If foods were gods and ruled over us, don't you think it would be butter that presided? Is it fair to say, then, that foods that are basically just thinly-veiled vehicles for butter are more godly than the rest? Possibly, in fact, godly period? When you're dealing with such divinity, it's kinda tough to choose between two, sorta like choosing between your mom and dad or something.
See who wins in a Croissant-Off: mom or dad.
One good way to judge a croissant might be its pillow-to-crunch ratio, its ability to simultaneously harness the butter to make the exterior of the pastry as flaky and crispy as the interior is soft as delicate. Trung Nam's got the ratio down. For a flat $1.50, you can score one of the St. Paul Vietnamese bakery's croissants in a number of flavors like coconut, blueberry, strawberry or almond. Rich and light, they're like buttery clouds.
Another good way to judge a croissant might be by how much butter seeps through the bag when you're transporting it. On these merits alone, May Day Cafe's croissant wins out. For $1.75 plus tax, May Day will deliver a pastry whose aura suggests no less than a choir of angels. The cafe's croissants are a bit smaller, darker and heavier than Trung Nam's, and also, dare we say, more buttery?
The Winner: They're a tad more expensive, but May Day's croissants honor butter and unite them with pastry in a way that is almost weep-worthy. You can almost see the purposefulness -- the precise, technical skill -- that went into making them. Yet at the same time they arenot at all fussy, with a simple, honest flavor. Bonus: The crunchy ends taste not unlike some of the best pizza crusts. Alleluia for croissants!
Trung Nam French Bakery 739 University Ave W. St. Paul 651.229.0887
May Day Cafe 3440 Bloomington Ave. Minneapolis 612.729.5627