Sunday, February 26, 2006

French Gourmet Bakery

She: Yesterday we decided to check out the French Gourmet Bakery (2250 Westheimer, Houston) to see if it can hold a candle to Croissant Brioche in the Rice Village. Alas, we were disappointed yet again. Croissant Brioche continues to set the gold standard for almond and chocolate croissants.

We tried FGB's versions of the two croissants, plus an apple-and-raisin strudel. All were acceptable, but just not as good as CB's pastries. Everything was a little bit dry and the flavor was somewhat lackluster, especially in the croissants.

Of course, FGB, like the Upper Crust Bakery in Austin, adds up to half the price of pastries from CB. I'm sure there are folks who might think that the savings available from FGB are worth the decrease in quality. But, for those searching for the very best, CB still takes the cake.

He: The name of the establishment is a piece of misinformation. As we were walking in we saw a sign on the counter promising the best almond croissant this side of Paris. I beg to differ. The almond croissant was the least appealing of the pastries we tried. The filling is one big, slightly mealy glob, and the croissant itself lacks the flaky texture of French or decent near-French croissants. The same lack of texture afflicts the chocolate croissants. Croissant Brioche in the Rice Village still offers the best croissants I have found in Texas. We also tried the apple strudel, which was all right, but wholly unremarkable.

The three pastries and a cup of coffee cost $7, making this the cheapest bakery we have tried recently. Upper Curst Bakery in Austin is next in terms of price, and Croissant Brioche is the most expensive, costing about $15 for four croissants and some coffee. I think the extra dollars are well spent.

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