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Europane

March 31, 2007

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I’m in luuuuuuv (again)! This time my affair is with Europane Bakery in Pasadena. Trisha and I came west from Claremont for a day of eating and of course, an activity all college students engage in, ‘studying’. I don’t recall much studying being done but the eating aspect of our plans was well accomplished and left me blissfully happy the way that good food does.

We arrived here about 11am and the bakery was not nearly as busy as I anticipated. Online reviews had me thinking that the place would be packed with lines out the door. Located right off Colorado Blvd, the windows here are tall and wide, letting the lazy California sun shine in.

The interior is done in lazy day shades of brown, red, orange, and even some green. I suppose it sounds odd it writing, but just on come down and you’ll see what I mean. We ordered at the counter and picked a cozy corner seat and whipped out our Viao laptops like the intellectual geniuses we are. Hehehe.

Well the laptop was set aside (and never to leave my bag again) when the egg salad sandwich ($6.85) arrived. I like to eat my sandwiches in layers, I don’t know why, but perhaps it comes from my liking to taste everything one by one, on its own. You see those eggs?! Those yellow yolks, as bright as a lemon skin and creamy as pudding, oh pudding. And the pearly whites, so creamy it would leave you thinking that eggs are dairy food, softly whipped heavy cream, to be specific. Texture alone, I could have sworn they were not boiled, but barely poached till the yolks just came together. Layered between was a healthy mix of fresh spring greens, then a sweet, smoky roasted tomato spread, shielding the airy, buttery richness of the toasty warm brioche.

But you remember, no eating session comes to a finish without something just a tad sweet to round out the meal. My dear, you have honestly swooned over the pear tart ($3.75). Like SWOONED. I usually lean towards chocolate or very rich lustful tarts, but now I can say I’ve changed my ways. The buttery bosc pear half was sliced thin making it seem as if there were thousands, endless, even, slices of pears so juicy and sweet with reckless regard. I ate around the crust first, tasting of the best part of a croissant, that lightly browned, incredibly flaky first one or two layers. Hidden between the rich pears and buttery pastry was thin dusting of ground almonds and sprinkle of sugar. Gasp, what? You ask. Yes, yes! Almond and sugar! Between the pastry and fruit – could there be anything more satisfying? The only sweetness from this creation came from the fruit alone and light dashes of sugar under the fruit and around the edges of the pastry. It has my name, and possibly yours, written allllll over ;) I’ve eaten more than my lifetime share of pastries in my life so far, and I can easily confirm that this was perhaps the most divine fruit-based tart I’ve ever encountered. And no, I have absolutely no affiliation with this bakery whatsoever! If I had a car, I’d probably end up spending $20 a day on gas driving back and forth between the Europane and Claremont. “Call me when something, anything, comes hot out of the oven,” I’d demand. And then I’ll get call, dash off in my imaginary car and buy a million croissants!”

After I finished the tart, a horrible thought ran though my head – when would I next have the opportunity to return?! Attempting to push the thought aside, I sat back down and tried to do some work. A half hour later, Trisha went to up to the counter and ordered a pear and crème fraiche brioche tart. Holy moly, when I hear the words of ‘brioche, crème fraiche and pears’ strung one after another, my heart started to beat faster. She took the brioche back to the table and we both took a delicate ladylike bite, and let the soft, rich dough melt onto our tongues, then reveal a wealthy brush of crème fraiche, generously layered upon in creamy goodness and precious cuts of sweet pears. I can only imagine how much more wonderful it would have tasted if the brioche bottom were still warm, and perhaps a bit crisp! But I dare not ask, cause that…it was marvelous!

I feared for getting diabetes but I’m afraid my love of buttery sweet delights triumphed for today. I took home a simple named lemon cake that infinite times greater than the sum of its parts. The cakes layers are brown butter, slightly nutty and moist to the touch. A wonderful light crumb that holds its own yet dissapears into sweet crumbles ever so gently on your tongue. In between the layers, a touch of lemon curd spread about. More fruity than sweet, more tart than creamy, some sunk into the tiny crumbs holes of the cake, harmoniously melding tart lemon with nutty browned butter. As if that wasn’t heavenly enough, a whirl of soft meringue was the final finish. Like marshmallow butter it was! Sticky, and it left my lips covered in snowy sweet white, the trio of meringue, cake and curd, why, who needs a boyfriend when you got cake? ;)

We packed our bags to head back to the oh-so-exciting-Claremont a short while later. But no more than half a mile on the 210 East, a change of heart, and surprisingly good weather led us to abandon our plans for a day on the Santa Monica Beach, dinner in Koreatown and fried vegetable curry donuts for an after dinner snack. And of course, we could not let the cake sit in the car, so what to do, but eat it right then and there?! Now that’s what I call a fine, fine day :)

Europane
950 E Colrado Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91106
(626) 577-1828



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