Dear Mr. Gold:
Where do you think they make the best almond croissants?
—@LocalLowdownLA, via Twitter
You would think an almond croissant would be a no-brainer, but last week I had a damp, wadded specimen that tasted like carrion soaked in rose water. If you could sue for Viennoiserie malpractice, that bakery would be out of business tomorrow. My favorite almond croissants are at Claude’s, on West Fourth Street in Greenwich Village: warm, light, barely scented with apricot and apt to explode into a thousand snowflakes, like a dandelion puff fashioned from flour and butter. But we are in Los Angeles, not New York or Paris, and greatness in croissants is harder to find.
La Brea Bakery does a nice job with the double-baked almond croissant, which is to say, a croissant split in half, stuffed with almond paste, and returned to the oven to crisp. Little Flower, in Pasadena, does this, too. The oversize examples at Amandine Patisserie are the best, although the moist-dough school of croissants may not be my thing. Anisette’s chocolate croissants are a miracle, just singing with good butter, but I’ve never had the almond ones, definitive as they probably are. So I’m going to have to go with Susina Bakery. A Susina almond croissant may be a bit too big and a bit too sweet, but the almond flavor is clean and pure; crisp crumbs rocket almost a yard when you bite into it; it could function as a delivery system for butter should the need arise.
SUSINA BAKERY: 7122 Beverly Blvd., L.A. (323) 934-7900.