My journey for this greatest lemon bar across L.A. continues
I tried three in the last few weeks
and FINALLY got to visit Europane
Olives Gourmet Grocer in Long Beach: This small new gourmet grocer in Long Beach has had some real hit and miss items when it comes to their prepared foods. But when I saw they had lemon bars, I had to give it a shot. I had somewhat success with the outsourced bar from Bristol Farms last time. Perhaps Olive's outsourced bar was from a small bakery that takes care with the product Well BLEH they don't. The curd was much too sweet, no REAL lemon flavor and a truly doughy crust half eaten straight into the trash
I had a little more luck on my next stop, Broadway Deli in Santa Monica. Their lemon bar is baked on site in-between two layers of crust. It looks amazing. And the crusts are really good, but again, the curd fell short, not too sweet, but not enough lemon punch Whatta shame
Finally, the winner for this post, the Lemon Tart from the Vie de France branch in the South Coast Plaza Lemme tell you though, it almost ended up being the most HATED lemon bar, as on my way to the car as I noticed the curd/custard start to seep out of the styrofoam container in my new spring purse! EP!!! Luckily, no damage was done, and as I wiped away the spillage, I took a lick from my fingers and ZING!!! Now, this is technically a lemon tart. The curd is more like a custard (Hence the leaking) and is very creamy. As my little taste uncovered, the custard has such a deep lemon flavor. Tart and VERY lemony Further, it had the BEST tart shell I've ever had. FIRM with a distinct BITE. It was sweet (Like a SUPER firm sugar cookie), but it created the perfect balance between the tart custard. I would say, in terms of what I was looking for, my journey had ended BUT then, I also had the opportunity, FINALLY to get to Europane at a time where they were sure to be open.
On Sunday afternoon I rushed into Europane to find a very busy small bakery café. I sadly could not get there any earlier and was sad to discover most of the display cases empty, not a lemon bar in sight. An HOUR before their 'closing' time, 2pm it was very busy (Hopefully this means they may consider extending their hours and baking more lemon bars!!). However, since I made the trek, I decided to order something anyway to get a feel for their offerings. Not being a big dessert person, my gaze gravitated to a big deep pan of Quiche and because I felt I had to try something sweet, a mini chocolate soufflé.
I had the quiche that morning and it was one of the best I've had. It had meaty mushrooms, caramelized onions and goat cheese. Each element was evident in the taste, but did not overpower. Neither was the quiche too eggy! Further, the crust was awesome. A flakey buttery crust that was thick enough to actually taste, but again, did not over power the wonderful flavors of the quiche. I had the soufflé the following morning. Whatta way to start a Monday rich dark chocolate in a delicate, but not too moussey or thick soufflé. Really great, not too sweet and went perfect with my green tea.
If both these items are typical in the type of food and baked goods they regularly churn out, then YUP! Europane defiantly deserves it's praise and I will be back, hopefully soon (And hopefully earlier to try that durn lemon bar!!)