It all started in junior high. Westborough Junior High in South San Francisco, to be exact (circa 1988). We had to decide between Spanish and French foreign language classes. I went en Francais because big brother chose that path. Found out exactly what his reasoning was years later, but I digress.
Ms. Orofino was the lone French teacher. We used to practice our numbers by tossing a Nerf ball around and counting up. I only have good memories of her class. My favorites happened to be on Fridays. I don't think it was every Friday, so we'll just say every other. Ms. O lived near a bakery, and she would take boulangerie orders mid-week. We had our choice of either plain croissant, pain au chocolat or baguette. A couple of days later, we would end our school week lounging at our desk with fresh baked goods. I thought the chocolate ones were too bitter, and you needed butter to make the loaf really tasty. Hence my addiction to the croissant.
Over the years I've had my fair share of flaky goodness. These are my discoveries.
Costco: Neither here nor there. Best bang for your buck in the multi-pak. Even better when you can pop in the (non-microwave) oven for a few minutes.
Starbucks: This was my cornerstone for what I thought a croissant tasted like. Sure, it's mass produced like Costco. My POV was that I didn't have to worry about freshness - each was purchased individually.
Peet's: Only spotted almond flavored ones. WTF!? Maybe I went to a bad location?
The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf: My BFF picked out a jalapeno cheese version without consulting me. While I am very "weak sauce", having that subtle bite of heat and creamy bit of cheese was a revelation. Then they split and toasted it. I was sold.
Champagne French Bakery: Noticeably different. More expensive and dense than all the previous ones. I was pleasantly surprised at how it tasted. While its buttery layers are a signature attribute, the less airy texture resulted in a more substantial product overall.
What about you?