Berkeley: La Farine

Wednesday, October 25, 2006 7 No tags Permalink 0

Aww crap. My post was deleted! Ok, here’s a rewrite – though surely not as good as the original :( Follow up on the last post:

I went to sleep on Sunday with an almond croissant-less belly. It was a sad evening. I had searched fruitlessly all day for these creatures only to be turned down by one bakery after another. All sold out. But when Kathy wants pastries, she damn well gets them! Monday morning I bolted out of bed at 7am sharp, didn’t even both with contacts, much less brush my hair. I literally RAN the two miles to La Farine. I was going to GET THAT ALMOND CROISSANT. Am I slightly crazy? Perhaps. In love with food? Oh yeah.
The bakery had just opened it’s doors and the warm cozy scent of fresh baked parties and bread was borderline intoxicating. I spied gorgeous morning buns – creatures of croissant dough dusted in cinnamon sugar, rolled and baked in muffin tins. To the left were Swiss Twinkies, puff pastry rolled in cigar/croissant-like style with a sweet nut puree. Brioches, big and small lay company to the golden apple croissants and soft mounds of tender orange scones.

Talk about sensory overload. But I had only one object of affection in mind. Almond Croissant. They sat next to the register in all their crisp brown glory. Rich as heaven and light as a feather.

“One almond croissant please,” and it was mine. I took my dear pastry, carefully enclosed in a paper bag to the bakery’s single communal table. A swift rip of the bag, revealed all its natural beauty of butter, yeast, flour and almonds, a creature to behold. It resembled a snail in architecture and was perfectly browned from all angles and dotted with sliced almonds. Out at the base of the croissant lay some of the almond filling that oozed out but clung on, making for a wonderfully crunchy sweet reward. To beautiful to eat. Almost.

I worked my way from the inside out, peeling apart seemingly endless layers of soft buttery dough twined with a nutty crunchy almond mix. It was not the traditional type of almond paste filling, but rather a rough mix of almonds, butter and sugar. Delightful, nonetheless. Bites at the top layer resulted in flying shards of crisp croissant flakes. Just as I like it. All at once soft and doughy with nibbles of almonds and a nearly flaky, properly crisp shell. I took bite and bite, nibble after nibble, till there was nothing left.

It was quite fantastic; though I would be lying if I didn’t say I was the slightest bit let down. I hyped myself up so much for this one croissant. Everything from research of Berkeley croissants weeks in advanced, to being THISCLOSE to getting one at Masse’s and La Farine yesterday and everything else in between, built up my anticipation to the point where expectations were far too high to ever be satisfied. Silly me. This always happens. I often think about nothing but one dish or food item for days on end. I build up wondrous ideas of it’s flavor, taste and appearance. And when I finally get it, it is good. But not as good as I had hope. Not nearly as good. But then again, food is rarely that excellent. Especially when you build up unreachable expectations. I suppose if I had come across La Farine’s croissants on a random morning walk, I would have been taken aback by its sheer simplicity and deliciousness. But because I had analyzed it left and right down to a science, there wasn’t too much to enjoy. I had asked for too much.

I’m taking off to NYC tonight. TOP SECRECT MISSION. Will be back next Tuesday. I will not go crazy with food like I did during spring break (7 days, over $1000 spent, 9 pounds gained) and I will not research and make up crazy lists of things I HAVE to do HAVE to eat. Instead, I will come across little spots, encounter unexpected delights and bask in the beauty of it all.

La Farine
6323 College Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94704
(510) 654-0338

7 Comments
  • anonymous
    October 26, 2006

    Have a nice “secret mission”! I’m sure I’ll read of it soon.

  • RON
    October 26, 2006

    nice re-write.

  • Robyn
    October 26, 2006

    Oh my god you ARE crazy! But that’s why we love you.It does suck when you think something will be so awesome that you would kill a man for it, but it’s not quite up to par. Looks really good though. And FRESH! Because you left at 7 am and ran for two miles. OMG.Dude ye gotta tell me about this top secret mission.

  • anonymous
    October 26, 2006

    I repeat..I LOVE your bakery posts! You are so good with those. Everything small sounds like an exciting story. And not so the less because I love baked goods myself..lol.. Now maybe I should compose a poem on a croissant..I did one on chocolate cake once..hmm…

  • Chubbypanda
    October 26, 2006

    Run, Kathy! Pump those crazy legs!High expectations can definitely affect one’s perception of food. However, it sounds like the almond croissant was exquisite. Far better than most of the ones you see.Huh. Food cravings, eh? Did I mention that Elmo and I have scheduled a com tam faceoff at a different restaurant? (^o^)- Chubbypanda

  • Kathy YL Chan
    October 27, 2006

    Hey Kirk!Thanks, I will! And you betcha you’ll hear all about it…or at least what I ate one it :)Hey Ron!Thanks! :) I was so bummed out when it got deleted…but perhaps all for the better!Hey Robyn!I just landed in NYC and waited in line for 1 1/2 hours for a chicken and gyro plate from this cart on 53rd and 7th! Crazy! But it was SOSOSO good! All part of the mission…About the croissant – so good but I don’t think anything is worth a two mile run. You have any idea how exhausted I was? I thought my heart would just explode out of my body…ewww. Sorry, awful image! :)Hey Pallavi!Awww, you’re too nice! Is you chocolate cake poem posted? – poems about food are certaintly the most droolworthy of them all! :)Hey Chubbypanda!I ran! I ran! It was the first time I ran in two billion years. :)Expectations are good, but when they’re too high, that just sucks! Oh man, don’t get started with your com tam post, that seriously drove me crazy – I couldn’t think about anything else for days!!

  • Chubbypanda
    October 27, 2006

    (Referencing spammer comment above by “weight loss help”.)Hi,My name is Chubbypanda, and I’ve had a problem with stupid spammers all my life. But, I’ve found an all natural solution to curing my spammer woes that was helped me reach a happy frame of mind. It’s simple:All spammers should eat #$%^ and die.What could be easier? If you’re a spammer and would like more information, please look between the index and ring fingers of your hand.We now return you to your regularly scheduled croissant discussion.Thank you,- Chubbypanda

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