This isn't the NY Times - I don't have to be "fair or balanced" - I have a bias. I dislike overly-fancy, affected, froofy places. So, when I walked into the "dream" patisserie and saw what appeared to be a jewelry display I knew this was more likely a nightmare. Each treat was guarded like a crown jewel beneath domed glass and there was an employee trailing me with a pda, waiting to tap out my order electronically. "All show and no go" I thought to myself.
I took my time. I was annoyed by the whole concept - the glass domes reflected light, obsuring the offerings, making the choice harder. Puffin was checking me out, probably noting my face grow darker. I thought about the tart citron, but I've tired of unsuccessfully trying to find one to unseat Marletti.
I settled on a Paris Brest and tap-tap went the lady on her pda and out came a small paper ticket. Puffin stepped in, grabbed the ticket and disappeared. I later learned she had to wait in line to pick up the Paris Brest, then get in another line to pay. Why so complicated? I thought maybe she'd ordered a few things of her own when I saw the giant bag, but no - just my lil Paris Brest was in there.
Can you get any more wasteful? One pastry needs a big shopping bag AND a red cardboard box? The packaging looked like it cost more than the 5 Euros I paid (ok, that she paid) for the Paris Brest.
Once I finally got the box open I noted how they pinned it in place to minimize travel damage. A nice touch. I pulled out the pins and tried to lift it out - it was amazingly tender, like it was ready to fall apart. It had to be careful to get it out in one piece. Perhaps the glass domes make sense after all?
One disdainful bite, a few chews and I knew. I was a helpless fish dangling at the end of the line - the hook was set deep. Forget the words you've read to this point, this was one of the best tasting pastries I've had in some time. The choux was delicate but it simply served as a delivery mechanism for the heavenly praline cream. I will go back, no, I must go back and try some other things, as much as this place annoys me. Hey, I know - I'll send Puffin there with a pocket-full of euros and lay back and wait. Life is good.