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French bakery - Tampa area?

Your only option for decent French pastries in Tampa (area) is in Sarasota at C'est la Vie. The baker there is French and he knows his stuff. Now, not everything he makes is/are tres bon, his baguettes are not so hot but as you may know, the baguette is an art in itself. A better baguette in fact is available at Fresh Market. Try c'est la vie though, it's the closest thing you'll find in this area.
Also, don't tell me about Cafe de Paris. The baker there is a nice guy and I'm glad he got his immigration issue fixed but his stuff will leave you looking for something better.
Surprised but not surprised to hear that Pi closed. She had some French training but she was more interested in the mega bucks wedding cake business it seemed and her pastries or petit fours were very expensive and generally not worth it. Plus one time their CC machine didn't work..twice..so I had to run out to search for an ATM to get cash. Lame.

Apr 19, 2010
JPeterman in Florida

La Boulangerie?

I disagree. The owner of LB has a beautiful store and location, the only thing missing is an excellent baguette. And they're not difficult to make, they only take love and a concern about giving your customers quality and authenticity. I've found high quality baguettes in DC, NYC, and Montreal and I'm sure they exist in cities all over the country and having made them myself, I can tell you that it is very possible to bake them. The humidity here in Tampa is difficult to work with as I imagine it is in NO but it can be done. LB should go that extra mile to have their products match the quality of their attractive shop.

The French as a culture, reject mediocrity especially when it comes to food, they call themselves "la boulangerie" they should live up to it. I also tried the French bakery in the Quarter though I forget the name. It has the dingy courtyard with the little boy p'ing fountain statue. It's croissants were even worse though they did have decent coffee.

"How can a nation be great if its bread tastes like Kleenex?"
Julia Child

Jan 31, 2009
JPeterman in New Orleans

French Bakery in Tampa area?

I too gave up on the clowns in this town being able to produce a proper baguette. I finally decided to make my own. I purchased high quality flour, yeast, the bread bakers bible, and lined my oven w/tile and fired up some very good baguettes. For the steam injection, I simply used a spray bottle. Of course it takes a bit of effort but the result (on my FIRST try) was FAR BETTER than anything for purchase in the Tampa area. C'est incroyable, if I can do it in a small kitchen with a junky oven, why can't these professional bakeries figure it out? It's not rocket science but it indeed is a science and an art.

Jan 29, 2009
JPeterman in Florida

La Boulangerie?

After reading the reviews of this place prior to my trip to NO, I was pretty excited as we don't have any authentic French bakeries in Tampa. I'm sad to report that New Orleans does not either. The bread was the quality that one can buy from a grocery store and before anyone calls me too crtical, I'll let you know I've eaten at the best bakeries in Paris and some good ones in New York and LB simply isn't good.

A proper French baguette is crispy and crusty on the outside due to a steam injection oven. The inside has air bubbles due to the usage of proper yeast, rich gluten flour and fermentation. It's a science and an art and there are no artists at La Boulangerie. The croissants weren't any better. Just doughy bread, A proper pan au chocolate should leave your lap full of flaky crumbs when you break a piece off. This chocolate croissant from LB was sad indeed. A pity, I had thought with NOLA's French heritage that there would be a true French bakery but alas, c'est pas exist. C'est la vie, go for a muffaletta at central Grocery instead.

Jan 29, 2009
JPeterman in New Orleans