. . .this pastry . . . . is in fact good for you . . ! ~ M.F.K. Fisher
I likely ate my first croissant because the name was so obviously French, it had to taste wonderful. Turned out I was right.
This crescent-shaped pastry commonly eaten with breakfast tastes anything but common when done well.
A good ~ fresh-baked ~ croissant is what no decent bakery can do without.
Just as New Mexicans expect the tortillas wrapping the chile and beef in the breakfast burrito to be fresh. Or New Yorkers expect the rolls holding the bacon and egg to be fresh.
Point is, I was in need of a good croissant and that is how this tale of three croissants begins.
I decided to experiment, take a kind of mini-taste test. I visited three area bakeries just after opening hour, and here is what I learned:
LESSON 1: BEING MEMORABLE ISN’T ALWAYS A GOOD THING
I remember the croissant from El Paso’s International Bakery and Deli mostly because it was so bad.
The counter gal said they had been freshly made, but the hard dry thing she served me was . . . disappointing.
Since I didn’t eat more than the single, sample bite, I left there a little sad and a lot hungry. And headed up the road to Bella Cora Bakery where I found ~
A good croissant.
The counter gal there said these “classic croissants” were fresh baked and I believed it. Flaky on the outside, soft on the inside, and still warm. I pulled mine apart with my fingers, and flakes popped and fell to the plate as I ate.
So light and crispy. . . must have used a ton of butter. I would have loved this croissant even if I hadn’t been starving.
The taste confirmed what I’d long suspected was true:
LESSON 2: BUTTER IS NOT THE ENEMY.
Mediocre taste is.
Mediocre-tasting food can leave you so unsatisfied, you end up eating plate after plate. But when you eat something this rich, the one serving satisfies you.
A little apple vinegar helps if high cholesterol is a concern. But you don’t eat like this every day . . . do you? (If so, send me an e-mail, you’re my new best friend.)
Another morning, another croissant ~ this time, in Las Cruces.
The croissant at le Rendezvous Cafe turned out to be the surprise of the trio.
I had an idea their French pastry chef had a way with croissants when one of my students asked for his secret during our interview a while back.
But expecting something to be good and experiencing it as good are two different things.
While not as grandly-shaped as the Bella Cora croissant, it was as tasty.
I stuffed what was left after my sample bite with sharp cheddar and turkey, and put it in the oven.
That’s when I learned
LESSON 3: GOOD CROISSANT + CHEESE & COLDCUTS + HEAT = HAPPY ME