Saturday, July 07, 2007

Way beyond big (Bakery: Pastries A Go Go)

I don't share my lemon bar. . . normally. The sentence would have stopped in front of the dots had I not met "this" lemon bar from Pastries A Go Go in Decatur. The fateful meeting happened after my usual Morningside farmer's market excursion. I had a desire for something sweet to nibble on, but didn't feel like settling for something familiar at Alon's. It was a gorgeous sunny morning, so I decided to take the drive to Decatur.

I still remember passing the cute sliver of a storefront Pastries A Go Go used to have on the main stretch of W. Ponce. Sadly, I never made it in. The bakery's new location across the street seemed a bit less cozy. I did, however, like the inviting and airy outdoor seating area among the plants. I knew PAGG had a big breakfast business. What I didn't realize was that the breakfast service almost completely overshadowed their bakery function. For a place with pastry in its name, the pastry case was surprisingly small with less than a dozen selections. But before I could start to feel disappointed, the lemon bar on the top shelf jumped out at me . . . because it was ginormous!

Almost three quarters the length of a regular dinner fork, the bar made an impressive thud when it hit the bottom of my take away bag. You can still see the dent from the fall at the lower left corner in the photo above. I also got a croissant at a server's suggestion. The croissant was also respectable in size, but when put in the same bag, merely appeared to float on top of the lemon bar.

I drove the both of them home on the seat of my mini like real passengers and dug in at the kitchen bar. The lemon bar had an interestingly chewy crust that I can't quite put my finger on. It was an almost rice cakey texture like mochi skin. The body yielded to the fork easily, but did not part like a custard. The crust, however, required a good bit of poking as it was quite hard and did not crumble as I would have liked. The lemon bar innards tasted creamy and refreshing. Perhaps leaning just a tad too much to the sweet rather than tangy side. The crust, as expected, was pretty hard and a bit dry - quite discardable. Overall, the bar was fine, just not one to induce any late night cravings. The croissant, on the other hand, was one to impress. It had a nicely toasted shell. There was a bit of crunch, but not too much to cause crumb spillage all over my lap. The innards had a balanced ratio of holeyness to dougheyness, so it gave a very nice chew. Best of all, it wasn't so dainty as to leave me wanting after the last buttery bite was gone.

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