Quest for the Best: Croissing into new territory; Little Tart Bake Shop savory, sweet

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Quest for the Best: Croissing into new territory; Little Tart Bake Shop savory, sweet

Mei Nathan

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The croissant, a French pastry known for its rich layers, flaky goodness and traditional crescent shape, is a delicacy favored by many. On our latest Quest for the Best: Road Trip Edition, we headed out to visit Highland Bakery, Alon’s Bakery and Market, and Little Tart Bake Shop to find the best croissant. 

Highland Bakery

Our first stop was Highland Bakery (655 Highland Ave. NE), which is connected to a larger sit-down restaurant. The bakery was bustling with a large array of beautifully-presented pastries. Based on the recommendation of our server, Gary Hanson, we chose a chocolate croissant. After shelling out  $2.19 for the medium-sized pastry, we were a bit disappointed that it wasn’t toasted.

Though very buttery, the croissant’s flavor was balanced with the perfect amount of sweet and slightly melted chocolate chips. The pastry lacked crunchiness, however, and its bread was dense and flat in texture. Partially satisfied, we asked Hanson where we should continue our quest. He suggested Alon’s Bakery and Market.

 

Alons

Alon’s Bakery and Market (1394 North Highland Ave. NE) serves everything from gourmet desserts to hot sandwiches to crab cakes. The baker recommended we try an almond croissant, which we purchased for $2.29.        

Topped with shaved almonds, the pastry made a satisfying crunch as we broke it in half. Every bite of the croissant bread consisted of warm, melt-in-your-mouth, crispy layers, unlike the one we sampled at Highland Bakery. The croissant’s almond filling was extremely sweet, however, and overpowered the rest of the croissant. After finishing our treat, we spoke to several of Alon’s staff members, but they were quite brand loyal and no one gave us a recommendation for our next stop. 

 

the Little Tart

After consulting Google,  we ended up at the renowned Little Tart Bakeshop (437 Memorial Dr. SE). The bakeshop, whose open room was accented with modern industrial touches and large communal tables, was by far the trendiest of the bakeries we visited. We followed the recommendation of our friendly server, Samuel Roth and ordered a ham and cheese croissant. Although the pastry was $4, it was  well worth the extra cost.

Excited to taste our first savory pastry of the day, we broke into the large croissant. It was equal parts flaky, fresh, buttery, and flavorful. Though we weren’t able to taste the cheese, the ham, which the shop buys from the Spotted Trotter, made this croissant the clear winner in our eyes. Pleased with the service and the food, we were curious to see if another bakery could top Little Tart Bakeshop. However, Roth didn’t believe any bakery was better than his own, and couldn’t recommend another. We hadn’t realized how rich the croissants would be, so we finished our trip early, happy and full.

We were amazed how hard it was to get the servers to recommend other bakeries. Though Highland Bakery’s croissant was good, it was quite doughy and lacked the crunchy texture we desired. Preconceived notions led us to assumed that the croissant at Alon’s Bakery and Market would be the winner, but the pastry’s almond filling was almost sickly sweet. We found Little Tart Bakeshop offered the friendliest service and best croissant. Though the shop’s croissant was the most expensive we tasted,  its large size, savory flavor and lightness made it well worth the extra money.

Quest for the Best (Video)

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