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The Great Boston Pastry Hunt

As part of an ongoing quest of my own I have a crushing need to try every respectable pastry in Boston. On the list is a trek to really do some damage at Canto 6 in JP and the place in Newburyport whose name is eluding me right now.

I have one other recent positive to ad to the list. Not quite true "Patisserie" but truly amazing was the Portugese tart at Great Taste bakery in Chinatown. Absolutely the best version of this (pasteis de nata) that I have had in Boston.

Just as a refresher my list of worthy pastries in Beantown:

- Modern Pastry: Cassata, Napolean, Almond Macaroon, Turrone, Zeppole di San Giuseppe (March only) and quite a few others. Not quite world class, but very very good and certainly best of Boston in my book for depth and breadth.

- Maria's pretty similar to Modern, a bit more homey.

- Japponaise: Adzuki Bean cream puff. Truly amazing, has to be tried.

- Athan's: Chocolate Jamaica

- Pistacchio Macaroons at Mike's Pastry (the only thing I eat there)

- Tabrizi Bakery Watertown: any of their cookies, particularly the walnut macaroons and the cream puffs when they are fresh.

- Ho Yuen Ting: Coconut buns. Pretty darned far from Patisserie, but still amazing, particularly when hot out of the oven.

- Clear Flour: numerous nice items, not really patisserie, but some nice sweets.

- Iggy's: chocolate croissant, almond croissant. Some of their sweets are okay but mostly clunky (the breads are excellent).

- I still need to try the dacquoise at Flour.

- Jim's Bagels Gloucester, numerous items. Not quite world class, but really good.

- Virgilios in Gloucester: best lobster tail, period.

- Sclafani Italian Bakery Gloucester: this place seems to close at 2:00 and is closed on Sundays but they make an amazing jam-filled donut thingie that is killer when it is hot. The old school vibe is worth the trip alone.

- Donut's: Verna's, Linda's, Demet's, Kane's, and in a pinch Ohlin's (butter crunch or cider only) and their apple fritter.

- Yi Soon (these are Taiwanese and so not as sweet as most western pastries) world class, perhaps not, but decent for Boston: Sweet potato bun, cream cheese bun, cheese cake (very delicate), chocolate walnut cookies, mooncakes.

- Italian Place on Route 117 in Lynn whose name is eluding me, a few good items.

- The Cafe Belo Brazilian chain has some truly amazing iced cakes, coconut with prune filling, caramel with passionfruit, etc. at various locations. Since the Allston one burnt down (now replaced by a much smaller take out joint) I have not tried them.

On the "warning, not worth feeding to your cat", even though they LOOK good list: Cafe Vanille, Truly Jorg's and Finale.

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  1. StriperGuy, are you going to weight in before you get on the road? Since your list veers outside of Boston, I'd suggest Tripoli's in Lawrence for some lemon or chocolate ToTo's (an Italian Cookie), also real good Cassata, Napolean and Lobster tail. Also Piro's in Methuen, unbelievable whole strawberry whipped cream cake, rum baba's, Italian Ricotta Pie and a great selection of cookies and other goodies.

    1. In everett, the Elm st bakery. An amazing chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream, chocolate ganash, and filled with chocolate custard. Also, many of their "mini pastries are quite good." Staying in everett, a bakery that looks like it's in a house, I forget the name. It is on Broadway/rt99 as you come in to town off the traffic circle. Left hand side of the street. Best cannoli in the boston area. Better than modern or mikes or anyone.

      9 Replies
      1. re: HM1

        Hmmmm, these sound like two of the best tips I've had so far. I don't get so excited about cannoli, but good chocolate cake, yes. The places above are my reccos for things I find worthy all over Boston. I will drive considerable distance for good dessert. Thanks Treb and HN1 I did not know either of these places.

        1. re: StriperGuy

          If you're REALLY up for a drive, The Pocono Farm Stand in Tannersville, PA has the BEST apple crumb pie I've ever had. Closer to Boston, "Debby's Cakes" (as the locals call it - the "real" name is Creative Cakes by Debby) in Nahua, NH makes a killer chocolate truffle cake - I got one for my hubby's groom cake & everyone (including the waitstaff) loved it:
          Chocolate Truffle Cake:
          http://www.creativecakesbydebby.com/t...
          Debby's Main Page:
          http://www.creativecakesbydebby.com/i...

          I also like the chocolate torte from Guarino's in Norwood, as well as their chocolate chip cookies, which taste "Italian" with whatever flavoring they put in them (I don't know how else to describe it, but you'll know what I mean when you taste it).
          Cake Page:
          http://www.guarinopastryshop.com/cake...
          Guarino's Main Page:
          http://www.guarinopastryshop.com/

          Fratelli's in Quincy is my "regular" eclair place since The Argus Bakery closed many years ago. Still can't find a place that makes banana bread,half moons, brownies,chocolate chip & butter cookies the way that they did - SIGH. I always said I'd invest in a bakery if one of their bakers ever decides to reopen.

          Fratelli's Main Page:
          http://www.fratellispastryshop.com/

          Good luck on the pastry search - let me know if you ever need a "research assistant" to help. ; )

          1. re: southie_chick

            The eclairs at the Thinking Cup on Tremont St. are out of this world! The pastry is flaky, the cream divine, and the chocolate pure and dark. In fact, the cherry scones are the best I've ever had. They clearly use top ingredients. Not a typical bakery, but truly wonderful food.

            -----
            Tremont Cafe
            418 Tremont St, Boston, MA 02116

          2. re: StriperGuy

            I am funny about chocolate cake and do not like most. I do happen to like the "Classic All-American" cake at Bread & Chocolate in Newton. It does have a real buttercream frosting rather than a shortening frosting, which not everyone likes, but I do in this context. It works.

          3. re: HM1

            Are you thinking Esposito's? They have a huge selection of goodies.

            1. re: HM1

              Oh yeah, Elm Street! I've only run in there for cookies after I take my son to the (ahem) dentist, but must try the other delights. I also like the Passion Fruit cake at Broadway Cafe in Everett (on Rte 99/Broadway, just past the police station).

              1. re: gimlis1mum

                I grew up around the corner of Elm Street bakery and their Italian cookies are the best around, still!

                I do love the whipped cream with glazed fruit cakes at Lumberto's in Revere too.

              2. re: HM1

                Would that be Il Pastificio? I was right by there this morning (and I love really good cannoli but don't like the second-rank stuff at all)...

                1. re: HM1

                  Elm Street Bakery cheesecake is the best I've had in a long time

                2. Country Desserts in Newton. Try the mini Rasberry turnovers and the Blueberry squares. Bread & Chocholate in Newton. They have several good items including the Donut Cupcake and the Whoopie Pie.

                  1. those Portuguese Tarts @ Great Taste rock - usually stick w/dan tat, but one night they were all out and so we got some PTs and they are super . . . .

                    great list, although I'm gaining weight just looking at it!

                    GG
                    http://www.semisweetonline.com

                    1. have you come across a good Black Forest cake at one of these bakeries?

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: nasilemak

                        Finding good pastry in Boston is like rating the food on the Titanic. For reasons that I cannot fathom, it simply does not exist. Right now the only exceptional pastry is the Adzuki Cream Puff at the Bakery Japonaise. It offers an amazing combination of light creamy goodness with textured beany moderate sweetness in a decent crust. The mixture always surprises.

                        If I want to get a super-sugar high I might try Athan's, but its pastry lacks delicacy and subtlety of taste.

                        I confess that my preference runs to classic French pastry which has disappeared since Delphine Gourmandaise shuts its doors.

                        I actually find that the Trader Joe's frozen confections (macarons, chocolate fudge cakes, etc.) are better than almost all the fresh products in Boston. Otherwise get thee to Montreal or New York, since Paris is impractical on a regular basis.

                        1. re: nasilemak

                          I'd nominate Russo's cream puffs for a place on this list, especially considering the price, which is about $1.50. We were going to do a taste off with the Clear Flour puff, but couldn't bring ouselves to spend nearly $5 on a cream puff. And at Russo's, you can pick up berries to sprinkle all over the plate... instant gratification after groceries.

                            1. re: nasilemak

                              This may sound crazy but, I've had excellent Black Forest cake from Costco.

                              1. re: nasilemak

                                Lala's Hungarian in Manchester makes what I believe to be the closest to authentic "Schwartzwalder Kirschtorte" in the Boston area.

                                1. re: cornFusion

                                  I realize that recommendations in this thread have gone pretty far afield of Boston, but I find it hard to think of 50 miles away - and in another state - as "in the Boston area." I don't see Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte on the menu on their website, though - do they usually have it or is it an occasional special?

                              2. Fisichelli's Pastry Shop‎-
                                55 Union Street, Lawrence, MA‎ - (978) 682-7774‎
                                I occasionally have business nearby and I have become addicted to their macaroons. I just buy a dozen and eat them on my way back to Boston. Must be 10 kinds. Fresh and wonderful.

                                The Biscuit, 406 Washington St. Somerville. Good stuff.

                                Just to name a couple.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: grunko

                                  omygosh-- the pistachio ones are my favorite! Almost went to pick some up today. :)

                                  1. re: grunko

                                    Fisichelli's, in my opinion, makes the best cannolis. There is a rumor in my family that they use my Nana's recipe...I choose to believe it.

                                    1. re: Eatin in Woostah

                                      I love their lobster tails, although they are big enough for 3 to share.

                                    2. re: grunko

                                      Huh, that's one I don't know (though I see this is a year ago post).

                                    3. I agree that there is a shocking lack of respectable pastry in this fair city. As you have found, there are one or two good things at different places but no ONE place that is good everything. I will be saving this post for further followup and reference. I gotta, erm, try and make sure you're right and all. ;-)

                                      I will add a new discovery to the list, however. From hearing recommendations here about the Irish soda bread at Keltic Krust (terrible name, eh?) in Newton, I stopped in for some the other day. I did get a round and I concur, it was marvelous. But I also tried their Eccles Cake, which was also extremely good. A not-too-sweet filling of raisins that had been cooked enough to caramelize slightly, wrapped in a flaky sweet layer of pastry. VERY good.

                                      I do like the lobster tails at Antoine's bakery in Newton.

                                      Finally, I do think that in many cases, the best pastry to be found is at the end of a meal at a particular restaurant. The coconut cream pie at Myers + Chang is perhaps the best I've ever had- wonderful essence of coconut with a zing of lime, with chantilly cream on top.
                                      And even though it's served at a restaurant, I often get pieces to go. It's that good.

