I've been taking a Saturday morning class in Pasadena for the past several weeks and have stopped into Europane six separate times now for coffee and pastry. Not a hint of the attitude that I've read about on the LA board -- same two ladies behind the counter have been very polite and helpful. The only grief I've witnessed, and this was only once, when I stopped back for lunch, was some inter-patron strife over who was first in line. The results of some sensitivity training, or maybe there's a different, meaner spirited crew there weekdays?
I've got four more Saturdays to go and need to move on from my current standby of pain chocolat. The blueberry brioche a few weeks ago missed the mark. What else should I be trying? Roasted red pepper and goat cheese sandwich was good. Breakfast and lunch are both options for me.
EuroPane is good enough that almost anything they make will have its passionate devotees. One of my passions is their ginger scones, although I find if you get their any later than 10 am on Saturdays you will almost certainly be out of luck on them.
The rosemary currant bread may be my favorite store-bought loaf in all of southern California. I prefer to take a loaf home and toast it with a little butter to having it on any of their sandwiches (although I'm reminded that I've never had it with their egg salad ...)
And as several others upthread have confirmed, their service and attitude have taken a decided turn for the better in the last couple of years.
OP here. Thank you to all -- you've made great suggestions.
This morning I got an apple tart that was still warm from the oven -- absolutely delicious. Each substantial wedge of apple was perfectly browned and bursting with tangy, sweet flavor. How can that pastry shell be so crisp and flaky, yet clearly hold so much butter? Good stuff.
Seems to have been a bit of redecoration going on inside, and the two ladies who have always helped me on Saturday mornings past weren't in today. Staff still very pleasant and helpful. I have five more classes -- think I'll try the monkey bread and coffee suggestion next. Best.
The attitude is in the past, and I'm personally thankful 4 that!
The customer service team there now is about as good a group as Sumi de owner has ever had. Let's pray she holds on to them as long as possible.
Maybe even 1 day the service will match the high food quality.
The house coffee is probably the best in Pasadena.
I used to live 4 blocks from Europane for the last 7 years and since moving I stop in on my way to work for a togo coffee and pastry every day. There hasn't been a generalized staff attitude problem for at least the last 4 years since Sumi stopped using culinary school students on the retail end.
Anyway in no particular order, here's what to get
-any pastry made with fresh fruit (especially the pear tart) b/c Sumi gets really amazing fruit and doesn't over-sweeten those pastries so you can still taste the fruit.
-caneles (wax baked egg custard pastries shaped like a salt shaker)
-sea salt and caramel macarons
-monkey bread (only if you're going to dip in coffee)
-homemade biscotti (see above)
-egg custard with dates (the raspberry is good too)
-egg salad sandwich (I recommend the half sandwich as it's pretty rich)
-beet and goat cheese tart
-kabocha squash and goat cheese quiche
-chicken salad sandwich (uses yogurt not mayo)
I am sure I missed a bunch.
It pays to ask the server if they are not too busy what is fresh and what is particularly good that day. Some of them but not all, can tell when one of the pastries may be overdone or something came out particularly well or right out of the oven.
I've posted about this before but my all time favorite dessert is the simple Custard Tart with Rasberries. Always wonderful but when I was lucky enough to have one a few minutes out of the oven- HEAVEN!!! Lots of the pastries are really good, the Meatloaf Sandwich is one of the best and the coffee is good.
I basically catered a small shower from here last month. I did a cross section of sweets and savory, with the most memorable/commented upon being...
Marzipan Bear Claws
Cream Cheese Croissants
Custard Tart (I prefer the one from Tudor House personally)
Melting Choc Cookies
Egg Salad Sandwich on Olive Bread
Butternut Squash Quiche!!!
Baguette (add some butter and you're set)
And since you're there weekend time, try the French Toast!