Friday, February 6, 2015

Bakery Review: la PanotiQ

La PanotiQ - visited on January 30, 2015
There’s a new bakery in town and you know I had to check it out. Or maybe I should call it a patisserie as it’s meant to be more high end. Not quite as high end as Alexander’s but definitely more fancy than Icing on the Cake. It’s called la Panotiq and appears to be part of a small chain. It’s definitely a welcome addition to the culinary lineup on Castro St in Mountain View. While Castro is known for its abundance of various cuisines, it’s been sadly lacking in the desserts arena. Two bakeries is still a bit lopsided compared to the number of restaurants but two is better than one is better than none.

I went to la Panotiq when I was killing time before meeting with my monthly dinner club for our second foray at Doppio Zero. When I walked in, I was greeted with a full display case of various dessert offerings. That already put them a cut above my first visit to Alexander’s Patisserie with its empty shelves.

There was a wide variety of desserts. I mean wide. From fruit tarts and caneles to macarons, cakes and cookies to tiramisu to cream puffs, cobblers, tarts and pies. So of course I had to take pictures of it all. Prices were slightly less than Alexander’s, not quite as homey as Icing on the Cake but somewhere in the middle.

The counter folks were very friendly and helpful, I must say. When I asked one person for a recommendation, she suggested the tiramisu. I’m not fond of creamy desserts so I filed that away for later and kept on perusing. She went to help someone else and another counter person later asked if I needed help. By that time I had narrowed my selections a bit and asked him for his recommendations. He also went with the tiramisu. Huh. That must be some good tiramisu, right? Especially considering the second person hadn’t heard what the first person had said. Either that or they’d been instructed to push the tiramisu. But I’m more trusting and think better of people than that so I let myself be persuaded to try the tiramisu. My friend Sun also recommended what looked like a chocolate covered hazelnut pastry ball called a chocolate tresor so that went into my box as well.

Since we were going to dinner and I would likely end up full from that, I restricted myself to just those 2 choices in the interests of being a grown up instead of a kid with a sweet tooth and no impulse control. It turned out to be a good decision as I didn’t have room after dinner to try dessert so I waited until the next day to sample my purchases.
My takeout box

The chocolate tresor turned out to be like a little cream puff filled with mousse and dipped in chocolate. Kind of like a Beard Papa cream puff but Beard Papa’s is a bit better. It could be because I ate it the following day but the pastry had become soggy due to the mousse filling. It wasn’t bad but mousse/custard desserts aren’t my favorite. I think I was expecting a filling more like fudge or a truffle than a mousse. My bad for not reading the description more closely.

The tiramisu was a better choice. I’d made tiramisu from scratch once when I was in culinary school. And by scratch, I mean we even made the ladyfingers from scratch as I still remember piping out the soft batter for the ladyfingers. I don’t eat tiramisu very often because of my preference for non-custard desserts. I can’t say this was so amazing that I’ve developed a love for custard-creamy desserts but it was pretty good. If you like tiramisu at all, the one from la Panotiq is a good choice. The espresso and mascarpone combination was just right, not too heavy handed with the espresso soaking the ladyfingers but still enough to moisten the layer and have the espresso flavor shine through. It was complemented perfectly by the mascarpone layers as well. The counter people didn’t steer me wrong.

Given the wide array of desserts on offer at la Panotiq, this won’t be my last visit. Clearly, I have many more things to try and evaluate.

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