                                      And the Valrhona Manjari Chocolate Soufflé Cake at Lumière in Newton is ethereal. I don't even like chocolate (and usually scorn restaurants who offer some version of a chocolate soufflé cake or molten chocolate cake because it's a "cheat"- one of the easiest desserts to make at home) but this one just sets a standard that everyone else should try to reach.

                                      The galactoboureko dessert at Farm Grill is also worthy of bringing home.

                                      So even if I don't have great luck at many bakeries, I do get my need-an-excellent-pastry fixes without too much effort.

                                      I can't wait to see what else it on this thread.

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: Scruffy The Cat

                                        I second the galactoboureko from Farm Grille....amazing stuff!

                                        1. re: Scruffy The Cat

                                          Scruffy, regarding Keltic Krust in Newton, if you think their soda bread (especially the brown bread) and their Eccles pastries are good, try their Chelsea bun -- an amazing cinnamon bun plummy with raisins and a raspberry jam center. About that name Keltic Krust, the Irish alphabet doesn't have a "K," and Irish folks don't know we think it's a funny letter. They only know that if they spell Celtic with an American "K," we won't pronounce it "seltic."

                                          And for a world-class coconut cream pie, the next time you're at the Cape, try ordering it for dessert at the Flume restaurant on Lake Ave. in Mashpee.

                                          Bread & Chocolate also has a spectacular chocolate cake that's usually gone by noon and their scones are crunchy, not doughy.

                                          Whole Foods has light-as-air Danish pastries -- some made with fresh cherries, others with fresh apple slices, but they're gone by mid-morning.

                                          And, if you really love Danish pastry, you need to go to the Danish Pastry House on Arlington St. in Watertown.

                                          PAUL mentioned Country Desserts; IMHO their rugelach are a cut above anyone else's and any pie they make is worth taking home, as opposed to any of the impossibly heavy stuff they turn out at "the Pie Bakery."

                                          Now, if someone could just tell where to find (or how to bake) a Bramble, the incredibly good raspberry pastry that was a cross between a tart and a cookie that was miraculously turned out by a very mediocre bakery in Roslindale called Hanley's, you'd make my whole family ecstatic.

                                          -----
                                          Danish Pastry House
                                          205 Arlington St, Watertown, MA 02472

                                          Pie Bakery & Cafe
                                          796 Beacon St, Newton Center, MA 02459

                                          1. re: NKimball

                                            Sugar Bakery, which replaced Hanley's, makes brambles.

                                          2. Whoops how could I forget not strictly bakeries but...

                                            Arax amazing cookies, baklava and other mostly homemade treats. The oval buttery cookie thing with ground pistachios inside.

                                            Sevan good baklava and kazandibi (gooey charred rice pudding incredible).

                                            19 Replies
                                            1. re: StriperGuy

                                              Actually I woke up this morning and realized that I should have added the kazandibi from Sevan to the list. I do think it ranks up there almost with the adzuki cream puff. I do know that whenever I bring either home they don't last long.

                                              I would have described it as a cross between panna cotta and creme brulee, rather than rice pudding. It does have rice flour as an ingredient, at least according to some recipes, but it does not have the consistency or taste of rice pudding ( a dish I confess that I associate with the treatment of stomach disorders).

                                              As for Arax, I don't think they bake their own pastries. They have a lot of home-made products, but, for what that is worth, I believe that their breads and pastries are out-sourced. I think that their best baklava comes from Montreal.

                                              Regarding the subject of restaurant dessert courses, I am a fan of the baked goods on display at Family Restaurant in Brookline. Unfortunately by the time I get to that course I am usally too full to indulge. Most of the pastries are on display to the left of the cash register, but there is one dish that they make to order. It is a cheese and baked shredded wheat confection called Kataif. It is a cross between the Greek galaktobouriko and kataif. Typically it is baked with a crust of crispy shredded wheat on top a layer of cheese. When served, hot sugar syrup is poured on the whole thing.

                                              Unfortunately I have yet to order it, but the table next to me one night did and it smelled and looked great.

                                              1. re: VivreManger

                                                Arax DEFINITELY bakes most of their sweets. I know, they often offer me something they just made. Not positive they make every single thing, but the cookies for sure, and I am pretty sure the baklava.

                                                1. re: VivreManger

                                                  the very diet unfriendly technique for being able to eat dessert after a great meal like that is to order it to go. Eat your giant meal, bring dessert home, wait a couple of hours, then eat it. It's really a terrible idea. But is a way to get to eat those good desserts.

                                                  I like the desserts at Family Restaurant, too.

                                                  1. re: VivreManger

                                                    I make that dessert sometimes - it's actually quite easy (unless you try to make the actual kataif). Great places to get both baklava and cream kataif are Armenian church bazaars. The filling is usually milk, corn starch and sugar, with a bit of rosewater (which I usually omit).

                                                    1. re: VivreManger

                                                      A word on the Kataif at Brookline Family Restaurant: that's a great description (melted cheese on the inside surrounded by crispy shredded wheat, drenched in SWEET syrup), and definitely an acquired taste/texture. We ordered it one night after dinner and couldn't stomach more than a couple bites. It tasted like exactly what it sounds like, which is to say, the flavors did _not_ magically work together. I can understand how someone who grew up eating desserts of that nature might enjoy it, but it was way too syrupy for me (and I have a total sweet tooth).

                                                      Not exactly pastries, but in terms of delicious sweets in the Boston area: I do like the orange hazelnut cake at L. A. Burdick (encased in gianduja), the chocolate mousse at Wilson's Farm, and the almond croissant at Quebrada.

                                                    2. re: StriperGuy

                                                      The oval cookie with pistachio's I believe is called, 'mamoul'.

                                                      1. re: StriperGuy

                                                        Boston Kebab House had a surprisingly good Kazan Dibi on one occasion that I went there (my dad who grew up in Istanbul said it was pretty decent). The second time, not so much, it was a bit past its prime (you can tell when the water starts to separate out from the "custard").

                                                        1. re: StriperGuy

                                                          o.k.stripes, after a good lunch at Town Diner, we did a little jaunt to sample some of your recs. I'll offer some reactions. Tabrizi was an interesting spot. I got his walnut and almond meringues. I think . I was very interested to learn that Iranis eat chickpea flour sweets (i'd not seen that before except in Indian desserts)and that his cookies pair chickpea flour w/ cardamom(my fav spice for sweets) but I did not care for his cookies made of: chickpea flour(besan), oil and sugar and cardamom. His other sweets almost all had rose water in them and I detest rosewater. He protested that the rose water taste was slight in the rice flour cookies but i found that mild for him is strong for me.so i did not try the others. The 'puff pastry' thingies, while they don't have rose water in them, are made w/ oil and not butter, so i didn't try those either.

                                                          -----
                                                          Tabrizi
                                                          Watertown,MA, Watertown, MA

                                                          Town Diner
                                                          627 Mount Auburn St, Watertown, MA 02472

                                                          1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                            did you mean macaroons? i don't recall walnut and almond meringues.

                                                            1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                              Hmmm, I love rosewater and the chick pea thingies. Still glad you got to try the macaroon.

                                                              Knew something was missing in that cream puff. No excuse for using oil.

                                                              1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                I think there are several varieties of cookies without rosewater - the raisin butter cookie, the little rectangular phyllo-looking ones with the apricot (?) glaze on top, the walnut macaroons...I am sure there are more, though I cannot picture any...wonder if you were getting some cross-pollination in the air...

                                                                I don't know if I actually like the little chickpea flour cookies (more like bites), but they are so curious and different that I end up grabbing a couple every time. But not sure if I actually *like* them. :)

                                                                1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                                                  yes,stripes, i do mean macaroon. it's because what he makes is, for bakers, a meringue (as in the nut meringues used for dacquoise) so that's why the slip up. Macaroons (as in those at Lakota) will often have flour in them. You know stripes, i have never before encountered walnut meringues/macaroons. pecans(in u.s.), hazelnuts and almonds in europe, but not walnuts. hmm, isn't that interesting. maybe it's because pecans are not native to europe.

                                                                  Hey, you didn't say anyth about my dacquoise- assembly suggestion!???

                                                                  bob, the filo type things are the 'puff pastry' bars i think, w/ the oil.......... and yes, he showed me all the ones w/o rosewater, so i tried the ones that appealed to me and avoided the oil instead of butter ones.

                                                                  while my taste does not go for the chickpea flour or the rice flour cookies, it is solely because of the oil component. The baker/owner says he sells hundreds and hundreds of pounds of the chickpea ones so it must be what iranis grow up with and love. At first i was thinking that maybe they're made w/ oil in Iran because of the heat (butter spoiling) but then I thought about how Indian desserts are all butter based and the Indians certainly know all about heat. At any rate, i do think it's neat for gluten-free people to have the rice flour and chickpea flour cookies as a choice ( though someone with real severe gluten free needs would not buy here because of the cross contamination of the flour .)

                                                                  1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                    For me those macaroon/meringues are fine solo. Though I bet they would rock with some nice light butter cream sandwiched inside...

                                                                    I also have NEVER seen a walnut macaroon anywhere else.

                                                                    And I do love the chick pea flour cookies, taste like halva to me. Now if we can just get him to start using Cabot's 84 butter instead of oil...

                                                                    1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                      actually it was me who asked if you meant macaroons not meringue. I look for "safe" meringues for my gluten-free friends and don't count Tabrizi as a source. As to oil in cookies, this is natural for many Jewish recipes and can produce some great baked goods, such as kichel and sugar cookies. these cookies are baked so they can be eaten after a meat meal. other cookies such as rugelach or hamentaschen have butter. the texture of an oil-based cookie should be light (a good kichel is like eating sugar-air-crunch.)

                                                                      -----
                                                                      Tabrizi
                                                                      Watertown,MA, Watertown, MA

                                                                      1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                        Indian sweets use clarified butter (ghee). The milk solids are removed, and that is why it keeps well. But that is also why although ghee has a lovely, nutty flavor, especially when freshly made, it lacks the "buttery" flavor of butter. I think you'd find goods baked with ghee to not be as satisfying as those made with butter.

                                                                        That being said, I'm pretty sure I've seen Persian recipes that call for clarified butter. I'll check my Persian cookbooks in a couple of days. (I'm not near them right now.)

                                                                        1. re: FoodDabbler

                                                                          I have seen Armenian ones that call for clarified butter as well.

