Friday, May 09, 2008

Fast-food croissants

Sometimes the best bites come from the most unexpected sources. This week I have developed a new love for what might be the best croissant I have had in the city. And yes, that flaky, tender croissant comes from... Pret a Manger. Apologies to Patisserie Claude and Marquet and all my usual French pastry places.

I have a soft spot for Pret, mostly because I love the little packaged triangle sandwiches sold at every Boots and Marks & Spencer in England; so much better than the overstuffed, too-big-to-eat style of sandwich that Americans prefer. I love the thin bread, weirdly un-American fillings (curried chicken salad, prawn salad, egg and cress, salmon and cucumber) and the diagonal cut fit for a kid.

I've always been a sucker for a coronation chicken salad, which is always the first one I grab off the shelf at any Pret in the world. This is a total digression to the topic, but when I was about ten years old I went over to my best friend Sasha's house, and her mother had a bowl of curried chicken salad in the fridge. It had grapes and nuts in it, which I thought was completely weird, but I loved the dish and it became a marker of sophistication for me. Sasha's mom is a wonderful cook, and I always held her Gourmet-inspired cooking in high regard, and I saw that chicken salad as the epitome of high-class eating. Not that my mom was making crap, mind you, but she sure didn't put grapes and curry powder in the chicken salad; she was more of a diced celery kind of lady. When I started putting lime and dill in my tuna salad, a trick taught to me by a high-school friend, my mom thought that was pretty radical.

Anyways, it should be said that the sandwiches at Pret a Manger in its homeland of England are far superior to the ones available here—years ago there was a great New Yorker article about Pret's American expansion, and they detailed the marketing meetings where executives discussed the strange American penchant for huge, multi-filling sandwiches that fall apart after a few bites. Apparently Americans are scared of mayo, which was probably scary to a culture that calls egg salad "egg mayonnaise." (People are weirdly fearful of mayonnaise I find; it's one of the most-cited items on many people's do-not-eat lists.)

At the Pret a Manger that's downstairs from the office building where I am working this week, they have a small case for breakfast pastries (in the morning it's muffins and scones, in the afternoon they put in cookies and sweets), and every day I manage to grab a pastry that's still warm. I also love that they give you free jam and butter (organic butter even, in those cute individually-wrapped pats). And their coffee isn't so bad either.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I found this site using [url=http://google.com]google.com[/url] And i want to thank you for your work. You have done really very good site. Great work, great site! Thank you!

Sorry for offtopic

Anonymous said...

Who knows where to download XRumer 5.0 Palladium?
Help, please. All recommend this program to effectively advertise on the Internet, this is the best program!

Anonymous said...

Discount calcium carbonate Free pills trimox 10mg norvasc ED voltaren Pharmacy primaquine Buy ovral

Anonymous said...

[url=http://flemingartists.com/]Buy canadian drugs[/url]

Anonymous said...

Nice post.Thank you for taking the time to publish this information. It is very useful!I’m still waiting for some interesting thoughts from your side in your next post. Thanks.

Carpet Cleaning Sydney, Carpet Cleaner Sydney

roofing contractor nj said...

I love fastfood like burger, pizza, sandwiches and rolls and i love burger king and KFC and i love to have zinger burger.