Monday, January 3, 2011

La Boulangerie

--restaurant review--

La Boulangerie, aptly named the bakery in English, is a French pastry and bread shoppe at 4526 Magazine Street. Of course, I noticed it's adorable blue and yellow decor walking down Magazine Street months ago, but my first real experience with La Boulangerie's wares was at one of my favorite lunch spots-The Milk Bar, where La Boulangerie supplies the fresh crusty rolls for sandwiches.
But, I had recently heard good things about the pastries and could not fathom a better way to spend a Sunday morning (before the game) by biking over to this cute store and having a croissant with coffee. Many other New Orleanders must have been thinking the exact same thing because while we slowly nibbled on our pastries the line never ended!
La Boulangerie offers an array of French pastries, breads, cakes, and even personal sized quiches.

While the tortes, pies, and especially the opera looked amazing, we opted for an array of croissants. We shared the plain croissant, a chocolate croissant, and (my favorite universally) the almond croissant. The coffee, I'm sad to report, was a do-it-yourself cup with the only options being sugar and cream. With amazing French food like this, I was super disappointed by the quality of the coffee and noted that in the future I would have to pick up a cup somewhere else and bring it in to enjoy in La Boulangerie's comfy couch seats. 

The plain croissant was the winner of the favorite thing we ate. Light, fluffy, and with that amazing glaze on it the plain croissant was close to what I have had in France and definitely something that I would go out of my way to eat again. The chocolate croissant was a rectangle shaped loaf of croissant with a dime-shaped bit of chocolate on one little spot of the inside. I recalled having better chocolate croissants at the mall in my childhood. The almond croissant was very different than any I have had before. It was thick and weighed more than any pastry should. The inside was not full of almond paste but rather but lightly glazed with it. The outside was covered in powdered sugar and soggy almond slices. This item disappointed me as almond croissants have always been such a big hit with this eater. At the same time, I would go back again and order it a second time in hopes that the almond croissant was just poorly made that morning. 

La Boulangerie does have ample seating including some tables and a couch surrounding a coffee table. While I was there there was an adorable father holding his baby and a the mother next to them knitting while enjoying their pastries and coffee (how adorable!). The inside is decorated in those typical New Orleans signs, but in French!, and also a chocolate chicken. Since we're in New Orleans you can expect to pay cash. However, you also should expect to be treated in a typical French style with curt responses and no extra chit-chat. Some customers have found La Boulangerie's wait staff to be rude and have taken their business elsewhere, but I would say that if you can stand not to be ushered in warmly you'll be fine. 

My biggest mistake in visiting La Boulangerie was not trying any of their breads. I do believe that that is where the bakery truly shines and will definitely be returning in the near future to grab a crusty french loaf.

Overall, La Boulangerie would not warrant five of my stars. They would benefit from upgrading their coffee and making sure that their chocolate and almond croissants were perfect every time, instead of slightly subpar. That said, overall I did enjoy my first experience at La Boulangerie and I promise I will return in the near future to try those muffins..and breads...and the chocolate mousse!

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