                                                                          1. re: FoodDabbler

                                                                            I wasn't able get to my cookbooks till today. In "New Food of Life", a book on Persian cooking (Mage Publishers, 2008), Najmieh Batmanglij says (hardcover, p. 147) that clarified butter (aka ghee aka roghan-e kareh), "a staple for the Persian kitchen, is used for cooking rice and pastries."

                                                                            As a semi-related aside, a glance through my copy of "A Baghdad Cookery Book", a new translation of Kitab al-Tabikh (a 13th century collection of Arab recipes), reveals much use of sesame oil, even in sweets, but none of butter, clarified or otherwise. I may have missed a reference or two, though. There are references to ghee in Indian sources that go back over 3,000 years. It would be interesting to see how far back its use in Persia went.

                                                                            1. re: FoodDabbler

                                                                              Very interesting. My grandparents were all from Anatolia (routinely stomped through and conquered by Persians and all sorts of other peoples, who invariably lost interest or were driven away by other conquerors or frequently-occuring natural disasters), and the home cooking was heavy on dairy. Hummus was not consumed, and tahini was rarely (if ever) used. For whatever reason, they used to refer to hummus and tahini-based dishes, and pita bread as "Syrian," rather than Armenian.

                                                                  2. A&J King in Salem is worth a trip. Their bread is terrific, their coffee is outstanding, and the pastries I've tried are excellent. I was at a party this weekend and was served a slice of lemon pound cake from there that was to die for. I highly recommend the bouchon--individual chocolate cake that looks like nothing special and tastes incredible.

                                                                    http://www.northshoredish.com

                                                                    1. Donuts With A Difference in Medford.

                                                                      1. Thanks for mentioning Costco. As it happens, their baked stuff is actually handmade. The gigantic chocolate cake is one of the best I've ever had--if you're into chocolate overkill, as I am. Their fruit pies are delicious, also. I would also mention Ginger Betty's in Quincy. All the others I thought of have already been mentioned.

                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                        1. re: mibsphil

                                                                          "their baked stuff is actually handmade" what does that mean? You can't possibly tell me that they don't make their baked goods (however delicious) in a quasi factory setting.

                                                                          1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                            I don't care how good it is, if Costco is actually a contender in the Boston bakery wars, wont it just make you jump off the Tobin? SRSLY.

                                                                          2. re: mibsphil

                                                                            I'm curious as well. The time I checked a couple of years ago, the humongous chocolate cake has trans fats, which are not an indication of high quality.

                                                                            1. re: babka eater

                                                                              Trans fats are anathema to decent sweets!

                                                                          3. Funny that Costco keeps coming up in a conversation about Boston's best pastries.

                                                                            21 Replies
                                                                            1. re: baldbert

                                                                              Yikes - this confirms it. Book your railing space at the Tobin now.

                                                                              1. re: nsenada

                                                                                Costco's appearance is a reflection of the abysmal quality of Boston pastry. I have never had a cake or a pie at Costco that I would buy again.

                                                                                The only commercial apple pie I like in Massachusetts are to be found, **in season**, at two bakeries in the western part of the state, Atkins Farm and Bread Euphoria, but that is outside the limits of this discussion.

                                                                                The only baked goods worth getting at Costco, sort of, are the chocolate chunk cookies.

                                                                                Isn't the Zakim higher?

                                                                                1. re: VivreManger

                                                                                  ''Costco's appearance is a reflection of the abysmal quality of Boston pastry.' R U kidding? Keeping your statement in context, the comment on Costco was specific to Black Forest Cake. Judging from your posts, it appears you're not too familiar with the area, I would suggest you go to some of the places StriperGuy mentioned in his original post and see for yourself. You may be surprised!

                                                                                  1. re: treb

                                                                                    I hate to say it, but I agree with VivreManger that the pastry situation in Boston is not great. My list above comes from my own struggle with the fact that there really is NO all around excellent pastry shop in Boston. This was debated at some length on another thread here:

                                                                                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/687689

                                                                                    My list reflects the best of what there is, but in my experience there is no one place in Boston where you can go in and find a broad selection of truly world class pastries / sweets the likes of which you would find in Paris, Vienna, Brussels, NYC (though it is tricky even in New York), and perhaps Istanbul, Cairo, Teheran, etc.

                                                                                    My own personal mecca is Gerard Mulot in Paris, and none of the places listed above is even in the same ballpark in terms of GM's finer creations.

                                                                                    1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                                      I think you need to clarify what you mean by excellent pastries, because there seems to be some thought that one might include Costco on your list.

                                                                                      What I believe you're getting at is a pastry shop that starts with whole ingredients such as butter, flour, sugar, and vanilla. But *not* a pastry shop that sells goods made from tubs with SYSCO stamped on the side of them. Because we have a whole lot of those, and those results, while sometimes tasty, are not in any way, shape, or form, related to a patisserie like Gerard Mulot.

                                                                                      What's odder than Boston not having any one place like this is that Providence does seem to have one or two. Pastiche comes to mind.

                                                                                      Do we not have *any* one place? At all?

                                                                                      1. re: Scruffy The Cat

                                                                                        Hmmm, Pastiche, I've never been; not that far a drive............

                                                                                        1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                                          Forgot about that place - a friend from RI raved about it.

                                                                                          1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                                            Pastiche in Providence is not bad, generally better than what is generally available in Boston. But it is not in the same league as my Paris favorites, Pierre Hermes or the classic standby Stohrer which has been in business since the 18th century.

                                                                                            However I have not been to Pastiche is several years so my assessment is not current.

                                                                                            1. re: VivreManger

                                                                                              No, you're correct. It certainly is not the same as anything in Paris. But at least they're *trying*. And I don't know that we're even getting the attempt up here.

                                                                                              Says Scruffy,
                                                                                              who's a mite bit cranky that the Providence area gets Pastiche, Seven Stars Bakery, and a giant WINTER FARMERS MARKET fer cryin' out loud. Why did I move up here again?

                                                                                              1. re: VivreManger

                                                                                                I have to say that complaining that a pastry shop isn't as good as Pierre Herme is like complaining that the trumpet player in the band you're listening to isn't as good as Louis Armstrong. Yes, it would be great if every chef were that good, but it's never going to happen; even in Paris it's not going to happen.

                                                                                                1. re: Moopheus

                                                                                                  I don't think it's an issue of complaining that X isn't as good as Pierre Herme, but that we acknowledge that the search continues for something even better than Pierre Herme. I happen to like Pierre Marcolini's macarons more than Herme's, and I'm pretty sure if one searches hard enough it's possible to find something even better.

                                                                                                  1. re: limster

                                                                                                    And I have to confess that having tried Pierre Marcolini, I was not overwhelmed. For what it is worth when I was last at both the line for Herme was going out the door and in Marcolini there was only one customer before me.

                                                                                                    Chacun a son gout.

                                                                                                    As for the Moopheus comment, perhaps we should not complain that everything is not the best, but we should have standards by which we measure the best.

                                                                                                    1. re: VivreManger

                                                                                                      Even within one's personal preferences, it's worth reiterating that "the best" is only a temporary situation, until one finds something even better. How temporary that is depends on how hard one searches and of course how lucky one gets.

                                                                                          2. re: StriperGuy

                                                                                            'the abysmal quality of Boston pastry'. Abysmal? that's pretty harsh IMO.

                                                                                            1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                                              This is mostly for StriperGuy and ViverManger but anyone can chime in if you are on a similar line of thought. I am a real **()*)(@#$#@^ for standards(have even filtered Paris down to a handful of shops but that is true excellence) but I will be in Boston for a couple of days and where I go directly afterwards is Nowheresville. I might be in the market for some bread and sugary treats. How would you rank these(feel free to say if they are close or not if 1,2,3). I would be willing to go to 2 or 3 shops for each(and I realize both bread and desserts are at some I list) unless nothing is even good. I am not asking for great because I know that is not happening. If very good, I would be surprised and excited. But if not even good(on the high global standard, not the 'this is great for where I live' standard)then please tell me to skip all the calories.

                                                                                              Iggy's
                                                                                              Hi-Rise
                                                                                              Clear Flour
                                                                                              Canto 6
                                                                                              Japonais

                                                                                              If recommended, I would appreciate if there are only specific items that are worthwhile at said shop.
                                                                                              Also, I am not interested in the Middle Eastern and similar type of bakeries.
                                                                                              I do not care for German brots or the like.
                                                                                              And I am not in the market for the much loved cream puffs even at Japonais or Asian style desserts.

                                                                                              I hope there are replies. I did not want to start a whole new "Best Bakery..." thread.
                                                                                              Thanks in advance.

                                                                                              1. re: dietndesire

                                                                                                dnd, as you have seen by reading all the above comments, people are soooo divided as to what makes a good bakery. I am wicked picky about bakeries above all else. Personally, i would steer you to the phenomenal Iggy's; and the phenomenal Pig's Fly(breads only, but they do have some dessert breads like Chocolate bread and the current winner for us(and it's seasonal) Lemon, blueberry, raspberry w/ sugar topping; and 'bread puddings' (but not what you're used to.) At Japonaise the only thing great to me is the Anh and Whipped Cream filled Puffs and the Curry Beef Donuts, but i am just not a fan of light airy sponge cake type sweets. I am not a Flour fan at all, but they do exist certainly, and Flour does have often v good plain croissants. Canto has v good croissants but is not worth the trip to me. The South End Buttery I have not tested but they have many fans. I haven't found great cookies anywhere in boston, but Formaggio, a specialty store and cheese shop and bakery, has excellent brownies and amazing house made granola (incl cashews, pistachios, dried cherries, orange) and excellent Orange Chocolate Tea Cake and Pots de Creme. Near the Cambridge Formaggio is Burdick's Chocolates which i do think deserves a visit from you for their chocolates and some chocolate desserts. I so hope you will find some delicious things. Plse let us know your experiences!

                                                                                                -----
                                                                                                Burdick's
                                                                                                Cambridge, MA, Cambridge, MA

                                                                                                South End Buttery
                                                                                                314 Shawmut Avenue, Boston, MA 02118

                                                                                                1. re: dietndesire

                                                                                                  The first three tie on the bread front.

                                                                                                  Iggy's : #1 breads, excellent pizza's. very good crossaint, some nice desserts but not their forte. Super nice folks.

                                                                                                  Hi-Rise: #1 breads expensive! Good breads, people are annoying. I way prefer Iggy's for the overall gestalt. Hi rise is just annoying. Their Huron loaf is my fav whole wheat in Boston.

