La Patisserie Chouquette
The other night I was home watching The Mind of a Chefon Netflix when Chef April Bloomfield took a trip to San Francisco's famous Tartine Bakery. Seeing master baker Chad Roberson make his "morning bun" pastry got me all wild eyed and crazy. I started having visions of butter, sugar and flour. I even busted out my Thomas Keller Bouchon Bakery cookbook, all ready to head down to the kitchen and whip up some authentic French pastries.
Then I started reading the instructions and realized that: (1) I had about 1/3 of the ingredients needed for most recipes and (2) I was far too lazy to actually spend time rolling out all this dough. That meant I was left with only one option.
Go to La Patisserie Chouquette.
Now that highway 40's Vandeventer exit is open again, it's even easier to get down there. I sped down the highway like a bat out of hell. A man on a mission. I got in there and knew just what I was going to get: everything. Okay, not everything. But a lot more than I should have.
First off was the new [symple_highlight color="blue"]Pumpkin Croissant[/symple_highlight], a flakey grenade filled with a pumpkin butter. Croissants are always good. Pumpkin things are almost always good. Do the math. This was good.
Next came the [symple_highlight color="blue"]Black Sesame Eclair[/symple_highlight], which tasted like it was straight out a Japanese bakery. You must like a strong sesame flavor to enjoy this, and since I love sesame, I inhaled this baby.
Chouquette's assistant pastry chef, Patrick, implored me to try the canelé, which I did. I couldn't let him down. This tiny little pastry is unlike most I've had before. The outside is caramelized and crunchy while the inside is soft and borderline custardy. It's made out of sugar, flour, egg, and milk (and perhaps some vanilla?), so you know it was good. Plus it's small, meaning the guilt level is lower.
If you follow Chouquette on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, you've seen [symple_highlight color="blue"]The Darkness[/symple_highlight]. This is a chocolate croissant on steroids. Frankly, I don't even know why they bother making it. It seems like it would be a lot easier to just put a big block of dark chocolate in the display case and just sell that. If you like chocolate (hello, ladies), you have to try it. Heat it up just a little bit and the outside gets warm and slightly gooey while the inside keeps that firmer crunch.
Men, this plus flowers is a surefire way to get out of whatever bad thing you did.
If you want to see me eat an entire loaf of bread, please bring me their [symple_highlight color="blue"]pumpkin chai loaf[/symple_highlight]. This humongous hunk of sweet, soft bread tastes like a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice latte made love to a Starbucks Chai latte on a banana bread bed (patent pending). My guess is that this will be a huge seller this fall. Mostly because of me.
Another recommendation from Patrick was the [symple_highlight color="blue"]bostock[/symple_highlight]. This is like French toast for people who are over 10 years old. They take a big ol' slice of brioche bread (buttery, buttery brioche) and soak it in almond syrup, cover it in frangipane and sliced almonds, then bake it. If you like almonds, butter and more almonds, this is the pastry for you.
Just to be clear, I did not finish all of these. I shared them with family and there's still a ton left. Just so you don't judge me.
Chouquette continues to crush all competitors. The closest place to this in quality is the Kim Dok Won Bakery in Creve Coeur/Chesterfield. No, don't even try to compare it to La Bonne Bouchee. Chouquette wins.