After the very promising first visit mentioned below (yummy pain au chocolat, good mini croissant and cinnamon roll), I was back the very next day to try the bread. It appears that they make several varieties, but I was really going for the baguette, so I passed up the other loaves and got a baguette and one of their several varieties of skinny baguettes (not sure if there's an official name for these) -- they had sesame, cheese, possibly a few others, and the one I got, salt. As long as I was there, I also picked up a croissant, an apricot danish, and a cinnamon roll, and headed over to pick up a friend for taste-testing.
About the baguette, the short story is: thumbs up. The long story: I don't hold myself out as an expert -- my points of reference for this kind of bread are a few vacations and a summer in France as a teenager where I was charged with picking up the daily bread, and four months living in Spain. So I tend to classify things as like the French bread I had: tender and somewhat moist, but slightly chewy; or like the Spanish: crisp, drier crust with a fluffier crumb. This bread was like a hybrid. The crust was great -- crisp but very thin and slightly chewy. The crumb had good flavor, but had the somewhat fluffier texture that I remember Spanish breads having. I actually preferred the skinny baguette, as the balance between the crust and the crumb seemed a little better -- maybe the full-sized baguette is a bit thick? I'm not the baguette connoisseur that I'm sure others of you are -- I just know what I like. In any case, they both had that flavor I find very rarely here, and I'm happy to have a source so close to home.
The croissant was as good as any I've had in L.A. The danish was tasty, but I think the heavy custard is just too much for the dough. What I really wanted was another pain au chocolat, but when I got there at 10:30 on Saturday, they had already sold out of the mini ones, and the customer in front of me was buying the very last big one (the woman behind the counter said they had made 24 -- they need to make more!). Which reminds me to mention that the staff is very friendly and happy to chat about the products.
I haven't managed to get the prices for each item, but the two breads, one croissant, one small cinnamon roll, and the apricot danish cost about $7.
La Maison du Pain, 5373 W. Pico Blvd., L.A., (323) 934-5858
I think their hours are 8-6 M-Sat., and they may be open for bread only on Sunday mornings.