                                                                                                  Clear Flour: Great breads, and croissants. Superb baguette.

                                                                                                  Canto 6: Ashamed to say, still have not been.

                                                                                                  Japonais: Not worth it if you don't want the cream puffs.

                                                                                                  There is still no "go to worthy" to die for French patisserie dessert place in Boston.

                                                                                                  On the Italian front I think Modern Pastry, two locations is excellent on numerous fronts.

                                                                                                  I also have a massive addition to the Portuguese tart (panna cotta essentially) at Great Taste in Chinatown. Might just be my favorite Boston dessert right now.

                                                                                                  Athan's Jamaica chocolate mousse tart also ranks, though nothing else there is really worthy.

                                                                                                  -----
                                                                                                  Modern Pastry
                                                                                                  257 Hanover St, Boston, MA

                                                                                                  Great Taste
                                                                                                  201 Main St, Milford, MA 01757

                                                                                                  1. re: dietndesire

                                                                                                    May be a little late now ..but I read through your entire post and I have only one suggestion - don't miss the gruyere cheese croissant at Clear Flour (you need to be there early to get one - or a handful as i do - and eat it right there (preferably before you pay for it, or as soon as you step away from paying. Please do let me know your opinion of these (again on the "Western International Scale" of things) if you get a chance at these croissants.

                                                                                                    1. re: cornFusion

                                                                                                      You'll have to save me one some day! : )

                                                                                              2. re: VivreManger

                                                                                                No, you can't get an LNG tanker under the Zakim/

                                                                                          3. Someone on a non-food message board has been raving over the "chocolate sack" at Kupel's... and refusing to say what it is!

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: djd

                                                                                              If I try one, I am definitely ordering by pointing. I refuse to ask for a "chocolate sack." At first I thought it was a joke, but they really are listed on the menu.

                                                                                            2. I'm a big fan of Bella Moto on Mass Ave in Arlington. Everything is homemade; the open kitchen is just behind the counter. Frances makes a variety of baked goods from shortbread to cupcakes to assorted cookies, little tarts - there's always something new to try when you go in, and the ingredients are fresh and decadent.

                                                                                              1. I should add the following.

                                                                                                Boston has come SO far on food since I move to Boston. Where it was previously bleak or non-existent, we now have really excellent options for:

                                                                                                - Artisan bread
                                                                                                - multiple regions of Chinese food
                                                                                                - Some decent Mexican (cafe angela)
                                                                                                - French
                                                                                                - sushi
                                                                                                - High end Italian (not just red sauce)
                                                                                                - Chinese groceries
                                                                                                - Russian groceries
                                                                                                - Locally grown veggies and meats
                                                                                                - BBQ (I mean really BOSTON has world class BBQ)
                                                                                                - Vegetarian
                                                                                                - Asian bakeries

                                                                                                But on the truly world class desserts front, we still come up a bit short.

                                                                                                I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Hopefully some pattiseur out there is reading this thread and scheming their grand opening as we speak.

                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                                                  Hear! Hear!

                                                                                                  There is nothing wrong with comparing any food product or restaurant in Boston with those in another town. On the contrary it is a necessary step in improving quality everywhere. And we do it all the time. We recognize both that we are looking for good things to eat in Boston, but we should not limit our standards for what is good to Boston. The bar should always be set as high as possible.

                                                                                                  On the other hand it is true that sometimes the comparison is apples to oranges. Sometimes the product is so different that there is no point in the judgment. Comparing chocolate chip cookies to a cassis mango cake or even a Herme litchi rosewater macaron is silly. However comparing one bakery's cake to another is not.

                                                                                                  As for blond brownies, I don't like them wherever they are made. And at that point we are talking about a matter of taste, rather than an matter of quality.

                                                                                                  1. re: VivreManger

                                                                                                    True. I love blond brownies, but don't want rose water anywhere near my dessert.

                                                                                                    1. re: VivreManger

                                                                                                      My gosh, have you ever been to the mid-west or west coast? You'll think BOS is the nirvana of pastries! Ever eat a bagel in CA?, it's like wonder bread in donut form. I'm all for raising the bar and improving but, IMO, we're not all that bad.

                                                                                                  2. You know, I'm sorry to say it, but the more I think about it the more I believe that if there were a market in Boston for high-quality French- or Viennese-style patisserie, we would have a patisserie or two around town.

                                                                                                    The fact of the matter seems to be that Bostonians, for whatever reason, don't support that particular market. Thinking back, I know that there *have been* such shops around town, foremost among them Delphin's Gourmandise in Coolidge Corner, but they haven't survived, and that may be a core reason why there aren't any such shops around right now.

                                                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: Allstonian

                                                                                                      Maybe master pastry chefs are generally risk-averse by nature. That may be why they all seem to work in high-end restaurants in this town, rather than set up shop on their own.

                                                                                                      1. re: Allstonian

                                                                                                        I see your point but that can't be true—think, if nothing else, of the international professor audience.

                                                                                                        1. re: djd

                                                                                                          Believe me, I wish it were otherwise! But apparently the international professor audience, as you put it, isn't sufficient to support even one good-quality patisserie in Boston/Cambridge/Brookline. It's a shame.

                                                                                                          1. re: Allstonian

                                                                                                            Possibly the international audience -- professorial and not -- is scattered thinly over the large greater Boston area. There may not be the density to support specialty foods that are inherently expensive. Good pastry uses good cream (and suchlike) and it spoils easily. Without turnover a pastry store can't survive.

                                                                                                            1. re: FoodDabbler

                                                                                                              Exactly. Otherwise you get Athan's, where pretty much every pastry I've ever tried was stale to a greater or lesser degree.

                                                                                                              1. re: Allstonian

                                                                                                                absolutely on point allstonian, see: great deli in boston. if there was a market for it, it would get built somehow.

                                                                                                      2. Holy Moly - I just had an awesome pastry from La Sultana Bakery in East Boston (a colleague brought them in as a treat). It was Guava and Coconut in a croissant-like pastry. I need to try some of the other stuff in the box, too (see pic below):

                                                                                                         
                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                        1. Where did the baker from Cafe Cakes go?

                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                          1. Some of my favorites are:

                                                                                                            The chocolate macaroon (soft almond cookie with chocolate ganache) and florentine from Lakota Bakery -- I like their other cookies, but these two are much better than the rest.

                                                                                                            Zouloubia (I think that's what it's called -- very similar to Indian jelabi, a fried hollow dough swirled around into sort of a complicated pretzel/French horn shape and soaked in syrup) from Sevan in Watertown. I also love the kazandibi, which was mentioned above, but it seems like too much of an indulgence to eat more than yearly.

                                                                                                            -----
                                                                                                            Lakota Bakery
                                                                                                            1373 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington, MA 02476

                                                                                                            1. Does the homemade Napoleon cake at Bazaar count as pastry? - sold by the lb, it's an amazing and unique treat in any case. Not their other cakes, BTW - only that specific one. Crispy, creamy, custardy goodness!

                                                                                                              1. I don't think that anyone has mentioned Sofra yet, and I consider some of their sweets among the best in Boston. I love some of the cookies including the chocolate earthquake, soft molasses, date and espresso mamoul cookies. I also consider the Persian donuts, Persian coffee cake, and chocolate tahini cake (they haven't made this in a while) to be a special treat.

                                                                                                                I also have always enjoyed Clear Flour Bakery's chocolate macaroons.

                                                                                                                -----
                                                                                                                Clear Flour Bread Bakery
                                                                                                                178 Thorndike St, Brookline, MA 02446

                                                                                                                Sofra
                                                                                                                1 Belmont St, Cambridge, MA 02138

                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                1. re: veggielover

                                                                                                                  I just was at Sofra today and had an amazingly, wonderful piece of lemon poppyseed cake.

                                                                                                                  -----
                                                                                                                  Sofra
                                                                                                                  1 Belmont St, Cambridge, MA 02138

                                                                                                                2. In the niche area of ethnic delicacies, I would exhort my comrade chowhounders to travel to cedar's (www.cedarsmarket.com) where their home-made lebanese pastries are generally awesome and sometimes ethereal. The place is in Norwood - and IMHO worthy of at least one trip.

                                                                                                                  1. I haven't eaten pastries in Boston with the ardor of some of you, but here's my list of things that I've liked:

                                                                                                                    Cake donuts, plain croissants, and maple pecan rolls (on a day when they have nice caramelization on the edges) from Japonaise, in addition to their Azuki buns.
                                                                                                                    Thumb print cookies from Rosie's, and the edges of the edge pieces (if you get what I mean) of their walnut dream.
                                                                                                                    Coconut buns from Ho Yuen in Chinatown.
                                                                                                                    Chocolate layer and carrot cakes from Formaggio Kitchen.
                                                                                                                    Vanilla bay leaf and rose cakes from Sofra's earlier days. (I haven't been there lately, and I notice several new items now that I haven't tried.)
                                                                                                                    Maple pecan scones and the lemon curd cake from Hi Rise.
                                                                                                                    Sfogliatelle from Modern Pastry (and some other items mentioned by others above).

                                                                                                                    -----
                                                                                                                    Formaggio Kitchen
                                                                                                                    244 Huron Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138

                                                                                                                    Modern Pastry
                                                                                                                    257 Hanover St, Boston, MA

                                                                                                                    Sofra
                                                                                                                    1 Belmont St, Cambridge, MA 02138

                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                    1. re: FoodDabbler

                                                                                                                      It was a rose-almond cake from Sofra that I'd liked. They still have it, and I still like it.

                                                                                                                      -----
                                                                                                                      Sofra
                                                                                                                      1 Belmont St, Cambridge, MA 02138

                                                                                                                    2. This may be too far afield, but i'd like to add PB boulangerie and bistro in wellfleet on the cape. The website is here: pbboulangeriebistro.com. The croissant and several pasteries I tried were unbelievably light, a step beyond canto 6 and clear flour, both of which I love. Aside from pastry, the bread is phenomenal. A little expensive, but the perfect crumb. It's a trek to get out there, but if you're heading out to the cape anyways you should definitely stop.

                                                                                                                      For in town, I also heartily recommend Sofra.

