Resolutely stepping away from the flavorless grocery store baguette that was once the grande dame of L.A. (La Brea Bakery, we mean you) is harder than it should be in a city with countless quality farmers markets, yet surprisingly few really good artisan bread bakers. This logic does not apply if you frequent one of the markets where La Boulangerie sets up shop a few days a week. Owner Thierry Warnier serves wood-oven charred baguettes, olive and raisin-walnut studded loaves, and country loaves with a crust-to-core ratio that's as impressive as his thick country French accent. And then there are the tempting almond-studded croissants and buttery sweet rolls that you really shouldn't be buying because you only came to get bread for dinner. Not to worry — Warnier will be happy to tear off a chunk of many of the loaves to sell. Proof that you really can still have your daily bread, even when your rent check is due.

—Jenn Garbee

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