Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Almond Croissant Smack Down and New Leader: Nuvrei Pastries

Making my (self assigned) job easy!

Nuvrei Pastries is an underground bakery in the Pearl District with hours that are not to be taken lightly. Forget about weekday afternoon strolls to the bakery for a cookie. If you want an afternoon coffee accessory it would have to be premeditative. I have been to Nuvrei before, having been easily sold by their bright pink and white signs roping me in for fresh croissants. After all, they are a stone's throw from my Bar Method studio and it's always great to supplement some thigh shaking exercises with butter +sugar + flour. 

The major sign to look for is the pink and white one outside shown above, or else all there is from the outside is this silver sign below:

The only you clue you have about going downstairs is this sign (and the hypnotizing smell of baked goods). 

The bakery is small inside, but at 11am on a Tuesday there was an entire row of almond croissants available for my choosing. It's sort of cultish. You select your pastry and a cup of stumptown coffee and then get the hell out of that building (if its obvious you don't work there, ie. me in navy spandex and bright red back pack). You leave, stuffing the pastry in your greedy pie hole as you pass by some bewildered tourist, construction workers and those people who live fabulous lives in the Pearl that always seem to be walking their dog or going for coffee in trendy rain boots and pearls at any old time of the day. 

Nuvrei uses Plugra butter, a European slow-churned butter that's higher in fat and lower in moisture to create a flakier pastry.

My almond croissant ($3.00) was a normal croissant size - not American obese size. The flaky crust shattered on first bite.

They do not use a marzipan based filling like most places do. Nuvrei has developed their own filling based on ground almonds, butter, eggs, sugar and rum. The filling was pure almond cream heaven - slightly oozy and bursting with fresh almond flavor. The best almond croissant yet and totally different than the competition. Nuvrei scores top marks on croissant pastry having the most airy, buttery and flaky dough thus far as well as the superior filling - original, fresh, and full of flavor. 

Almond Croissant Standings:

After Nuvrei's croissant I would never go back to its inferior challengers. In the meantime, I will try the rest.

1. Nuvrei Pastries
2. Fleur De Lis Bakery
3. Lovejoy Bakers
4. Pearl Bakery

Nuvrei Pastries
404 NW 10th Ave Lower Level 2
Portland, OR 97209


Mary Bergfeld said...

You have given us another interesting spot where we can ward off hunger when we get to Portland. It sounds trendy enough to be in Greenwich Village. Trendy or not, that croissant looks delicious. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

Helen said...

Ah, Anna you've finally found an authentic almond croissant! This croissant sounds like the ones I had in Montreal last summer. There was no marzipan filling inside, but rather a creamy egg custard, but with no rum flavour although that sounds good too! By virtual tasting with my eyes, I totally agree that this place carries the best croissants so far :)

Banana Wonder said...

Mary - Yeah, the bakery totally feels like something you'd find in NY!

Helen - This is my first time having a custard based almond filling and now I am a convert. Must come to Quebec soon. But they must have Bar Method studios as well to work off my croissant tastings :)

Anonymous said...

I need to check that place out, did you happen to see if they had macarons? THe ones at Pearl Bakery are too big for my taste.

Banana Wonder said...

peaseporridgepdx - I didn't see any macarons! Just muffins, croissants and normal cookies.

Helen said...

Anna, if you go to Quebec in the winter (from now till March) you can ski off the calories from your croissant tastings. There all all kinds of fitness options up here although I'm not sure Bar Method has arrived yet :) but I may be wrong. Personally I'm a Pilates fan, there's less sweating involved haha!

Banana Wonder said...

Helen - I will look into it for my spring break in March! I think pilates is sort of like Bar Method. Being that you are my sista from another mista, I'm sure you'd appreciate the blood, sweat, tears, glory, etc of Bar Method.

Diana said...

Sugar + butter + flour is the perfect Bar Method recovery meal! Good thinking there, TALF!

Banana Wonder said...

Diana - H. Yes! That is the secret combo... shhhhh

stuffycheaks said...

haha love it! #1 my croissant cafe is right by my pilates studio #2 i love how they don't use marzapan, which is the usual reason why i never really took to almond croissants

Banana Wonder said...

Stuffycheeks - You don't like marzipan? Don't matter, these croissants don't have em and I think you'd approve!