                                                                                                                      -----
                                                                                                                      Sofra
                                                                                                                      1 Belmont St, Cambridge, MA 02138

                                                                                                                      1. I'd add the ahn doughnuts at Japonaise, the lemon sponge cake at athans (looks incredibly plain but is excellent), the rustic cherry tart at Clear Flour, the rogelach at Rosies, italian cream cakes at antoines, Tatte's walnut cookies, florentines at Moderns or Athans. Art Buchwald, asked if he had any regrets at the end of his life, said "yes, I should have eaten more deserts." way to go.

                                                                                                                        1. Wanted to add my thumbs up for Tabrizi Bakery in Watertown - stopped there a couple of weeks ago after sushi next door at Super Fusion II - tried five different varieties of the cookies - they were all really really awesome - they are tiny, and the flavors are similarly subtle - perfect tiny little confections - not overly sweet at all, and really vibrant spicing in each subtle bite.

                                                                                                                          -----
                                                                                                                          Tabrizi Bakery
                                                                                                                          56 Mt Auburn St, Watertown, MA 02472

                                                                                                                          Super Fusion II
                                                                                                                          54 Mt Auburn St, Watertown, MA 02472

                                                                                                                          7 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                                                                              Ditto what Bob said. stopped at tabrizi yesterday and loved the cookies (very reasonably priced also).

                                                                                                                              1. re: teezeetoo

                                                                                                                                Make sure you try the Walnut macaroons. Truly amazing. Never had anything quite like em. My next favorite is the chick pea flour one...

                                                                                                                            2. re: Bob Dobalina

                                                                                                                              Like you, striperguy, and others, I like their confections as well. There was a time when we went there once a week. Those days are gone, but I did stop by yesterday after a gap of two years or so. I had their walnut and almond macaroons. Very good, but my personal preference now is for something slightly less sweet. That's hard to do with a macaroon, I know, because you need a certain amount of sugar to get the right texture.

                                                                                                                              On the extreme end of the sugar scale, and not a pastry, there's the confection called sohan. If you haven't had it, it's worth a try (at least once). It's a form of brittle, but is almost all sugar/honey and butter. It's spread from Persia/Iran through Pakistan to North India, where it's been modified to include a little milk.

                                                                                                                              Even less of a pastry is the faludeh and ice cream that Tabrizi sells. The faludeh are noodles suspended in a rosewater ice. They are eaten with ice cream. The Tabrizi one is supposedly saffron, but its yellow color is a little more vivid than the saffron taste would lead you to expect. A similar desert is/was available at Lala Rokh. It's clearly the inspiration behind the Indian falooda noodles I'd mentioned on an ice cream thread (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7022... ).

                                                                                                                              -----
                                                                                                                              Tabrizi
                                                                                                                              Watertown,MA, Watertown, MA

                                                                                                                              Lala Rokh
                                                                                                                              97 Mount Vernon Street, Boston, MA 02108

                                                                                                                              1. re: FoodDabbler

                                                                                                                                Thanks for the info - I really dig the Persian rose water confections.

                                                                                                                                1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                                                                                                                  Not everybody likes rosewater (and I agree it can be terribly cloying if overdone). You're clearly a man of impeccable taste.

                                                                                                                                2. re: FoodDabbler

                                                                                                                                  Wow, cool, did not even know they sold ice cream. Will try the faludeh and ice cream next time. Thanks.

                                                                                                                              2. I'll second or third Sofra, Maura Kilpatrick is a talented one, she's Ana's partner in the venture and the pastry chef. It's feels slightly heretical (like a "monster" sushi roll) but I like the Chocolate-Hazelnut Baklava very much. Their opening excited me more much than say, Flour's in South Boston did.

                                                                                                                                Hi-Rise Bread Co. isn't in the Parisian style of patisserie, nonetheless, they do very solid baked goods like Chocolate Flourless Cake (probably my favorite there, also comes in Lemon), very fresh Fruit Tarts, an excellent 6 to 7 inch high! Lemon Meringue Pie, a towering also 6 to 7 inch high Apple Pie, killer Brownies, and very many seasonal items like their amazing Panforte (available by the piece too), perfect Irish Soda Bread, too many items. Hi-Rise really isn't about the fancy, despite some people's opinion. It's about the fairly simple done really well, and I think they succeed at that. Currently they are doing a Strawberry Shortcake, super rustic, huge pile of daily short-rested sugar marinated sliced strawberries on one side with excellent shortbread in the middle and a huge pile of very lightly sugared and super thick whipped cream on the other side. It was nearly a pound and I demolished it, and then proceeded to demolish the quarter-pound smoked salmon with tarragon mayo and capers on corn bread. That was a good lunch.

                                                                                                                                I just got some more things tonight from Sweet Thyme Bakery in Lexington tonight to photograph, but unfortunately the heat sorta killed them. Guess I'll just eat em. I got mini Mango Mousse and Chocolate Mousse cakes and a Blueberry Cheesecake. They are (were) very pretty, I just sampled them and they are good.

                                                                                                                                -----
                                                                                                                                Hi-Rise Bread Co
                                                                                                                                208 Concord Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138

                                                                                                                                Sofra
                                                                                                                                1 Belmont St, Cambridge, MA 02138

                                                                                                                                8 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: tatsu

                                                                                                                                  Thank you for the informative post. I don't usually think of Hi-Rise in terms of sweets, will have to take a peek...

                                                                                                                                  1. re: tatsu

                                                                                                                                    The Hi-Rise lemon cake you mention is the lemon curd that I'd referred to as one of my favorites. Their soda bread is, indeed, superb. I'm not a fan of their pies, however high they might tower. I like their panforte. I also like their dry tea cookies.

                                                                                                                                    Hi-Rise is sort of fake rustic, though. They have that appearance, but it's cultivated. It's not a huge concern for me, just an observation I'm making. I do have concerns about the attitudes of the staff. They are, by and large, a self-absorbed and unfriendly bunch. I know several local people who've been put off by the treatment they've received there. The treatment of customers at Formaggio Kitchen, in contrast, is far warmer.

                                                                                                                                    Incidentally, there's a Hi-Rise/Sofra connection. Maura Kilpatrick of Sofra, who is indeed superbly talented, was the pastry chef at Hi-Rise in its very early days before she moved on to Oleana. Some of Hi-Rise's stuff -- the macaroons, for example -- are left over recipes from her days there.

                                                                                                                                    -----
                                                                                                                                    Formaggio Kitchen
                                                                                                                                    244 Huron Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138

                                                                                                                                    Sofra
                                                                                                                                    1 Belmont St, Cambridge, MA 02138

                                                                                                                                    Oleana
                                                                                                                                    134 Hampshire St., Cambridge, MA 02139

                                                                                                                                    1. re: FoodDabbler

                                                                                                                                      Second Hi-Rise's Lemon cake - and their macaroons! Yummm index of 8.237!

                                                                                                                                      1. re: FoodDabbler

                                                                                                                                        I agree. I live a block from Hi-Rise but rarely go there because the staff is so stand-offish (and also often appear anorexic, which is weird) and rigid. Last time I was there I asked for butter for the bread served with my soup and was informed it would cost me 75 cents. Too bad, because with a better vibe it would be the perfect neighborhood hang-out.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: fantundo

                                                                                                                                          Classic Hi-Rise offputting behavior. 75 cents for butter. How much do they charge just to breath the air in there?

                                                                                                                                          1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                                                                                            Well, I asked about that and it's Plugra and it's a pretty big triangle. They just won't do useless slivers of Land O Lakes for free. It's just a no compromise place in terns of quality and it costs money. *Everything* is handmade, except the butter and mustard.

                                                                                                                                            As it turned out Maura Kilpatrick at Sofra started out as a baker at Hi-Rise. Some things, such as the macaroons at Hi-Rise, are her recipe to this day.

                                                                                                                                            -----
                                                                                                                                            Sofra
                                                                                                                                            1 Belmont St, Cambridge, MA 02138

                                                                                                                                            1. re: tatsu

                                                                                                                                              I don't care if the butter is from their own cow out back. You still shouldn't charge for it. It's obnoxious period, and there stuff just isn't THAT good.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                                                                                                I'd already paid plenty for my soup and didn't see why I had to beg for (unsuccessfully) a bit of butter. As AA Milne said, just a little bit of butter for the royal slice of bread.......

                                                                                                                                    2. Delphin's Gourmandise was my all time favorite bakery - really really really miss them.

                                                                                                                                      I agree that there are plenty of bakeries that are good for a few things but no comprehensive go to places for great pastry.

                                                                                                                                      That being said here are some I have enjoyed:

                                                                                                                                      Baker's Best in Newton Highlands - it's been years but I did have good scones there.
                                                                                                                                      Modern in North End for cannoli and torrone.
                                                                                                                                      Spinelli Bakery in East Boston has a good ricotta pie
                                                                                                                                      Betty Ann Food Shop for donuts - warm, spicy and jelly filled pockets of goodness.
                                                                                                                                      Moonstruck Cafe in Winthrop has good muffins
                                                                                                                                      Party Favors for cupcakes - not highbrow but great for a sugar hit
                                                                                                                                      Petsi Pies

                                                                                                                                      Meg

                                                                                                                                      -----
                                                                                                                                      Petsi Pies
                                                                                                                                      285 Beacon St, Somerville, MA 02143

                                                                                                                                      Party Favors
                                                                                                                                      1356 Beacon St, Brookline, MA

                                                                                                                                      Betty Ann Food Shop
                                                                                                                                      565 Bennington St, East Boston, MA

                                                                                                                                      Spinelli's
                                                                                                                                      280 Bennington St, Boston, MA 02128

                                                                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: meg1641

                                                                                                                                        Yes, Petsi has some good things. I like their blueberry pie and their apple walnut cake.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: meg1641

                                                                                                                                          I was in Delphin's first pastry class. My hairdresser's receptionist's sister (love that string of connection!) worked for him at his bakery. I still have boxes of pastry rings - but those kinds of pastries are just too much of a pain to make on a small scale!
                                                                                                                                          Someone with huge bucks should set up a bakery employing all us ex-Delphin's folks!

                                                                                                                                          1. re: meg1641

                                                                                                                                            I was in Delphin's first pastry class, still treasure my graduation jacket. My hairdresser's receptionist's sister (love that string of connection!) worked for him at Delphin's Gourmandise. There are enough alums here that someone with huge bucks should open a bakery, using people who actually cooked with Delphin!

                                                                                                                                            1. re: pastrytroll

                                                                                                                                              Yes, PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!! God, I miss Delphin's.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Allstonian

                                                                                                                                                Apologies for the double post - don't know how that happened. I miss his croissants just out of the oven, his mousse cakes, his Opera - never had another quite so good........

