Monday, August 15, 2005

Fruit Tart from Le Croissant Dore - Westminster

When it comes to desserts, I prefer subtlety to the overly sweet. Recent expeditions to a much heralded place for "Extraordinary Desserts" in San Diego yielded nothing but a chocolate and sugar-induced headache. Their heavy-handed use of sucrose in all of the desserts made everything one-dimensional and just plain sickening.

One piece we bought with what I thought was meringue on top of a fruit tart turned out to be a solid glob of compacted sugar! I kid you not! I could've broken a chunk of it off, dissolve it in coffee, and it'd have the same effect as a sugar cube. The four of us couldn't finish more than half of this small serving.

Sadly, this cavity-inviting calorie fest seems to be the norm at most American bakeries. Which is why I seldom buy any cakes or pastries from my local Ralphs or Albertsons. I am thinking that if they only just held back on the C&H a little bit, the desserts might actually be edible. But alas, this will never happen as I discovered when I bought an Angel Food Cake from Ralphs on a lark last week, and against my better judgment. The cake was so sweet, it tasted like cotton candy! C'mon! Desserts are meant to cleanse and tickle the palate after a meal, not beat it into submission!

This is the reason why I usually purchase my dessert pastries from Asian bakeries like J.J. Bakery or Assal Pastry in Irvine. The cakes I buy there are delectable, subtle, and sublime. And after finishing one, I don't have to chug a jug of water to revive my sugar-shocked tastebuds.

As far as fruit tarts go, my favorite is the one made by a small bakery in the heart of Little Saigon called Le Croissant Dore. I like their tarts for two reasons; they aren't overpoweringly sweet and they are ridiculously cheap! The tart you see above, which is I think about 15 inches in diameter, set me back only $18 (tax already included)! Just try to get one at that price at Champagne French Bakery! I dare ya!

The cheap price tag for that flaky crust, perfect custard, and luscious fruit has a catch though. If you are foolhardy enough to come in the hours before or during lunch, you'll have to brave the traffic and parking on Bolsa, which, I can tell you, can be hazardous to your health; physical and mental.

And, once you're inside the store, if you are not used to the Vietnamese way of queueing (hint: there is none), you will leave angry, incensed, and sometimes empty-handed. You will notice that in the clutterf#$% of people, they will pay no attention to you, even if you are at the front of the so-called line. While you stand there with a finger raised up, meekly muttering "but...but, I'm next," dozens of native speakers will have come and gone with possibly the last fruit tart in their hands. Here's my advice: Don't be a pussy! Speak up! Assert yourself! Only then will they respect you and sell you your damned tart!

Le Croissant Dore
(714) 895-3070
9122 Bolsa Ave
Westminster, CA 92683


At 8:46 PM, Blogger Christine D. said...

That is a BEAUTIFUL looking fruit tart!! God i love that stuff...Haven't had it in a while and now I'm craving it.

At 10:59 PM, Blogger Professor Salt said...

Hi elmo! I feel the same way about oversweet desserts. Have you tried Sing Sing Bakery on Bolsa Ave? It's directly across the street from TK Market mall (the Viet Costco). Their fruit tarts are my favorite.

At 7:11 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...


And it tastes as good as it looks! Although the fresher it is the better since the crust gets soggier from the custard the longer you wait.


I didn't know about Sing Sing. I'm gonna need to check this one out! Thanks!

At 10:34 PM, Blogger Daily Gluttony said...

Ha Ha, I know what you mean about the Vietnamese (and other Asian) ways of "queueing"...I learned my lesson the hard way once at a bahn mi shop.

Amen on the subtley sweet desserts--so much better than the stuff that makes your cavities hurt. I make it a point to buy my treats, even the more Western versions like cakes and tarts, at Asian and Latin bakeries!

At 8:10 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...


Right there with you! It was also a banh mi shop that made me realize it's survival of the fittest.

But no matter how chaotic the lines are, I'm standing in them. Nothing good ever comes easy!

At 11:08 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...


Haven't tried that bakery. What items do they do best?

At 11:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Van's bakery is good too...


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