometimes a little doughy (usually when the weather is wet) and sometimes crunchy (when it's dry). They are never the bready, dry, blown-out things that you tend to find at, say, Maison de Pain, or the damp horrors at Amandine. Susina's I like, but they might as well be deep-fried in creamery butter; they are not everyday croissants. Today's chocolate croissant - I was at Europane this morning - was delicate, very buttery, with a deeply flavored, subtly flaky exterior, and an interior that was mostly air, because the dough had basically migrated towards the wall of the croissant. Delicious, I say. Bravo Sumi.

      And I think the counter girls (and token dude) are great.

      1. notmartha Feb 14, 2007 11:56 AM

        Haven't tried Europane, but I am looking for the same type as you do. Most I had was way too bready. I think the closest is Pain du Monde - which is a chain in Orange County. I remembered the one I got at Balboa Island as particularly good.

        1. raytamsgv Feb 14, 2007 03:12 PM

          Have you tried croissants at the Vietnamese sandwich shops? I like them, but I'm not an expert in French foods.

          1 Reply
          1. re: raytamsgv
            notmartha Feb 15, 2007 12:09 PM

            I've tried Lee's Sandwiches croissants and they are bready. Not sure about others.

          2. s
            Silverlaker Feb 14, 2007 03:55 PM

            I'm not a fan of this place. It's drab and dreary, and the service is run with a "whatever" sort of attitude. Same goes with Aunti Ems while I'm at it. If I'm going to indulge in sweets (which is a treat for me), I want a cute, comfortable (and comforting) place.

            1. m
              mrpullings Feb 14, 2007 04:57 PM

              IMO some of the best croissants in LA (I myself am on an eternal quest for the best almond croissant) are at the small French bakery behind Helms Bldg in Culver City (sorry, name escapes me - I'm an eastsider so I don't get there much. ) Other hounds will know. Crisp, buttery, flakey - pretty great. Check it out.

              1 Reply
              1. re: mrpullings
                k
                ks in la Feb 14, 2007 07:06 PM

                Could you be more specific with what you mean the bakery behind Helms?

                I ask because this is an ongoing mystery to me. I think you maybe referring to Artistan Tatin which used to be on Venice near Helms. I never went to their place (they had odd hours), but I used to get their croissants at Cheviot Farms. I agree that the croissants from Tatin were great. Then they moved to a place on Washington Blvd, just west of Overland where the Strudel place used to be.

                Now they appear to be gone and something called the Sensitve Baker is in that location or getting ready to open there. I think they do gluten free things - more power to them, but not my scene.

                So, what's happened with the Tatin folks?

                By the way Azibo - I totally agree with you about Europane croissants. I've had them many times and find them stodgy inside, not tender enough. However, other baked goods there are really, really good. Give them another try with another product - their scones are delicious.

              2. s
                sambrown3 Feb 14, 2007 05:12 PM

                Going to a bakery on Valentines Day is probably a bad idea. I would give them another chance. They are truley a treat in the Pasadena area. There egg salad sandwich is the best in Los Angeles. Brioche topped with sun-dried tomato tampanade, baby greens, and then a roughly chopped soft boiled egg and snipped chive-I am drooling.

                1. o
                  oro3030 Feb 14, 2007 06:25 PM

                  The contrarian nature of Chowhounders never ceases to amaze me. Anyone who doesn't like Europane - please, stay away. It will make the place that much less crowded for those of us who love Sumi's bakery.
                  The croissants, BTW, are variable. Somedays they are merely very good and somedays they are sublime. Maybe it's the weather, or Sumi's supervision, or whatever.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: oro3030
                    s
                    Seldomsated Feb 16, 2007 08:04 AM

                    I used to bake croissants commercially, and I know there was a difference in quality and texture, which I thought was mainly due to the proofing stage, once they are formed. This is the step in which I noticed the most variance in the product - some nights they would rise faster and better, other nights not so much, according to the heat and moisture in the room. You had to gain experience in discovering the optimum time to pop them in the oven for the best results - not underproof, or overproof.

                    Our bakery had a three-day process for croissants: Night one - mix dough and put in bowls - proof, put in cooler. Night two - remove from bowls, form into layers of dough and butter, winding up with "pillows", which went back into the cooler. Night three - take out "pillows" and run thru machine to flatten. Cut and form croissants - proof and bake. The longer processing of the product made for an excellent development of flavor. As there was more than one time for proofing, results could vary due to that also, besides the final proof.

                  2. j
                    JamesV Feb 16, 2007 07:46 AM

                    I agree with the last post. If you don't like Europane, stay away -- and that is just what we have done since first giving it a try some months back. Based on all the raves floating about, I expected something special. What I got was just another sandwich. So unmemorable that I can't even remember what it was. It was over-priced, service non existent -- and all this on a dreary stretch of Colorado Blvd.

                    1. r
                      RoachCoach Feb 17, 2007 05:23 AM

                      Had a Macadamia nut tart @ Europane last week...MMMM. Rich caramelized filling, buttery crust and the best cup of coffee in the area.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: RoachCoach
                        ElsieDee Feb 17, 2007 03:19 PM

                        That macadamia nut tart is deadly and addicting. But most of the time I go with the blueberry tart-like thing, in the theory that it's healthier *grinning*. Actually, I like them both - but the macadamia tart is a bit too rich for me, so I always end-up sharing it.

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