A few months ago I noticed a friend of mine, who lived in France for a long time, expressing her disappointment in a California bakery that is considered one of the better choices in her city. I thought to myself,
I wonder if I am similarly spoiled by the pastries and breads of Montreal.
On this trip I’ve been eating a lot of different foods, and for the first time probably ever (thanks, Internet!) researching ahead of time which restaurants offer the best deals and cuisines. I found a bakery down the street from my friend Molly’s place in New Orleans, simply called La Boulangerie. It had a 91% rating on Urbanspoon (with 448 votes), and 4 stars out of 5 on YELP (with 104 reviews) at the time of writing. It seems to be considered the best bakery in New Orleans.
I visited La Boulangerie twice, and it was pretty good. But, yep, I’m spoiled. The pastries lack that light crispiness that characterize really delicious French pastries. The pastry layers were, for lack of a better description, smashed together, and chewy. The first time I went I was super happy with the latte I ordered, but the second time it was lack luster (no foam at all).
However, I did absolutely love the muffins at La Boulangerie. They were the exact right level of sweet and fluffy. They were a great portion size. I had the orange cranberry on my first visit, and the oat bran on my second visit.
Probably if you’ve never lived in France or Montreal, the pastries at La Boulangerie would be considered great. But, it’s true that there were at least 5 different bakeries within a few block radius of my place in MTL whose pastries outperformed those of La Boulangerie by a wide margin.
I hope I can find a delicious French bakery in San Francisco that will satisfy my ridiculously spoiled pastry preferences (my friends have recommended Tartine). Finding one will be a top priority once I arrive home.