almond croissants at la Maison du Pain (longish)
- j~ May 18, 2006 07:24 PM
I called la Maison du Pain in the morning to make sure that they had some-- or at least one-- almond croissants that I could put on hold. I was crushed when the woman said they didn't have any on hand, but it was ok. She told me that they could make some for me and have them ready in an hour.
Comping an overpriced dessert at a restaurant? Whatever. Offering to bake a croissant with an hours' notice after it got sold out (or just not produced) was the nicest thing a restaurant/bakery/shop had done. EVER.
I called an hour prior to the time I figured I'd be in the area. It actually ended up taking close to two hours due to errands. As promised, they had two waiting for me.
Sorry, board, but I really can't say that their version was anything I wanted or expected. The almond filling consisted of a syrupy mass with little nubby bits (ground almonds, perhaps? who knows?) instead of the traditional layers or log of almond paste. Instead of baking the filling in the croissant, they'd clearly cut the croissant in half and smeared the sweet, liquidy, and altogether not-almondy filling.
After a couple of bites, I gave up on eating the middle and ended up topping the crispier bits with some of the abbamele I had lying about in the car (yes, unusual, I know, but I hadn't bought anything bread-like since buying it).
I had really, really, really high hopes for the place after reading so many glowing reviews from the board.
The one time I went all the way over to Pasadena to try one from Europane, they'd sold out.
All I want is an almond croissant akin to the one they have at La Duree in Paris. Or la Provence (I think?) in, of all places, Portland.
There are many almond croissant discussions on this website - and i agree, the one you want is hard to find.
Try the following:
Delice on Pico just west of La Cienega - get the full size - the minis are never quite as delicious - my personal favorite.
Amandine - on Wilshire just East of Bundy - a japanese/french take - husband loves them.
Bread Bar - on 3rd Street just West of La Cienega - the baker is a french master and it translates well. Perfection.
I'm not sure almond croissants are their forte--have never had one there, everything else I've had has been excellent.
My favorite croissants to date are Amandine. (I need to try Breadbar though to compare :)
I totally agreed. Their so-called almond chocolate croissant is not very good by any standard. It's greasy. When I bit into it, some juice (butter i supposed) came out. The chocolate chips inside were not evenly distributed. Granted, I picked them up in the afternoon so they might not be fresh from the oven. But, com'on the croissant from Europane is a hundred times tastier than the one from La Maison Du Pain.
I agree. There is nothing special about their croissants at La Maison Du Pain. The croque madame was terrible - the cheese wasn't even melted, the egg was practically fried, and the bechamel sauce was no where to be found. The only good thing was we got our desserts to go... they were so bad that both my bf and I gagged on them and tossed the box. It would have been quite insulting if we gagged there at the store.
Haven't tried Bread Bar but Europane and Amandine are just delicious....
Strange, the almond croissant I had at la Maison du Pain wasn't anything like that. I found it to be very traditional and excellent. And, like you said, the service was personal and friendly too. Perhaps they had run out of almond and the real baker had left and one of those helpful counterfolk tried to mock something up for you? I'd give 'em another shot. But call again to make sure.
Personally, I find Amandine's to be far and away the best. la Maison du Pain was my second favorite and then Breadbar third. Breadbar is great but a very different style. Haven't tried Europane though.