My friend Queen of Cheap Eats was the one who first told me about this new bakery in Los Altos called Voyageur du Temps. Which is ironic because “cheap” is not how I would describe this place. But I’m getting ahead of myself. I reached out to my friend K since that was in her neck of the woods to see if she had heard of it. She had. K had been to Voyageur before and she thought they were expensive but also put out some of the best pastries she’d ever eaten. Since Queen of Cheap Eats said the same thing and I trust both of their taste buds, of course, I had to try it for myself.
K and I regularly go hiking so it was easy enough to talk her into walking from her house to Voyageur last Saturday because her house was a mere 3 ¼ miles from the bakery. Round trip was 6.5 miles which we really would have to do because her husband was going to be out and couldn’t be our stand-by “can you pick us up?” if we wimped out on the walk home after the bakery visit.
When you pull up (or walk up) to Voyageur, it may not look like a bakery at first glance. But on closer inspection, you can see a glassed-in section where the bakers work, complete with baker’s racks and even a sheeter to fold their dough.
When you get to the counter to place your order, you’re limited by what’s left in the display cases or behind the counter. For the most part, there’s a good selection. Or at least there was when we did our first pass. I was trying to balance between trying a couple of pastries that are supposed to be “the best ever” according from my two trusty sources, having a savory meal, and understanding that even a 6.5-mile walk likely isn’t going to burn off enough calories to cover more than an item or two.
I bought the pain au chocolat, a slice of apple galette for later at home and ordered a Croque Monsieur as my brunch to eat there. K bought a Croissant Au Chocolate et Amandes for $5 (chocolate almond croissant) which was the weekend special, a quiche for brunch and a few other items to take back with her. She had warned me ahead of time that the portions weren’t big and that she could’ve had two orders before she got full. Even so, I managed to be surprised when they brought out my Croque Monsieur. For $13, I thought that was a bit pricey for a full sandwich since it’s literally bread, ham, and cheese covered in a Mornay sauce. Voyageur surprised me by bringing out half a sandwich. Um. Okay. For $13, really?? Half a sandwich?
Fortunately, while I had been waiting for the (dinky) Croque Monsieur, I ate the pain au chocolat because I had just walked 3.25 miles on an empty stomach and was hungry. The pain au chocolat was amazing. The pastry was flaky and buttery and the chocolate – oh the chocolate. You could tell they used the good chocolate. Probably the best pain au chocolat I’ve eaten outside of Paris. Seriously. I couldn’t even blink at the $5 that it had cost me. Did I mention it was delicious?
|Chocolate Almond Croissant|
|Quiche of the Day (mushrooms and peppers)|
The Croque Monsieur was good but to be honest, I didn’t think it was so fabulous that it was worth $13 for a full sandwich, much less a half sandwich. You’re better off spending your money on the pastries and getting “real food” elsewhere. My opinion.
After we had our light brunch, K and I took another pass at the bakery counter for what we wanted to bring home. I had been hoping for the chocolate almond croissant that she had gotten because the bite I’d had from hers was delicious. Alas, they were out. They were also out of the cheese baguette that K wanted and there wouldn’t be more for another half hour, per the sandwich board sign outside and the apologetic lady behind the counter. Not to be daunted, I went with a full-size loaf that looked like challah but turned out to be brioche. It was $8 and while I could have gotten something similar for a third of the price at an Asian bakery like Sheng Kee, by then I’d become so used to Voyageur’s prices that $8 seemed like a steal for such a sizable loaf of bread. It’s all relative.
|Pain au Chocolat|
|Display of baked goods outside|
|Bakery display outside|
I have to admit, the croissant was also amazing. While I’m not sure I could tell the difference between one made with Plugra and one made with American butter (I also can’t picture eating more than 1 croissant in a short period of time), the one made with European butter was delicious. Flaky, tender but also super flaky and crisp in the outer layers. It’s hard to describe. But it’s probably safe to say that, although I rarely eat croissants (except in Paris), I’m likely to have them even less often now unless they’re from Voyageur. I like croissants but don’t usually love them enough to take on the calories that come with them. The Voyageur croissant is worth every single buttery, flaky, waistband-expanding calorie. It’s both good and bad that it isn’t very big but what there is of it is also worth every penny of the exorbitant $4.50.
As for the loaf of brioche, I tried a slice of that too then put the rest in the freezer. That, too, was excellent bread but I can’t say it was 3X excellent like it was 3X the price from elsewhere. But I look forward to making bread pudding with it later.
|Chocolate Hazelnut Danish|
|Chocolate Hazelnut Danish|