With the recent appearance of the “cronut” in Santa Monica, you may think the days of the traditional butter croissant are numbered. But I’ll beg to differ.
There’s a reason a warm, buttery layered stack of dough has become such a stronghold of the French culinary ecosystem, and it’s largely because THEY’RE SO FREAKIN GOOD.
Think about it:
- they’re perfect for breakfast: you can dip them in coffee or slather them in jam
- they’ve got massive lunch appeal: just stuff one full of ham and cheese and you’ll catch my drift
- they can even rock dessert: chocolate, nutella, oh how the fillings go on!
But I’m still going to defend the original croissant “au natural” if you will. No toppings, no dips, just buttah.
You see, in France, the butter itself is kind of already an embellishment. You can order a croissant “nature” instead of a “croissant au beurre” if you’re into that sort of “ultra plain/ no butter” thing… but why would you? In the states, we at least got one thing right: your croissants come with butter as the standard. Here, plain = buttery, nest-ce pas?
So I put 2 West LA bakeries and their butter croissants to the test.
Amandie vs. Café Laurent: who’s croissant was butter… er… better?
Contestant #1: Amandine Croissant
Weighing in at a massive 4.5 stars on yelp, Amandine Café bustles on Wilshire Blvd with a full pastry case and even a café menu. The real gem of this place is their backyard patio which reminds me of Marché des enfants rouges in paris due to its communal bench seating.
Amandine also boasts a pretty great quiche – one of the best in town according to my mother (who I bring along on many French dining adventures).
My croissant at Amandine shaped like a tapered cylinder and had a rich brown color to it. It was hard to resist gobbling it until I received its challenger.
Contestant #2: Café Laurent Croissant
Monsieur Laurent started the West-Side café a while ago and had great success with the pastries that he also sold at local farmer’s markets. The café has since changed hands but M. Laurent maintains the pastry production.
Café Laurent looks more traditional in setting than Amandine and you might not even know about the pastries unless you ask for them (their pastry cabinet was bare when we arrived, but they were happy to fork over the goods once I asked).
The Café Laurent croissant came out in the traditional rounded tip form with a honey brown color and buttery to the touch.
This was a truly tough decision (and it was even tougher to abstain from sneaking bites between croissant destinations – you can see I failed in that aspect), but ultimately I weighed the minute pros and cons and came up with my verdict.
WINNER: Café Laurent
What do you think? Did I get it right? Do you have a favorite croissant in your neighborhood? Let me know!