Donut Petit in Alameda, California

I learned about Donut Petit a few years ago when I spotted their float in Alameda’s 4th of July Parade in 2017 (see above). This weekend, I finally got the chance to visit the cute little bakery.

A little word about petit

Recalling the handy acronym BAGS (beauty, age, goodness, size) that I learned in my French classes, I know the word petit (meaning small or little) should go before the noun.

So while I’m tempted to call the charming little donut shop Le Petit Donut, I just tell myself, “Do not (be) petty!” (Donut Petit!)

Just a guess, but perhaps the name is supposed to sound like “bon appétit”…?

The pale blue paint, gold accents, and wicker bistro chairs give the shop an elegant, French-inspired appearance, as well as an inviting atmosphere. However, due to physical distancing protocols, there’s currently no dine-in, only take-out.

Behind the glass, I could tell they had creative flavors, such as lavender, lilikoi (passionfruit), and Mauisadas (Hawaiian sugar donuts filled with pineapple).

They looked appetizing, but I wasn’t in an adventurous mood. Instead, I ordered pastries that looked familiar: a brownie croissant, a chocolate twist, and a pair of French crullers – one glazed and the other with chocolate icing sprinkled with rainbow nonpareils. As a lagniappe, they gave me a blueberry cake donut.

I’d never seen a brownie inside a croissant before. It tasted OK, but it felt a bit strange to bite into a baked good inside another baked good. Sadly, the glazed French cruller was disappointing. I was expecting it to be light and airy, not greasy and dense.

Maybe next time, I’ll get out of my comfort zone and give their matcha or guava donuts a try! 🍩

Do you like donuts? I love maple bars. 🍁 Tell me your favorite flavor in the comments below!

I Tried to Make a French Lemon Tart

Comment dit-on “baking fail” en français?

(How do you say “baking fail” in French?)

As they say, it’s better to show than tell, non?

So allow me to show you my recent baking failure, or « échec de cuisson » !

Inspired by the lovely lemons in my little garden, I decided to make a dessert that was simple, but tasty. So when I discovered an easy recipe for French Lemon Tart, I was on it!

To save time, I used a store-bought frozen crust. (The recipe called for making your own dough from scratch.) I followed instructions on the package for thawing (15 minutes) and baking (7-9 minutes at 400°F.)

Ugh. It’s cracked. And it seems to be shrugging at me

melting butter and crème fraîche on a double boiler

Feeling good here. This looks about right to me

egg, sugar, lemon juice mixture on a double boiler

The filling had somehow seeped underneath the cracked crust causing a little bit to boil over! In addition, a piece of the crust had fallen off. Together, the spilled buttery filling and crust fragment burned on the floor of the oven creating a lot of smoke!

When I took it out of the oven, I discovered that the bottom crust had floated to the top! It left an unsightly crack in the middle of the tart.

Nothing a couple of strategically placed lemon slices couldn’t fix, I thought. But that idea only made the tart look scared. 😱

I was hopeless. But I must say, if nothing else, the dessert did have a good, fresh lemon flavor!

Lessons learned

Next time, I will make my own crust. No, that’s a lie. I will try another kind of premade crust. I will also use less butter, like 50% less. I will put the pie pan on a cookie sheet. Just in case.

Better yet, I’ll just make lemonade next time! 🍋

If you enjoyed this post, you may be interested in I Made an Apple Cranberry Flaugnarde with Crème Fraîche and Quiche Vosgienne (both of which turned out all right!)

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

I want to share a few of my favorite things that I discovered this year (2019). These things are not the most expensive, most popular, most beautiful. These things are simple. But they bring joy to all my senses and that’s what matters! Check ’em out – they might just make you happy, too!

For fun, I wrote this list set to the melody of the Rodgers & Hammerstein song, “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music.

Come sing along with me:

🎶 Gratitude bracelet and pecan tea cookies

Tiramisù kit and ‘Big Island’ shortbread

Two ‘Frozen 2’ songs that I love to sing

These are a few of my favorite things…

 

Lavender chamomile probiotic tea

‘Typo’ metal pens with monogram ‘D’

Organic deodorant that will not sting

These are a few of my favorite things…

 

Croissants from ‘Tartine’ and ‘Topdrawer’ postcards

“Dreaming Time Again” and “Reasons I Drink” –

Feelings of nostalgia these new songs bring

These are a few of my favorite things… 🎶

Gratitude bracelet from Energy Muse:

from Energy Muse

Image: Energy Muse

Pecan Tea Cookies from Specialty’s:

Tiramisù kit by Forno Bonomi:

From World Market

Image: World Market

Assorted Shortbread from Big Island Candies:

From Big Island Candies

Image: Big Island Candies

Initial Ballpoint Pen by Typo/Cotton On:

From Cotton On

Image: Typo/Cotton On

Organic deodorant by EO:

From EO Products

Image: EO Products

Croissants from Tartine Bakery:

 

Postcards from Topdrawer:

Music:

What are a few of your favorite things? Tell me in the comments below!