                                                                                                                                          2. I'm surprised nobody's mentioned the Danish Pastry House in Medford Hillside.

                                                                                                                                            -----
                                                                                                                                            Danish Pastry House
                                                                                                                                            330 Boston Ave, Medford, MA

                                                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: ceo

                                                                                                                                              Have things improved there? There seemed to be a butter shortage in their baking the several times I tried them, but it's been quite a while - maybe another try is in order? What's great there these days?

                                                                                                                                              1. re: ceo

                                                                                                                                                That's cause their pastries are fairly mediocre.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                                                                                                  Have to disagree. The Kringle is wonderful, both in texture and flavor, and precisely like the pastry I ate in Copenhagen and many small towns in Denmark. Perhaps what you mean is that you don't like Danish pastry. I LOVE this stuff.

                                                                                                                                                  Also, in the original post here, you mention the "italian place on Rt. 117 in Lynn." I think maybe you mean D’Amici’s Bakery in Lynn. Did you mean Rt 107, not 117? and anyway its not on 107, its on Eastern Ave. (driving in Lynn can be as bad as driving in Somerville.) And yes, the cakes are spectacular, worth the drive for the chocolate-raspberry and many others.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Brock Lee Robb

                                                                                                                                                    I've found their Kringle to be variable: flaky with crisp edges on the pastry at times and rather heavy and soggy at others.

                                                                                                                                              2. I used to live in Duxbury about 10 years ago- French Memories there is really darn good as I remember. I know they have expanded - they also own Cafe Vanille which I don't think is nearly as good. Their gataux in particular were amazing- debbies delight and the tess morgan were always favorties in our house. As I remember the owners are French. And it's on the way to the beach if you want to make a day trip of it!

                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                1. re: crispysaltysweet

                                                                                                                                                  Sorry, been to both French memories, and Cafe Vanille, both places are only so so.

                                                                                                                                                2. There is a criminal dearth of pastry in the greater Boston area. The best is the New Paris bakery in Brookline at the corner of Cypress and Washington Street -- the smell of a trueold-fashioned European bakery is in the air as soon as you walk in the door. Neither the decor nor the cash register has changed since the thirties. The eclairs, vanilla and chocolate, may be the best west of France. Also the wafer cookies, or any of the cookies for that matter. The Greek couple who run this bakery have been doing this for a long time.
                                                                                                                                                  Konditormeister in Braintree is great for petit fours and birthday or special occasion cakes, very traditional, pure ingredients.
                                                                                                                                                  Iggy's is wonderful, esp the ficelles, the pizza and the sticky buns.
                                                                                                                                                  I love everything about the Hi-Rise, especially the much maligned staff, the vanilla bean loaf cake and the seed bread and rolls.
                                                                                                                                                  We get birthday cakes at the Japonaise, especially the strawberry cake.

                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: 02138

                                                                                                                                                    I also love the Hi-Rise and have always found their staff to be terribly friendly. We frequently go there after a singalong at the library.

                                                                                                                                                  2. If you want the finest and lightest "melt in you mouth" meringues, then you must stop by Beacon Hill Chocolates. They sometimes run out of them, and do not have them every day so call ahead..They are beyond description...what one would hope would be floating around in heaven..My second suggestion is the amazing Baked Alaska that can be had at Oleana Restaurant in Cambridge...There's no better than I have ever tried..Sublime, and with a bit of passion fruit sauce as well.....Mmmmm

                                                                                                                                                    -----
                                                                                                                                                    Oleana
                                                                                                                                                    134 Hampshire St., Cambridge, MA 02139

                                                                                                                                                    1. yes, this is slightly OT, but stripes, we have just returned from our annual fall foliage trip to heavenly VT and in Burlington VT there is a really excellent bakery. Mirabelle's. 20th anniv this yr. The co-owner/baker, alison, honed her chops for a few yrs at a french bakery in london.Among the many excellent Mirabelle's sweets are her: croissants- plain and esp.great Ham and Cheese topped w/ parm; almond horns; coffee, and maple walnut ,macarons; cookies. I alw bring back stuff to freeze. Hope you'll get up there sometime.

                                                                                                                                                      1. I don't think anyone's mentioned it yet, but Crema in Harvard Square has some pretty nice pastries. I believe (but could be wrong) that they make them there. The English muffins, while not traditional pastry, are divine, and I've also been happy with their little Bordelaise pastries and croissants.

                                                                                                                                                        -----
                                                                                                                                                        Crema Cafe
                                                                                                                                                        27 Brattle St, Cambridge, MA 02138

                                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Parsnipity

                                                                                                                                                          Crema's stuff is very good not high end pastry at all, but very nice baked goods.

                                                                                                                                                          -----
                                                                                                                                                          Crema Cafe
                                                                                                                                                          27 Brattle St, Cambridge, MA 02138

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Parsnipity

                                                                                                                                                            I think they have caneles, too - never tried one, but they looked OK.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: nsenada

                                                                                                                                                              I just had a canele there the the other day - good, but not as fresh or yummy as the ones at Canto 6

                                                                                                                                                          2. Anyone know where the best macarons are? Specifically, I have a hankering for salted caramel ones.

                                                                                                                                                            1. It's fall That means it's apple-walnut muffin time at Hi-Rise. I like them.

                                                                                                                                                              I've also just had a slice of "Snow Queen" cake from Rosie's. White cake, layers of jam, and white buttercream frosting. I like it too.

                                                                                                                                                              1. stripes, are we in the Twilight Zone? how come you or I or no one who had posted on this thread- has mentioned Tatte's in Brookline? I have only just learned about them through my Nibble enewsletter. have you not tried their things? i'm going to do a CH search now for I would guess they have been well discussed here when i wasn't looking?......................

                                                                                                                                                                http://www.tattecookies.com/App_Theme...

                                                                                                                                                                7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                                                                                  Honestly just not that tasty, and super pricey to boot. With Japonaise and Clear Flour right near by Tatte just doesn't make the cut.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                                                                                                                    stripes and striped puppy, Right Near You!!!>>Sophia's: i went in yesterday to try some newly touted things and low and behold- a real winner in your sweets category!! I can only guess that you have not posted about them because you have not tried them, so I am here to tell you to rush right over and pick up a container of their Melomakarona!!!!! Dark brown oval walnut cookies, intensely walnut flavored, that have been soaked in a syrup. I grew up w/ a Greek friend and started making these when i was little, but have not noticed them sold up here til i saw these yesterday. My face looked like a big sunrise as I had my first taste of them last night!

                                                                                                                                                                    (meh-loh-mah-KAH-roh-nah)

                                                                                                                                                                    they are technically xmas cookies but they told me they're going to have them all the time.

                                                                                                                                                                    Also, their almond macaroons are the real thing. By that, I mean, the French style, with almond extract, almonds, egg whites, sugar, flour. Chewy wonderfulness! now i don't have to bring back a supply of almond horns from Mirabelle in Burlington VT! I'll just dip the sophia's macaroons in dark chocolate and voila- almond horns by any other name!

                                                                                                                                                                    and you know the thing that is so nice about Sophia's?It's that SHE is so nice!

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                                                                                      Huh, have never tried their sweets. If my house wasn't BUSTING with desserts right now I'd grab em on the way home. Thanks for the tip.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                                                                                                                        don't forget to tell us when you do try them!

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                                                                                                                            thought i'd post about a worthwhile innovative bakery dessert i had from Tatte's. I finally stopped there the other day, after picking up my New Year's treat- yes, of course, adzuki creams from across the street! i wasn't impressed w/ Tatte's line of products. the whole place just felt a bit Germanic for me, perfectly formed geometric tart shells w/ neat clean lines of caramel coated nuts. boring. quiche using just mozzarella for the cheese component? no flavor. cookies that present well, i.e. lots w/ a shortbread base that can be cut w/ cutters for a clean edge and neat geometric shape.
                                                                                                                                                                            one variety of shortbread cookie sandwich was filled w/ nutella, but such a scant amount that they made me think of Hawk Eye's martinis where the vermouth component was achieved when HawkEye removed the bottle cap and whaffted the bottle over the glass of gin.)

                                                                                                                                                                            But to get to the good thing.... I was impressed by theChocolate Bombe.Bombes are dome shaped. This one has a thin nut brownie- type base and is filled with chocolate mousse around a large orange sized center of sesame halva. The bombe is glazed w/ a dark chocolate fondant. I thought it made for a freshingly unusual combination in such a conservative setting. $7 a slice but can easily feed 2-3 people.

                                                                                                                                                                            -----
                                                                                                                                                                            Tatte Fine Cookies and Cakes
                                                                                                                                                                            1003 Beacon St, Brookline, MA 02446

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                                                                                              I have been TOTALLY disappointed with Tatte, but will try DA Bombe.

                                                                                                                                                                2. To this I would add the aragosta, the lobster tail at Mike's Pastry, with whipped cream, ricotta and Bavarian cream filling. This is the best around.

                                                                                                                                                                  -----
                                                                                                                                                                  Mike's Pastry
                                                                                                                                                                  300 Hanover St, Boston, MA

                                                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: TravellingFoodie

                                                                                                                                                                    Disagree, Modern and Maria's make better ones, and the place in Gloucester on Main street makes the best I ever had. Mike's is a distant 4th.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                                                                                                                      What are the ingredients of Modern & Maria's?

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: TravellingFoodie

                                                                                                                                                                        Similar ingredients, just better and fresher. To me pretty much everything at Mike's comes out of big food service tubs. I would be my bottom dollar that most of their baked goods come in bags of baking supply bulk pre-mixed and they just mix em up and bake. Not so at Modern and certainly not at Maria's.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. My question is, setting aside all the suggestions, WHY is it so hard to find really good pastry in Boston? Is it because of higher labor costs, higher rent, lack of really good ingredients, or lack of tradition and a public that just doesn't care?

                                                                                                                                                                    I just spent some time with family in Italy and France and gobbled perfectly delicious pastries and cakes and viennoiseries not just from dedicated patisseries, but from supermarket bakeries, and even from the back of the little truck that delivers bread to the village every day. Most items cost around $3 each, and food there generally costs at least 1 1/2 times what it costs here.

