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Is there a truly great baguette to be had in L.A?


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Is there a truly great baguette to be had in L.A?

Bob Brooks | | Jul 17, 2006 02:12 AM

When I was a young boy, living in Barcelona, I used to buy bread for the family every day at the local panaderia. It was a medium blonde crust with a relatively light and airy interior that had a nice bite without being the least bit chewey. It was perfect.

I've eaten great baguettes like this in Paris, but I've yet to find one that's even close in L.A.

I remember watching the French film, "Diva," which had a wonderful scene in which the protagonist talks about using a loaf and describes how it must be "fresh, but not too fresh." He then slices it along its length, slathers it with butter and a very generous amount of purloined caviar. It was a perfect shade of gold and had lots of air pockets. I swooned! I've been looking for it here, ever since. Alas, to no avail.

So far, I've tried the following:

La Brea Bakery: Fughettaboutit. Way too dense and chewey;
Bread Bar: Not a fine crust and also too dense:
Lorraine's Baguette: Crust too thin, doughy interior;
Pavillions Artisenal Baguettes: several types, all awful;
La Maison du Pain: Not bad, and their ficelles were pretty good, but I read that their French baker lost his visa, haven't been there since;
Grace Bakery: I think this is a San Francisco bakery that ships to Ralphs, good flavor but pricey and still not the right texture because it is still slightly denser than what I seek;
Rustic Bread from Gelsons: This is actually pretty good but, again, just a bit too dense;
Le Pain Quotidienne: see Bread Bar;
BF Baguette: Also too dense and obscenely over priced!

So, what I'm looking for is a very crisp and somewhat dense golden crust with a light interior with lots of taste and yeasty holes. If anyone has found this somewhere that I have been yet to find, I'd be very grateful for the referral.