Note: this post is not sponsored and the links provided are for informational purposes only

I Made an Apple Cranberry Flaugnarde with Crème Fraîche

One summer, I went to a pick-your-own-fruit farm with my family. We had brought home a bag full of cherries so I decided to make a dessert out of them.

I made a Cherry Clafoutis, the simple yet elegant dessert that’s originally from the Limousin region (now part of Nouvelle Aquitaine) in central France. It was easy to make and I liked how it turned out.

Now that it’s fall, I wanted to make the dessert with Granny Smith apples and fresh cranberries.

But then I learned that technically it wouldn’t be a clafoutis (also spelled clafouti) simply because there wouldn’t be cherries in it.

What’s a flaugnarde?

When using fruit other than cherries, this flan-cake is called a flaugnarde (sounds like “flon-yard”)!

This is how I made an Apple Cranberry Flaugnarde with Crème Fraîche!

You will need:

  • 9-inch glass pie pan
  • 2 mixing bowls
  • 1 teaspoon of butter
  • 1/2 of an apple, sliced
  • 1 cup of fresh cranberries, whole or sliced in half
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup of flour
  • 2/3 cup of crème fraîche
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • powdered sugar to sprinkle on top (optional)

Preparation:

  • Heat the oven to 350°F
  • Butter the pie pan and sprinkle granulated sugar on the butter
  • Add the sliced fruit to pan, then set it aside
  • In one bowl, mix the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, salt)
  • In another bowl, mix the wet ingredients (eggs, crème fraîche, milk, vanilla extract)
  • Whisk the dry ingredients, while slowly adding in the wet ingredients. Mix well. The consistency should be like pancake batter
  • Pour the mixture over the fruit in the pie pan
  • Bake it for 40-45 minutes

As it bakes, it poofs up! But it will slowly deflate as it cools.

it looks like pizza

Before serving, sprinkle some powdered sugar on top:

Like quiche, this dessert can be served warm or cold. It’ll add a simple yet elegant French touch to any holiday feast! Bon appétit!

Tell me in the comments below: what’s your favorite dessert to make?

Two French Bakeries and the Blue House in San Francisco

In my blog post, If You’re Going to San Francisco, Be Sure to Watch These Videos Filmed There,” I described how a blue house in San Francisco inspired Maxime Le Forestier to write a French song entitled, “San Francisco.”

I recently got the chance to see the house on 18th Street made famous by the song:

I happened to walk past la maison bleue en route from one French bakery to another French bakery! Quelle coïncidence!

Tartine (600 Guerrero Street)

Ever since my colleague told me about Tartine, a French bakery in the Castro District that he and his wife liked to frequent for brunch, I’d been wanting to go. Thankfully, I relied on my Maps app to find it.

There’s no sign on the building with “Tartine” on it, but you’ll know you’re at the right place when you spot the line out the door. Was the patisserie trying to be unassuming or anonymous? Either way, I figured it added to the mystique.

Once inside, it’s a tight squeeze. I did notice that people were pretty good about eating then promptly leaving so other patrons could have a seat. There were a few tables and chairs outside, too.

While you wait, you can read their laminated menus while you hum along to pop music they play inside at a deafening volume. (Maybe that helps clear the tables…Brilliant!)

Don’t expect service with a smile, though. I got the impression that the people behind the counter and pastry case take themselves too seriously. Fortunately, I have the superpower to tune out the ‘tude and focus on what I came here for:

The pain au chocolat was divine. A billion buttery and flaky layers with gooey dark chocolate inside. My cafe au lait was served in a bowl, like they do in Paris!

Le Marais Bakery (498 Sanchez Street)

I had read positive reviews for another French bakery called Le Marais Bakery. It was three blocks away from Tartine, so I decided to check it out while I was in the neighborhood.

This chocolate chip cookie was delicious:

On that note, have a sweet day! 🍪

Oui Oui! Macaron

la vie en rose (et verte): rose macaron sprinkled with matcha green tea

The nursery rhyme, “This Little Piggy” came to mind when I saw this macaron shop! Housed in a powder blue shipping container in the Emeryville Public Market, Oui Oui! Macaron is a good place to pick up a small dessert after having lunch or dinner from one of the food stalls.

