When the tough gets going, Phillies fans head out for day-after cheesesteaks…or maybe those are tourists. It’s hard to say, but these were the lines today at Pat’s and Geno’s (the competing cheesesteak places that are located directly opposite one another on dueling corners). Needless to say, I’m sure there was a lot of emotional eating in Phila today.
I headed to South Philly this morn with this pastry as my primary objective.
Ignore the pesky shadow for a moment (that’s what happens when you head out relatively early and then dawdle past row houses, snapping random photos and marveling at how nice it is to live so close to the village that is South Philly and also to Old City and Rittenhouse Square and Washington Square. It’s what happens when you chat with the pastry chef before heading home, through the Italian Market, to which you’ve already professed your undying devotion and which is crackling with activity on a beautiful fall day and the next thing you know you’re in a kitchen shop you never noticed before and it stretches the entire length of a city block! and so there are pie pans and pastry blenders and croxetti stamps to look at and then your husband is calling and asking where in the hell you are…and you drag yourself away and stop at Starbucks to get one small and one large coffee before arriving back home with your pastries, which you will photograph. With shadows. Because it’s so late in the day. That’s what happens.)
Anyway, let’s just take a moment to admire this almond pain au chocolate, or almond chocolate croissant, or as I like to roughly translate—almond chocolate bread. I bought it at Artisan Boulanger Patissier, an unassuming French pastry shop in the heart of South Philly, which Leya at Curious Bird kindly pointed me to. I had emailed her about the raspberry and cheese croissants she mentioned here. I’ve been there twice now, and the pastries are amazing.
When I was in France a few years ago, I basically subsisted for several weeks on delectable pastries, cappucino, and red wine. The pain au chocolate alone made me want to move there and never look back. Ever since, it has made me crazy to see (some) bakeries in the United States selling pain au chocolate with chocolate chips inside a croissant. Really? Why bother?
The pain au chocolate at Artisan Boulanger Patissier is a perfect french croissant with strips of high quality chocolate in its flaky interior, so that when you bite into it, the chocolate’s kind of melty and soft on the outside but firm and substantial as you bite through. There are no words.
The proprietors are a Cambodian husband and wife team. He is a French-trained pastry chef, and they used to sell their fabulous breads to Air France. That’s how legit they are.
If/when you’re in South Philly, do yourself a favor…