A Tribute to The Little Pastry Shop in Princeton, NJ
The Little Pastry Chef in Princeton, NJ is a miraculous shop. Yes, I am one of NYC expats who unfortunately gets a little bored of the current offerings in Central New Jersey, but obviously this topic has already been fully covered.
I cannot say how much pleasure and happiness the chef, Edwige Fils-Aimé (Pouchon), a Haitian who trained at Manhattan's La Boulange and at Princeton's Chez Alice, has given to me and to our neighborhood.
I used to live above Dante's Cafe in NYC (some would say the best place to go for espresso in NYC, but this is merely tangential), and I do not miss their coffee--in fact, Pouchon's is less bitter, cheaper, and regular customers are welcome.
More significantly, Pouchon's pastries are heavenly. Light and fresh, he uses unique flavors and fruits to make his desserts and croissants, and every item is made and sold on the same day.
This is my best example: I brought one of his cakes to a large dinner party, and, the dinner and all other desserts eaten, the core celebrants were down to the imbibing-only part of the evening. The cake was remembered (note: no one had the "munchies"), and not only was the cake demolished, but a vast admiration of the cake was expressed by all.
In sum, The Little Pastry Chef deserves a big Woo-Hoo and a Thank-You-for-Existing rating in the Chowhound listings.
TLPC in Princeton is indeed a wonderful shop in a town with so much foodie potential, but a penchant for mediocrity. It's on my short-list of exceptional stand-outs - Small World, Bent Spoon, Ajihei, Blue Point Grill, & The Little Pastry Chef. Many many others establishments in Princeton are just 'good' or 'OK', those I feel are exceptional.