Friday, November 11, 2011

PAUL Bakery USA

I'm somewhat ashamed to admit that an embarrassingly large portion of my time is devoted to seeking out bakeries and pastry shops in the States rivaling those I enjoyed every day when I lived in Paris.  Ok, just kidding, I'm not actually ashamed at all :) When you live in a city where it's practically impossible to walk down the street without tripping over gateaux and baguettes, let alone making it to your M├ętro stop and having any memory of how that Berthillon ice cream cone ended up in your hand...You tend to take for granted that impeccable desserts and baked goods are everywhere to be had.

So, you can imagine my excitement when I heard that a Paul location was opening up right here in Washington, DC.  Not a bakery in the French style, but an actual, honest-to-goodness French chain with over 120 years of history.  Unfortunately, as is the story of my life, Paul opened while I was traveling overseas, so I would have to wait several more patisserie-free months before indulging in tartes and macarons.  Luckily, I finally got a chance to sample Paul's offerings this summer during one of the free Navy band concerts offered at the Navy Memorial.  Paul's location adjacent to the memorial makes it a perfect stop for a pre or post-concert snack, and I took advantage of their concert picnic special--a baguette sandwich, pastry and drink for $11.95.  Unfortunately, you'll have to wait until next summer for this awesome deal--C'est la vie.

That's right. Macarons as big as your hand. *drool*

As soon as I stepped through the glass doors of Paul's, I knew I wouldn't be disappointed.  Brass bistro finishings, cafe tables and simple, classically French presentation brought back memories as I ordered my usual sandwich--jambon camembert, obviously.  And--what you really want to hear about--the pastries didn't disappoint either.  Enormous macarons, individual tartes, and crisp, flaky Napoleons abound.  Other than the excellent baguette for my sandwich, I didn't get to sample any other breads, but you can be sure I will be back for a boule or two.

Perfect vanilla napoleon (aka mille-feuille)

If you're looking for a taste of Parisian baking in DC, it doesn't get any better than Paul's.  And even though I was a little late to the Paul party, you're just in time to catch the opening of their newest location in Georgetown--after a soft opening this week, Paul Georgetown should be slinging sweets in no time.

If you go
PAUL Penn Quarter
801 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, DC
Metro Blue/Yellow: Archives-Navy Memorial

PAUL Georgetown
1078 Wisconsin Ave, NW
Washington, DC

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