“This little piggy went to Public Market…

This little piggy took some Oui Oui! Macaron all the way home!”

I took home a box of six:

Top row: strawberry balsamic, coffee

Bottom row: churro, lavender vanilla, vanilla, matcha rose

I was excited to try the churro macaron, which tasted and smelled like the cinnamon sugar fried donut, but I found it to be a bit chewy!

Once again, the vanilla macaron was a winner for me! The shells were crispy, but not too chewy. The filling was light like a whipped cream, but tasted like rich buttercream!

Overall, I say, yes to Oui Oui! Macaron!

If you enjoyed this post, you may be interested in my other posts about macarons:

Tous les Jours: French-Korean bakery in Dublin, California

This photo was taken at the Dublin, California location of Tous les Jours, a French-Korean bakery:

baguette and a chocolate flaky pastry

Have you been to a Tous les Jours bakery near you?

According to their website, “Currently, there are more than 50 stores in the United States and more than 1,500 stores all around the world.” Tous les Jours bakeries have been in the U.S. since 2004, and for the first time ever, I recently visited one! I went to their Dublin, California location (about 35 miles/ 56 km east of San Francisco).

When I walked in, it was instantly familiar. I had been to similar bakeries before where you take a tray, place a piece of wax paper on it, and take a pair of tongs. Then you walk around the pastry cases, take the baked goods that you want and place them on the tray. At times, however, the offerings looked better than they tasted.

But at Tous les Jours, I was pleased with all of my selections! I picked up a baguette, a chocolate flaky pastry, and six macarons.

The baguette was soft and delicious. I didn’t need to put butter or jam on it.

The chocolate flaky pastry (feuilleté au chocolat) was so good, I practically inhaled it!

There were around 14 flavors of macarons. In general, my favorite macaron flavor is vanilla, so I got one of those, along with coffee, blueberry lavender, rose, lemon, and Earl Grey tea flavors.

coffee, vanilla, blueberry lavender, rose, lemon, Earl Grey tea

I could tell the macarons were fresh. When I bit into the vanilla one, there was a delicate crunch. The filling was light and flavorful. It was just the right size to satisfy my sweet tooth.

Overall, I enjoyed my first taste of Tous les Jours bakery!

If you enjoyed this post, you may be interested in my previous posts:

La Farine: French bakery in Oakland

La Châtaigne: French bakery in Lafayette

Macaron in My Carry-On

Where My Beignets At?

Closely associated with New Orleans, a beignet (“ben-YAY”) is a donut made with choux, a French pastry dough also used to make éclairs and cream puffs. Luckily, I don’t have to travel that far to enjoy these fried and pillowy sweet treats! Café Jolie in Alameda and Powderface in Oakland both make delicious beignets!

from Cafe Jolie

I’ll update this post as I discover places that make beignets in the Bay Area and beyond!

Where do you get your beignets? Tell me in the comments!

Review: Oui Petites French-style Yogurt

#notsponsored

As a chocoholic and a Francophile, I was naturally charmed by Yoplait USA’s new Oui Petites French-style yogurt in Chocolate with Shavings flavor.

First, the good stuff:

  • Snack sized (3.5 ounces / 99 grams)
  • Glass jars
  • Four flavors available (so far)
  • The foil wrapper has an inspirational quote on it
  • Gluten free
  • Each jar has 140 calories
  • Non GMO

Now, here are a few things I didn’t like:

I read that Yoplait USA is trying to get more people to eat yogurt outside of breakfast hours. I say, if the yogurt is good, don’t worry, people will eat it at breakfast, lunch, dinner, and any time in between. I eat yogurt any time of day!

Because of its fancy packaging, I was expecting a fancy dessert. Instead it’s just plain yogurt with chocolate syrup at the bottom and these things called shavings. Wood? Iron? Hair? Oh, chocolate shavings! Why didn’t you just say chocolate shavings?

Why is it “Chocolate with Shavings?” It sounds like each jar contains yogurt, chocolate, and a third ingredient called shavings.

The chocolate bits remind me of the stuff you find in Stracciatella gelato. For a yogurt “inspired by our traditional French recipe” it had me dreaming about an Italian vacation instead.

Conclusion:

I say Non to Oui Petites in Chocolate with Shavings flavor. In my opinion, it doesn’t have a rich enough chocolate flavor. I’ll stick to eating the regular Oui yogurt.

For more information:

  • Oui by Yoplait (link)
  • Press release (link)