                                                                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: cassis

                                                                                                                                                                      The last. As has been discussed in this thread and others: if there was a large, sustained market for good patisseries in Boston, there would be good patisseries in Boston. It's really that simple.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                                                                                                                                                                          Can't seem to find it now, but I thought I saw a thread (maybe even this one) that mentioned that the French government subsidizes patisseries.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: nsenada

                                                                                                                                                                            nsen, i googled your phrase, " the French government subsidizes patisseries" and came up w/ text from googlebook's " When in France, Do as the French Do" that says that bread is subsidized in france. but that is not pastry. a fascinating fact, however. but then again, the u.s. govt subsidizes many foodstuffs as well.

                                                                                                                                                                            i, for one, have never understood why a city that can support TWO formaggio kitchens and two savenor's, and clio and menton and o ya, etc, cannot support a great patisserie. i'm sure I am an anomoly for not having been a delphin gourmandise fan, but i carefully venture the thought that boston has never been given the chance to support a great pastry shop. but then again, i am only going back as far as 1970.

                                                                                                                                                                            i do remember being very impressed in the early '70's w/ a french owned patisserie in the cellar level of what is now ___? on Arlington St., right next to the Arlington St Unitarian church.It might have been called Patisserie Francaise. But i was only a college student then and don't know that my palate is the same now............
                                                                                                                                                                            (at first i wrote' palette'! ho ho ho. apropos for a college kid eh?)

                                                                                                                                                                      1. stripes, the globe food section today featured Bread and Chocolate Bakery Cafes in greater newton. I knew not of their existence and i don't believe I saw them mentioned in the 156+ posts in this thread to date. You, Anyone,>> tried them? And the photo shows CANELES!!!! Since TrJ discontinued their great frozen ones, i've been missing those addictive crunchy/chewy/creamy babies.

                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                                                                                          I've been, but don't remember being blown away by the cake I got there. What looked interesting to me were the breads - I think I saw a cinnamon loaf that looked awesome. I may have to give them another shot.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. stripes, went today to get my regular fix of adzuki creams. And i made the mistake of buying a cake donut and a chocolate covered cake donut. YUUUUUCK. dry, flavorless. Just fyi CHs. Seems that a great adzuki cream does not a great donut make.(except for the curry beef ones!)

                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                                                                                            Yah, not a huge fan of their donuts. For that, Verna's, Linda's or Ohlin's.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. For Donuts, its a shame not to mention Gail-Anne's in Arlington. I don't know if they are made in house for sure, but wherever they come from...hands down best donuts in the area!

                                                                                                                                                                            1. Stripes, had to report on this as soon as we got home. Finally went into the Chinese owned bakery- Sweet Thyme- in Lex Ctr. One of the few Lex. CHs had written it up earlier in this thread I think. I am usually specifically interested in 3 Asian ingredients: green tea, adzuki bean paste, black sesame paste. I got 2 things: Adzuki filled Rice Flour 'Cake' and Green Tea Cheesecake. The latter was straightforward; its color told me it contained a significant, not wussy, amount of macha. It was nicely done. The 'cake' was really good but also weird and not w/o problems. Imagine a little brioche looking thing w/ a crackled brown domed top. Now you 'cut' into it (good luck.) What you find is the plentiful but rather dry adzuki filling spilling out everywhere (she needs to get the Japonnaise recipe for their anh filling) from a glutinous rice 'dumpling'. The major problem, causing all the other problems, is that the rice flour dough bonds irreversibly with its paper base. So it's a big hunk of chewy chewiness with a crust on top. Very odd but intriguing none-the-less. I know from my due diligence that you like Asian bakery items, and you're not far away....... Hope you try it sometime. She also offers green tea pumpkin seed wafer style cookies, and a lot of roulades w/ flavored whipped cream fillings, and lots of other things as well. A few doors from Via Lago, across from the library. Thanks much to the OP for posting about this place earlier.

                                                                                                                                                                              http://www.sweetthymebakery.com/

                                                                                                                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                                                                                                That place is on my list to try. Can anyone compare it to Yi Soon or Great Taste?

                                                                                                                                                                                -----
                                                                                                                                                                                Great Taste
                                                                                                                                                                                201 Main St, Milford, MA 01757

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                                                                                                                                  tatsu has posted quite a bit about his visits there last summer:
                                                                                                                                                                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/709827

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Allstonian

                                                                                                                                                                                    I just came back from Sweet Thyme and got some green tea yogurt bars, (kind of like cheesecake, but in a eat'n'drive format, howdaya like that), green tea cheesecake for comparison, various butter cookies, and these really scrumptious choc chip coconut macaroons. the list of breads has expanded and includes black sesame, cinnamon... how does mini mocha flavor mochi muffins sound?

                                                                                                                                                                                    This place rocks and keeps getting better. I don't even have a sweet tooth and I actually come here to spend money so I think that says a lot. Soooo dissappointed that StriperGuy has not gone yet!

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: tatsu

                                                                                                                                                                                      Aaaaack, I'm just NEVER in Lexington. Gotta try it, gotta.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                                                                                                  Addendum:
                                                                                                                                                                                  *After it had sat at room temp 4-5 hrs., the green tea cheesecake became particularly light and flavorful.

                                                                                                                                                                                3. Last Friday, after a jumbo at Fred's Franks, I went to Swiss Bakers in Reading for dessert. and got (in so many ways) a mixed bag. The prices are dirt cheap: $1.00 for a swiss sin - a nice roll with rich dough and a little cinnamon, $1.25 for a weggli -my favorite of the bunch- same rich dough with good quality chocolate chips. The berliners -raised 'filled' doughnuts- are $1.25. The apricot had maybe 1/2 tsp. of filling, the chocolate maybe a whole tsp. The molecules of filling were very good, but almost impossible to locate. Had to try a croissant, which wasn't: not a trace of lamination in the dough, just a big dry roll.
                                                                                                                                                                                  I'd go back for some weggli's, and to try the pretzel bread, but over all not the pastry store I'd hoped for.
                                                                                                                                                                                  One of the owners was at a table going over plans for a much bigger place, though.

                                                                                                                                                                                  -----
                                                                                                                                                                                  Fred's Franks
                                                                                                                                                                                  390 Quannapowitt Pkwy, Wakefield, MA 01880

                                                                                                                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: pastrytroll

                                                                                                                                                                                    Of course swiss bakers can't be relied upon to make a croissant.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                                                                                                                                      I've been hearing excellent things about those pretzel rolls, though, and will be happy to have their new location relatively near me in Lower Allston!

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                                                                                                                                                                                        Jenny, where are swiss bakers going to be located in Allston?

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: teezeetoo

                                                                                                                                                                                          168 Western Ave, a couple blocks east of North Harvard. Near where WGBH used to be and near where Stone Hearth Pizza is going in.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                                                                                                                                                                                            thank you - i'm looking forward to it.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Danish Pastry House- Watertown: Great everything, including: French macaroons.

                                                                                                                                                                                    -----
                                                                                                                                                                                    Danish Pastry House
                                                                                                                                                                                    205 Arlington St, Watertown, MA 02472

                                                                                                                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Gour875mand

                                                                                                                                                                                      I live right near DPH and honestly have been underwhelmed with their sweets. Not enough good buttery flavor, stiff crusts that don't crumble, fillings that just don't have flavor.

                                                                                                                                                                                      The only sweet I routinely like are their Marzipan treats. Everything else is uninspiring, and I SO want to like the place.

                                                                                                                                                                                      They also make an amazing very dense 12 grain bread.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                                                                                                                                        I was afraid to try most of the pastry because I am a sweet-freak and it looked too good. So, I can't speak for all of it. I tried some of their things at a Farmer's Market in Wayland Russels but it would be an unfair critique, because it was the end of the day and it was not that fresh (and they were giving it away). I was a bit surprised that it tasted so unfresh - if it was baked in the morning it should not have been dry. However, the French Macaroons are very good there.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Gour875mand

                                                                                                                                                                                          DPH's stuff looks great but uniformly tastes terrible. All of their pastry has that grease-buildup-on-the-roof-of-your-mouth effect that comes from an overzealous use of vegetable shortening.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                                                                                                                                                                                            I agree. Where's the butter? Sure tastes like Crisco to me. Such a neat-looking shop, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: bear

                                                                                                                                                                                              Okay, maybe I didn't try enough to judge, mea culpa... however, I stand by review of their French macaroons- 100%.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. The best pastry I've had in recent recollection was a simple lemon square from Lakota Bakery in Arlington. The lemon curd was perfectly tart, and the crust was incredibly buttery. Their shortbread cookies are incredible, but that lemon square was a revelation.

                                                                                                                                                                                      -----
                                                                                                                                                                                      Lakota Bakery
                                                                                                                                                                                      1373 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington, MA 02476

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. stripey, maybe you've had these but i got something new at the Bubble Tea place next to Edo Cake House in Chinatown. They make mini crescent pastries w/ wonton wrappers, fill them w/ a hard sugar/coconut/[peanut/sesame filling, and deep fry them. Basically like a fried turnover of brittle. They multi pack them in clear cups by the counter.

                                                                                                                                                                                        while not a pastry, i was delighted to discover that they sell a good coconut milk soup with black sticky rice( and an inferior one w/ taro)I've only seen this in Malay or Thai restnts before and love it.

                                                                                                                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                                                                                                          Sold, will definitely try that, and the coconut soup. Thanks.

                                                                                                                                                                                          If you like this type of thing, you have to try the sweets sold at S&I Thai in Allston; supposedly made by the ex pastry chef to the King of Thailand. They vary, but are always very interesting and tasty.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                                                                                                                                            I will go there when i do my next shwarma excursion. right? ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                            I must say though,if that royal gig story is true, it makes me really really sad to think that the beauty and royal paradise that once surrounded the pastry chef- has been switched out for allston.That simply does not seem just, unless he is working through some major bad karma.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                                                                                                                                              stripey, the only s and i i can find is a restnt on brighton ave.
                                                                                                                                                                                              are these the sweets you mean?:
                                                                                                                                                                                              Mango And Sweet Sticky Rice 5.25
                                                                                                                                                                                              Ice Cream coconut, ginger, red bean, green tea 2.50
                                                                                                                                                                                              Fried Banana 2.50
                                                                                                                                                                                              Chilled Lychee

                                                                                                                                                                                              from your post, i thought you were referencing a bakery.

                                                                                                                                                                                              btw, that bubble tea type place next to Eldo- i really liked their black sesame drink. I think it's just a combo of milk and the sweetened black sesame powder i have at home. you know the chinese have a lot of interesting baby food/breakfast drink/porridge powders w/ healthy ingreds- powdered grains and soybeans, black beans, sesame seeds.... I'm always fascinated by the bags of them in chinese markets.

