Distinction Croissants

“Plain” croissants are not plain; the name is used interchangeably with butter croissants. Purists may dismiss flavored versions like almond as a bit obvious and the more creative ones as sacrilege, but both are popular. Often, but not always, crescent-shaped, croissants of many varieties abound in OC Not in order of preference, here are a few favorites.

Photograph by Emily J. Davis

Cream Pan (1)

Tiny, cute strawberry croissants, topped with a delicate slice or two of strawberry, fresh custard and a dusting of powdered sugar, have been the main attraction at Japanese-French boulangerie-pâtisserie for two decades. They are an absolute steal at $1.80. Fountain Valley, Tustin

Rye products (2)

Hipsters! The croissants here use a rye sourdough that’s denser, darker…and fascinating. The formidable butter croissant is super flaky; the caramelized onion and Brie version, topped with seeds and salt flakes, is super tasty ($6, $6.50). newport beach

Shokuh Patisserie (3)

This croissant is worthy of a pastry shop showcasing meticulously crafted creations. Consider it a special occasion item, something beautiful made with French butter and finished with a delicate sweet sheen. The almond croissant is exquisite, you can’t tell
($4, $4.90).
newport beach

Pandor Artesanal Bakery and Coffee (4)

Known as much for paninis and tartines as it is for pastries, this place features a tall, buttery, satisfyingly crunchy, light golden, shiny croissant with dark egg-washed streaks ($3.50). Irvine, Newport Beach, Orange

Tableau Kitchen + Bar (5)

Near the entrance are creative croissants including the Spam & Cheese Kimchi, a riot of Korean-inspired savory delights that pairs ideally with the Spam-garnished Budae Jjigae Bloody Mary (see page 108). The ube cranberry-almond croissant is its sweet equivalent ($5, $4.50). Costa Mesa

Chaupain Artisan French Bakery

The butter croissant at this bakery-cafe is downright lush, sometimes audibly crunchy, flaky, fluffy innards are a joy to take apart, plus crazy buttery. The chocolate almond flan croissant on the same shelf is a raving triple whammy ($5). Laguna Hills, San Clemente

FKN Bread

The hybrid Everything Croissant at this bakery (pronounced eff-kay-enn) looks neither like a croissant nor a bagel, maybe a mini loaf. Like its namesake bagel, it’s covered in seeds and filled with cream cheese, but inside it’s a light croissant instead of a dense bagel ($5.50). Saint John Capistrano

Boulangerie Pierre and pastry shop

Your croissant may look like a huge and menacing humpback crab, but beneath that intimidating facade lurks an indulgent confection; the shell seems to ooze butter. Warning: if you only want one, the $10 credit card minimum might get you the crab ($3.25). garden grove

black market bakery

The twice-baked almond croissant gets a lot of attention, but the novelty Jalapeno Popper version at this place—cheese-crusted, with bacon, cream cheese, and cheddar inside—has got our attention lately. Begs to be asked twice ($5.50). Costa Mesa

S.T. Chocolat Pastry

Chef Stéphane Tréand runs the Pastry School. Several days a week he sells pastries from the reception room patisserie, most notably a pain au chocolat, an airy, crackling cuboid croissant filled with a modest but immodestly seductive layer of Valrhona dark chocolate ($4.50). Tustin

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