Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Almond Croissant Hunt Begins: Pearl Bakery

I've been infatuated with almond croissants for quite some time. It's something between the flaky, buttery croissant layers and delicate, sweet almond touch that equals heavenly bliss to my taste buds. And that's the best way I can describe the sensation. My brain is zapped from too much grad school paper writing and research these days. 

As if that wasn't enough, I've assigned the stealth writer of Banana Wonder myself with some research.

To find the best almond croissant in Portland. 

It's due time for some research after some serious scrutinizing analysis was published (Southern California Empanada Soul Mate Search and Olive Oil Cake Smack-down) a few months ago. Required reading, of course. 

I started my research at Pearl Bakery, one of Portland's highly touted bakeries. Located in the Pearl District,  this bakery is known for its handcrafted breads and pastries. Their croissants are made with rbst-free, locally made butter and flour from sustainably grown wheat farms in Washington state. Their croissants are made in the traditional French manner, which supposedly takes three days from mix to lamination to create. Pearl Bakery goodies are also sold at Portland's largest farmers market held on the Portland State University campus, which is where I first fell in love with their anise and fig bread. 

Exhibit A: Almond Croissant

I originally swung by one Saturday afternoon for some research, but they had sold out, raising my expectations of good things to come. I went back the following Tuesday morning after Bar Method, paying three legal tenders for my first go round of research. The croissant was airy and buttery, with the proper amount of flakiness on top that leaves you thinking half the croissant is piled into broken pieces on your plate at the end. A great croissant. The almond part, however, left something to be desired. Although I am sensitive to overly sweet treats, the almond filling was not sweet enough nor did it whisper sweet almond nothings in my ear/belly/mouth. It was a confused almond croissant, unworthy of do-over status. 

Exhibit B: Almond croissant cross section

I will stick with what Pearl excels at. And that is bread.

Pearl Bakery
102 NW 9th Ave
Portland, OR 97209


elra said...

Yummy ! My favorite pastry ever.

Peter M said...

OMG, of all the croissants, almond is my favourite!

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Diana said...

Pain du Monde in Orange County has amazing almond croissant twists that are probably too sweet and geographically undesirable for your search, but are, in my opinion, exceedingly delicious. Their mochas are pretty tasty too...

Anna A. said...

elra - I second that!

Peter - OMG. It's my favourite too!

Diana - I will hit up the Pain du Monde next time I make the trek down South. Thanks for the hot tip!

Indie.Tea said...

Good croissants are so hard to find.
And I dont think I've ever had an almond one.

Anna A. said...

Indie.Tea - Say what? Never an almond croissant? We're going to have to work on that.

Ivy said...

Wow, I didn't even know there were almond filled croissants. They sound amazing.

Helen said...

Okay Anna, you HAVE to cross the border and take a trip to Montreal city in Quebec, Canada to sample the almond croissants. I was there this summer and fell in lust with the almond croissant. After sampling the 'fresh out of the oven' almond croissant, which by the way, my husband and I wrangled over, to the very last bite, I had to go back the next morning before we hit the road back home and buy 2 more so that I could have my very own! Yes, THAT good!

maryeats said...

Since moving to portland I've be frustrated with croissants period. In Seattle I would get them at Le Panier in Pike Place Market of Cafe Nouveau in West Seattle, but the one here, Kens, The Pearl Bakery, and Le Petite Provance don't cut it! I feel like I'm eating a pastry exoskeleton. Thanks for taking this project on. Can't wait to see what you find

Helen said...

p.s. this is the bakery that makes the BEST almond croissants in Montreal!


Anna A. said...

Ivy - Really?! That's funny because now that I think of it and I can only recall plain and chocolate versions stin Ellada.. I think they would sell well!

Helen - Thanks for the research tip. It's always been a dream of mine to go to Quebec! Food, culture, pretty faces, etc. Now I know the first place I'm hitting up thanks to you.

Mary - I just about died at "pastry exoskeleton" Next time I'm in Seattle I will track down Cafe Nouveau. I was thinking about hitting up Ken's, but expectations are now lowered.

stuffycheaks said...

looks flakey! didnt know there was a french preperation. How funny you got this after Bar Method. I usually get a croissant after pilates cuz its down the street. Bad.

Anna A. said...

Stuffycheaks - Haha, glad I am not the only one who eats buttery treats after working out. We should start a club.

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