Don’t roll your eyes, but I can be a quality snob. You know those obnoxious conversations you overhear when you’re out to dinner? I’m totally guilty of them. I’ve complained about the quality of the bread, the texture of the broccoli and the amount of oil in the dish. Come on, you’re probably guilty of a few moments like that as well.
Then there the croissant conversations. Going out to have my weekly croissant, I pretend that I am an undercover restaurant reviewer. I dress up in my normal clothes, put on a steely exterior and act thrilled no matter what type of pastry I find. The acerbic or laudatory words fold on top of each other as I eat like laminating layers of dough.
The croissant from Chickpea required me to don my happiest diner face. It was chilly but sunny Saturday morning, the kind that is perfect for Christmas shopping. Or searching for a great croissant in Bristol. The first cafe I went to didn’t serve my coveted pastry, so I walked a few steps down the road to Chickpea. They proudly serve gluten-free cakes and pastries! They have locally roasted coffee! They have a student discount! Their sandwich board proudly proclaimed.
The cafe was empty when I arrived, a caution sign. The faux handwriting on the chalkboard menu offered croissants with jam or butter. I ordered my pastry, and a cappuccino for good measure. They asked me if I wanted my croissant warm, a worrisome question. No, I didn’t. I’ll take my chances, I thought to myself.
The croissant looked roughly acceptable from the outside. Despite the dull appearance, the shape reminded me of Patisserie Claude‘s bloated crescent. I expected something dense, but moist. What I got was something airy, but stale.
Ripping off the end was difficult, the pastry wanted to stay together. Inside, there were stiff layers of dough that stood apart. I took a bite, requiring more chewing effort than I thought possible. The croissant was feeling the cold morning. I almost felt sympathy for the poor pastry, I don’t want to get out of bed without a little help from my radiator. I should have given the poor little pastry’s feelings some consideration and said yes to the heating.
Luckily, it made a decent companion to the milky cappuccino. Dunking in the stale pieces of croissant helped warm them up, like a luxurious bubble bath, only with chocolatey foam. They soaked up more of the coffee than you would think. All that butter that would normally keep it warm and hydrated had frozen, just like our dry skin on these chilly days.
I needed to be an undercover diner at Chickpea. The food was disappointing and, from what I remember, the savory options are hardly more promising. It’s a good word of warning, if someone asks you if you’d like your croissant heated up, heat yourself up as you run away.
Are you a quality snob about anything in particular?