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Dec 4, 2004 02:29 AM

Peninsula Pastries, Salinas

  • m

The house I grew up in was less than a block away from this bake shop. Through the years, the site has been home to some pretty good, independently owned bakeries. My parents current residence is not too far away and I stopped by recently to see what might tempt.

The bakery has taken a French turn, judging from the accent of the proprietress and the goodies in the case, although there is still plenty of Americana to be had here. The best thing I've had so far is the almond croissant. These are big American-sized but have enough butter to go around, and the almond meal filling is unbelievably overstuffed. I especially love the parts where the sweet almond stuffing oozes out around the edges and bakes into a chewy macaroon-like texture. These babies are topped with plenty of slivered toasty almonds too. A version made with pain au chocolat is also available, but I find I prefer the almond purity and over-the-topness of the straight version. My mother almost choked when I told her these cost two bucks (they're actually a little bit more than that), but I knew she was sold when she asked me to buy another.

Chausson, pain au chocolat and plain croissants made in mini-versions, which seemed like a good idea to me for a greater crust ration. However, none of them really held much appeal on first sample.

If anyone else has been here, I'd love to hear what you recommend.

Peninsula Pastries
Cloren & David Tiger
926 1/2 South Main St.
(facing the rear parking lot)

Variable hours through the week and not open every day, best to confirm opening


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  1. Was that Cordes' Pollyanna Bakery back around 1970? Sort of behind Valley Center near Romie?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Steve Green
      Melanie Wong

      Yep, that's the spot, between Acacia and Romie Lane.

    2. Last week luck was with us and I scored an almond croissant at Peninsula Pastries. Not made every day, availability depends on having leftover croissants from previous bakes. Still $2, but smaller now, and the downsizing and better proportions makes for a better product.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Melanie Wong

        I am pretty sure this is the place a friend of mine who lives in Salinas orders from. If it is the same place, I thought the quality was very good. (My friend is a baker so she knows good pastry when she "sees" one. :) ) And I've never been known to pass up the opportunity to "test" a pastry shop.

        1. re: tavmark

          Mostly likely Peninsula Pastries since it is more established and better known.

          There's another bakery right across the parking lot, Royal Deli & Bakery. But lately there's not been much in the case, and it seems to not be open as many hours.

          Pastry "testing" is one of my fondest activities!

      2. This month my mom and I have tried a few cakes slices that have been very, very good. And amazingly, they're priced at $3 each. The lemon-raspberry slice features a lemony-buttery cream studded with oodles of fresh raspberries between layers of very light genoise and edged with nuts. The chocolate truffle is chocolate cake with chocolate truffle filling and whipped cream over top. Our favorite is the praline, white cake moistened with rum, praline mousseline cream and coated in toasted almonds slices.

        Cake selection varies daily on the whim of the baker and only some of them are sold by the slice. A cool thing is that a slice can be ordered in advance. The cake you want will be baked on the desired day and will be available for slicing.

        And public service announcement, the bakery will be closed for vacation from August 5 through September 11, 2012.

        1. The go to pastry at this shop is the Bread Pudding. It is made everyday from the shops pastries and it is fabulous. I have ordered a whole pan for parties and it has always been a hit. It sells out quickly so get there early. Peninsula Pastries also has breads -Baguettes and Franchese- that are very good. The shop usually closes for all or part of August, so hurry in and give it a try.

          4 Replies
          1. re: villadeste92

            I've often seen the bread pudding on top of the counter but have yet to try it since Mom's not a fan. But I will! She has her eye on the apple strudel, but it hasn't been available the last couple times we were in. So selection does vary.

            1. re: villadeste92

              Good lord, the bread pudding is beyond fabulous! I finally got some this morning. $3 for a piece that's 4" x 6" x 2" and probably weighs more than a pound. It has everything that's leftover in it, not just bread. Excavating it was fun . . . and I've only had less than one-third so far . . . as I found the telltale graham cracker crust and cheese-y custard of cheesecake, the bits of apricot and buttery crust of the apricot tart, and more. The whole top is covered with glazed apples. What a great rec!

              P.S. Hot cross buns not being made yet.

              1. re: Melanie Wong

                You can order a whole pan of it at a very reasonable price. I have done this a couple of times and it has been the hit of the party!

                1. re: villadeste92

                  I love the bread pudding at Tartine in San Francisco and I adore this one as much. Whereas Tartine's is rich from buttery pastry (leftover croissants, for example) and has a richer custard, Peninsula's is more about the variety of flavors and textures contributed by the wide-ranging pastries and not so much cream and eggs. Fantastic rec, thanks!