Monday, January 16, 2017

Preposterously flaky

"You're not putting that on Instagram are you?"
Isabel went back to school yesterday and on the way to the airport she and I stopped at Arsicault in San Francisco to try one of the bakery’s much-lauded croissants. Bon Appetit named this tiny, humble place 2016 “Bakery of the Year” on the strength of that croissant. How good can a croissant be? Bon Appetit: “simultaneously so preposterously flaky it leaves you covered in crumbs, so impossibly tender and buttery on the inside that it tastes like brioche, and so deeply golden that the underside is nearly caramelized.”

After that excruciating hyperbole and given that Arsicault is three blocks from my childhood home, I had to try one of the things. So there we were on a Sunday morning, late for the airport, standing in line, hungry, a little anxious, cold. I became silently, irrationally irritated at the innocent people in front of us. How dare they be in front of us in line. Why did they all have to use their credit cards to buy one or two croissants? Is it so hard to visit an ATM? Such lazy, irksome people. 

Finally, we got to the front of the line and I instantly forgave everyone. We bought our croissants, ran to the car, and I ate my croissant while driving down 19th Avenue somewhat faster than I should have. While I remember enjoying it, I could not tell you if it was “impossibly tender and buttery” or whether the underside was “nearly caramelized” or anything else about it.

I understand why magazines do it, but it’s silly to overhype a croissant. At least overhype something weird and new, like a cruffin.

We got to the airport, I kissed Isabel goodbye, watched her wheel her giant suitcase into the terminal, and fell into the usual post-visit funk, something I suspect will happen every time I put my children on planes to far-away homes for the rest of my life.

I texted Isabel today to see what she thought of the croissants because we hadn’t discussed them and I wondered if she had picked up on any extreme wonderfulness:




That’s all I’ve got for you today. I’ve been cooking from Alton Brown’s EveryDayCook and although everything has been good, nothing has reached the heights of those broccoli sub sandwiches. Those? Can’t overhype those.

18 comments:

  1. Try the lacquered bacon in EveryDayCook. Ignore your arteries just this once.... :)

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  2. When I saw "Preposterously flaky" as the heading I figured that could go two ways and either you were quoting an over the top restaurant review or an over the top political column. It was a huge relief to read about croissants. Also, thanks for trying them so now I don't have to wait in that line. BA has a lot to answer for, not the least of which is the use of "impossible" to describe a food other than impossible pie.

    In other news, someone just gave me a lot of Hungarian sweet paprika so now I'm thinking goulash. Any recipe recs?

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    Replies
    1. Or chicken paprikash...

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    2. I'm sorry if this sounds awful. It's delicious - one of my two favorite company dinners. I serve it with buttered (not fried) spaetze, blanched green beans, and a cucumber/sour cream salad. http://www.deliaonline.com/recipes/international/european/hungarian/meatballs-in-goulash-sauce

      I second chicken paprikash. Delish. I also make Hungarian chicken livers with tons of sweet paprika. If either of these sound good, and you want my recipes, email me at vcarr47@gmail.com

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    3. Chicken paprikash, good idea! Thanks for the inspiration.

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  3. I admire your tenacity. I think my days of voluntarily standing in line for food have ended. I wish you had been able to enjoy it more! Isabel's response is hilarious. I hope you both enjoy each other as much as you seem to.

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  4. Just: love. Thank you for coming back.

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  5. I want a cruffin!!!! We made cronuts a few years ago and it was a very fun way to spend the afternoon. I must say though that after all that hard work {we made the puff pastry ourselves} and all of the deep frying, none of us could eat more than half of one. Those cruffins look amazing, like you could sit and peel the layers and lay them gently on your tongue for hours.

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  6. I hate lines for food. I miss the days of undiscovered treasures, when you could eat something wonderful without having to determine whether it was worth the 45-minute wait (or more!) to even order. Nothing can survive the hype of the internet age, not even Bi-Rite. My most recent scoop there was gritty and freezer-bitten, and it made me sad.

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  7. تمتعوا الآن بأقوي الخصومات التي تقدم من خلال مركز توكيل و صيانة سامسونج كما يقدم أيضاً مركز صيانة وايت وستنجهاوس أفضل مستوي فهي تضم فريق متخصص .

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  8. اتصل علي رقم صيانة جليم جاز حيث يقوم بالرد عليكم نخبة متخصصة ذو خبرة عالية و يقدم لكم صيانة فريجيدير أرخص أسعار قطع غيار أجهزة أصلية .

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  9. great post. i like it. feeling great when reading your post

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