                                                                                                                                                                                              -----
                                                                                                                                                                                              Sticky Rice
                                                                                                                                                                                              26 Hawkes St Apt B, Marblehead, MA 01945

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                                                                                                                Aaaaah, sorry, thought you knew S&I. I and others have posted about it a few times.

                                                                                                                                                                                                It is in fact a small modest restaurant.

                                                                                                                                                                                                The baked goods vary greatly and only number a few items. They are generally in plastic boxes near the register, not ordered off the menu. but they have different things almost every time I go. And they are always super fresh.

                                                                                                                                                                                                I have not had anything like them with the exception of some similar items I have bought from Cambodian grocery stores in Lynn.

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. stripey, don't know if you've had this experience, but as of my last visit, this past week, Japonaise
                                                                                                                                                                                            (the Porter Sq branch),
                                                                                                                                                                                            has decreased the size of their adzuki creams by about 1/3. BummER. 2 was my limit before; now it's 3 or 4 of the new? size. Hmmmm,$9 or $12, that's a pretty expensive pastry jones.....

                                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Sorry to dig up an old thread, but any chance you remembered the name of the bakery that is a must-go in Newburyport, MA? I'm going tomorrow and am always up for some delicious baked goods. Thanks!

                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                              1. The New Paris Bakery in Brookline Village has the BEST mini eclairs. Their other menu items are sort of average, but the eclairs are amazing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. whew, took me awhile to find this thread. Just wanted to tell you about some cookies in your hood that you might like (if you're not alrdy hooked on them.) Sevan's Pistachio Mamoul. Deceived by my own visual references (they LOOK like Mexican Wedding Cookies [ which I had just tried to buy at Whole Foods but was told they are a Fall/Winter item]) i found that they are instead a soft semolina cookie with a filling of pistachio paste w/ a smidge of rosewater.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  oh, and I think the Chocolee croissants in the South End are, hands down, the best i've had in boston. Crisp on the outside and a million ethereal thin crispy layers, w/ fillings of ham and gruyere, almond paste,or chocolate. Her almond paste filling is really superior- very moist and strongly almond flavored. And her dark chocolate filled beignets (fried to order/only avail wkends) are really something.Ya gotta go!

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. On the cookie front, though it's not a store front per se, the cookies (and brownies) from ButterGirl are phenomenal, especially the chocolate mint cookies, and peanut butter brownies. She's at the Belmont farmer's market every other week, and runs a great web site (with ultra fast, day they are baked shipping!).

                                                                                                                                                                                                    http://buttergirlbaking.com/

                                                                                                                                                                                                    13 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: kimfair1

                                                                                                                                                                                                      mmm kim, you always come through! i'm psyched and have written to ask her the next date for Lex because the Lex site doesn't give specific dates.thx so much; never would have known!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I got a Butter Girl brownie at Wilson Farms yesterday, and it melted in my mouth. In the general baked good discussion, I have to put in a good word for Petsi's. My two favorite things there are the chocolate-peanut butter rice krispie bar and the Mississippi mud pie.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: fantundo

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Yeah, the regular and peanut butter brownies are awesome. I generally don't like chocolate mint things, but hers are perfect. I've liked everything I've tried of hers, but the mint chocolate cookies and peanut butter brownies are my favorites.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: fantundo

                                                                                                                                                                                                            great to know wilson's has her things, and also about the petsi favs; thx much!

                                                                                                                                                                                                            btw, i have many times ranted about how impossible it is to find worth-eating cookies

                                                                                                                                                                                                            (ALways too sweet, boring/same old varieties, no use of whole wheat flours and grains)

                                                                                                                                                                                                            but I liked 2 varieties of Lark cookies i got at Formaggio yesterday- Burnt Sugar and Fennel Shortbreads and Ladybirds Oat with Cranberries and Bittsweet Choc. Their motto is 'cookies for grown ups', and while they aren't perfect cookies(I prefer shortbread that is tender and not hard, and i prefer oat cookies to be chewy) they are very well made , not too sweet at all, made w/ butter and not oil, and very tasty. Not cheap, it goes w/o saying, but what is? You've maybe alrdy had them, but i am also very impressed by the texture and flavor of Effie's Oat Cakes (Formaggio and WF.).

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I LOVE Effie's oat cakes. They are so good with tea. Or without. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: maillard

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  ummm, My Love keeps them in the pantry and only brings in one at a time. I have the package right next to me....Trouble in River City }

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Have you tried the Effie's corn cakes OC - THOSE are the ones I can't eat just one of. : )

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: southie_chick

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      hi there southie, yes, i love the anise/fennel in those too. Btw, since you like that, Lark cookies(at Formaggio) makes a Burnt Sugar Fennel Shortbread that did not last 2 days here :-}

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      A very interesting example of their 'Cookies for Adults' byline, because the little bits of burnt sugar are really that-a slight bitter taste!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Ha! I wish I had someone to dole out one oat cake at a time to me. It's difficult not to just eat the whole package, so I only get them for special occasions now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: kimfair1

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Thanks for the ButterGirl rec, kimfair1! I've been looking for a place to get chocolate chip cookies like the ones from the New York Times/Jacques Torres, and hers really hit the spot. Her dough is just as important as the chocolate. Most places don't realize this, and just pack in the chocolate. She uses mini-chips, which aren't quite as good as feves, but I'm sure she would have to charge a lot more if she switched. Her prices are very reasonable--$7.50/6 and $8 shipping.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Also went for the yummy chocolate mint as you recommended. Her same day delivery was much appreciated (with beautiful, no-extra-charge gift packaging, no less). Now I really want to go to see her at a farmer's market so I can try her other treats.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: quirkydeb

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I like her chocolate chip cookies, but I like mine more ;~). I generally am not a fan of the chocolate/mint combo, but those cookies have just the right amount of mint in them. If you see her at a farmer's market (I think she's at Belmont this Thursday) be sure to try the peanut butte brownie. Amazing, and they freeze really well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: kimfair1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I went to Dave's Fresh Pasta yesterday to sample more of ButterGirl's baked goods. You were right about the peanut butter brownie--it rocks! I'm not always a big fan of peanut butter, but inhaled the brownie. The peanut butter in it is not straight peanut butter, but sort of Reese's-like.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I think her chocolate chip cookies would be better not with mini-chips (they get everywhere so there isn't the same opportunity to enjoy the dough).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The brown sugar shortbread may be my favorite so far--it tastes exactly like the brown sugar shortbread I make (from a Martha Stewart recipe).

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. I would like to recommend the Strawberry Dacquoise at Vicki Lee's in Belmont

                                                                                                                                                                                                              7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Pappabuona

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I'll have to try it... my wife loves their scones.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Pappabuona

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  dacquoise- my alltime fav pastry dessert! pappa, are there nuts in the meringue (my fav kind)?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  and does she do a coffee dacquoise, or other flavors? thx so much for posting this!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      You are welcome! Yes, there are nuts in the meringue and no, they do not do other types.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      here is her full pastry menu
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      http://www.vickilees.com/pdf/PastryMe...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      enjoy!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Pappabuona

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Thx for the link, Allston and pappa. Well ,far out! She DOES do a choc dacquoise.Now I have to get there soon:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        mazarin au chocolat
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        small serves 6-8 $25.00, large serves 10-12 $40.00
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        crunchy hazelnut almond dacquoise filled with a valhrona chocolate mousse

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Though prob. heretical for many on this board, I am a big NON fan of Flour (though I really like Myers +Chang) and their dacquooise is grossly over rich and cloyingly sweet. I've always thought Vicki Lee produced much better products than JoAnn, but she is almost never mentioned on CH and i wonder why. Her parents had a bakery and she has been active in the Boston pastry world these last 35 years(she and I were both sweets vendors to the old Orson Welles (Cinema, on Mass.Ave.)in the early 70's.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Anyway, thx much for reminding me about her; i'll get over there soon!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I was under the impression that nuts were a required, integral component of dacquoise (otherwise it'd just be meringue). What other kinds are there?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: enhF94

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          It's one of those 'never assume' issues for me in u.s. bakeries. You know how so many items in the food world have those " " around them, either actually or in the chef's head?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          (esp. risotto and gnocchi these days) Well, the classic French pastry world (esp. in desserts found in small Boston restaurants) suffers most egregiously from these " ". God forbid a napoleon be made with real puff pastry instead of filo or fried wontons, or a savory tart have a real tart base instead of filo or whatever......

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. hi stripey, this is now a huge thread that i don't have time to search, but I seem to recall maybe only one post (and negative iirc)about the bakery on Boston Ave by Tufts- The Danish Pastry House. Well, even though we drive past it many times a week, we had never been in . Today they had a stand at the Union Sq Farmer's Market. We tasted their signature whole grain coarse rye bread, which was terrific; and we both enjoyed the Almond Kringle, almond paste in a danish dough, and the pecan sticky rolls (though we've never had one we liked as much as those from bond and burkhardt in their heyday.) They had some fresh fruit almond paste tarts that were tempting and a few other things, one w/ 'buttercream' (which i was told is real european buttercream, not conf sugar and crisco.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      So, from what we had, it appears that they are at least good! I've always felt that CH had a very low Tufts contingent; maybe that's why it hasn't been reviewed more(or if it has been posted more, i missed those posts.) I may just be checking it out further!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      http://www.danishpastryhouse.com/down...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Live right near the original DPH. Agree that there dense bread and Kringle are excellent. The rest of their pastries are not particularly inspired.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          stripes, i've never asked if you are also a chocolates guy? i see DPH makes chocolates w/ belgian choc (dark caillebaut i would hope) and wonder if they're possibly good? The only chocs i've found here that I really like and respect (incl all the many at Formaggio) are Chocolee and some of EH (and if you feel this question is annoyingly OT, just forget i asked.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. It's easy to check that the Danish Pastry House has been brought up three times in this thread and each time has been criticized with specific objections. There are discussions and criticisms of their pastry scattered elsewhere on the Boston board, as well, most recently on the Greenmarkets 2012 thread. One has only to look before one leaps to theories about why they are not often mentioned.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. not sure if this has been mentioned yet or not, but Athans has a honey walnut cookie that I find truly delicious. I'm not a huge fan of most of their other stuff (although some of the baklava can be quite good when fresh), but those walnut honey cookies...I can eat them til I pop.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: yanz

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Hah, I know those cookies, and they are GOOD.