Los Angeles loves a mashup. We have welcomed the ramen burger, kimchi tacos and the Cronut. Now, there’s the California Croissant; the decadent, namesake French pastry stuffed with a smoked salmon sushi roll, wasabi and ginger.
This surprising little snack — sold at Highland Park’s Mr. Holmes Bakehouse — speaks loudly to California's embracing of eccentricity, as well as our thunderous celebration of multicultural mashups, diversity and innovation. Maybe it’s a bit of a leap to find signs of humanity inside a $5 pastry, but the croissushi — as it's been called — gives us a little hope that opposing forces can coexist together.
“[The California Croissant] speaks to the adventurous nature of California,” says Rene Montelongo, brand manager for Mr. Holmes Bakehouse, “the kind of food that only comes from here.”
California's eclectic mix of food cultures is in line with the experimental, out-of-the box thinking of Mr. Holmes Bakehouse. According to Montelongo, the bakery is built around examining tradition, dismantling preconceived concepts, figuring out what works and then building new products.
The California Croissant was created by kitchen staff in 2015, he says. It was rereleased in San Francisco at the end of last year, and it was unleashed on Los Angeles at the start of 2017. “It’s really cool, especially in Los Angeles, that we have this adventurous foodie scene,” Montelongo says.
Steeped in the snacks of our neighborhoods, Angelenos are spoiled by our unabashed appetites for strong flavors and on-the-go eats. Pupusas? We got 'em. Just pick one up from a street cart. Tacos? There's a truck on every corner. Now the croissushi makes sating a craving even easier, combining a trip to the bakery and a sushi spot into one.
While there has been much fanfare over the sweet and savory sushi-stuffed pastry, Montelongo says the California Croissant has actually proved to be quite polarizing.
“These are both items that have kind of been held hostage by tradition for so long,” he says. “[Many believe] sushi has to be this way, and croissants have to be this way, and the two shall never meet.”
But the buttery croissant bread was an irresistible match for the smoked salmon. Thus, the California Croissant was born. Hungry customers have even posted online videos of themselves eating the product, sometimes with chopsticks, Montelongo reveals.
This isn’t the first time Mr. Holmes Bakehouse has played God with culinary creations. Last year, the bakery released the cruffin — half croissant, half muffin — resulting in a flurry of media attention and long lines of fans. In fact, even today on the bakery’s website, there’s a constantly ticking clock counting down the hours, minutes and seconds to the next fresh cruffins.
The rest of the baked goods in Mr. Holmes' lineup are no conventional schlubs either, with options such as the matcha croissant, churro croissant or cookie-dough bear claw. Mr. Holmes Bakehouse has a location in Seoul as well, but it operates on a different menu schedule, he adds. Although Montelongo wouldn’t share what else he thinks should be stuffed in a croissant, he did mention that the bakery updates its menu four times a year, and that there have been recent experiments with another unconventional item: Vegemite.
Mr. Holmes Bakehouse, 101 N. Avenue 59, Highland Park.