Saturday, September 26, 2009
French Pastries from Paul Bakery
Paul Bakery is a chain, maybe the French version of Panera, which has expanded to England, Belgium, and Morocco, as well as China, Turkey, and Dubai. Apparently Florida was the only US state they saw as a worthy market. They have a number of shops in Tokyo, including one on the first floor of my office building, and if I don't pack my lunch to bring then chances are that I'll get either their Camembert or their tuna sandwich.
I know, chains are evil. But the thing about Paul is, it actually tastes as good as the small, independent bakeries in my neighborhood. The bread doesn't taste like it was all mixed up in a centralized production warehouse and has been in shipment, frozen, for a week. Maybe that's how it's actually produced, I don't know. Maybe it's just the seductive European cache of its being a French chain. But the fact is, the baguettes are crisp and chewy, the pastries are crumbly and not-too-sweet, and I only start to feel ashamed of going there if it happens more than twice a week.