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!

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! 🍪

La Farine: French bakery in Oakland

This photo was taken at the Rockridge location of La Farine, a French boulangerie and pâtisserie in Oakland, California:

I’m tickled that “chocolatine” is catching on outside of Toulouse, France, where I learned that’s what they call a chocolate croissant (also known as pain au chocolat)!

chocolate éclair, shortbread, and a chocolate espresso cookie from La Farine

I wanted coffee to go with my chocolate espresso cookie, but learned that they stop making coffee at 4:30. So I went next door and got a cappuccino from Peet’s instead.

Overall, it was a nice Sunday afternoon break!

My related post:

Farmers’ Market (link)

For more information:

La Farine (link)

La Châtaigne: French bakery in Lafayette, California

La Châtaigne is a French bakery located in Lafayette, California (about 22 miles/34 km east of San Francisco).

Located in La Fiesta Square, the patisserie overlooks the parking lot, so there isn’t much of a view, but it’s perfect so you can enjoy your pastries and conversations.

My family and I got to La Châtaigne around 12:30 on a Sunday. Maybe we should have arrived earlier because their display case was half-empty (or half-full for those of you who are optimists!)

The cashier was quick to acknowledge the slim pickings, but apologized, and pointed out what was left: madeleines, a couple of leaf-shaped breads (fougasse), about a dozen croissants, several slices of Opera cake, and one slice of quiche.

no brewed coffee, only espresso drinks here!

the bakery also sold jam, caramels, and candies from France

In a few ways, it was like being temporarily transported to a Parisian bistro. For example, there were small tables with wicker chairs. There were dogs tied to table legs by their leashes. There were a couple of well-dressed ladies clutching their designer handbags. You could hear the Madeleine Peyroux version of “J’ai deux amours” emanating softly from inside the bakery.

I’d be reminded I was in California, though, when I’d see the occasional cyclist or 20-something in yoga pants come through. Also notably absent were ashtrays on the tables and cigarette smoke. Unlike Paris, smoking is banned in many public places in California.

Overall, I liked this little bakery. I like how it has the grab and go feel of a donut shop, but with the sit-down experience of having your food brought to your table on actual plates and cups. The pain au chocolat was fresh baked, buttery, and flaky. The Americano was delicious, as well. I’d like to come back to try their other pastries.

For more information, visit the La Châtaigne website

Bonne journée / Enjoy your day!

Have you been to La Châtaigne? Tell me in the comments below!