Friday, October 22, 2010

Bouchon Bakery Day Trip

It was one of the exciting day trip I made in a spontaneous decision.  While doing my assignment research study on Chef Thomas Keller, I learned that he has several restaurants and a bakery right here in Northern California.  Even though the chance in making a lunch reservation at The French Laundry or Bouchon or Ad Hoc did not look possible, I decided to pay visit to the Bouchon Bakery Yountville, California.  I was very excited to learn about it.  Nothing better than to visit a bakery with master Pastry Chef Janine Weismann and led by Executive Pastry Chef Sebastien Rouxel. I don't know if the pastry I will be buying will be prepared personally by Pastry Chef Janine, but I thought the trip would be a great experience.  Whoops! it was past noon by the time I got all the information and direction and map together on a drizzling Sunday.  I wanted to try their croissant and baguettes and whatever they have "left".  The drive was pleasant.  It took me by surprise when I made the last left turn to Washington Street.  I thought I was driving into some body's driveway... that's how cozy looking the area looks.  In a little bit, I noticed Ad Hoc... then, further down, Bouchon Bakery and right next to it is the Bouchon Bistro.  Wow! this is great place.  I found a parking space right in the "Marketplace".  Even though it was raining and a bit chilly, there were many tour buses and tourists everywhere.  I was third one right out the door of Bouchon Bakery, but I didn't have my camera ready, so I stepped aside for a moment.  Within 30 seconds, I was number 6 out the door way and with several more behind me.  The bakery is a nice cozy place.  Perfect size, if I were the owner and baker. I noticed the croissants are no where to be seen, including in the bakery room, expected, as it is so late in the day.  So, I saw two baguettes left and three epi baguettes, and lots of Macarons, tarts, etc.  I quickly called out what I wanted when my turn came and got the last baguette and muffin, tarts, eclairs, Wagyu brisket sandwich, etc.  $51 worth.  I was delighted with all the goodies and head back home.  I enjoyed the sight, touch, aroma, and every bites of the pastries.  Tasting and examining the textures and taste balance.  I think many home bakers and students of culinary arts would agree, the more you know the how and what are involved in preparing pastries and cakes, every bite you took into the well made purchased products from a bakery like Bouchon become critically delicious and appreciated.  These beat the ones that I bought at Panera for sure.  And - baguette - I was smiling from ear to ear.  I have been testing and trying to perfect my baguette making with the  home oven for the 10th time and with only two satisfying results, this baguette gave me a 'take-a-break' - just enjoy.  (And today, Friday morning - I did it!! my baguettes turned out Wunderbar!!)
 
 
 

 

 




 
 

 I read in Yelp.com some of the feedback on Bouchon Bakery's Macarons.  When I first saw full trays of Macaroons, I thought that must be the least popular item.  But I was wrong.  I wished I have picked it, may be the next time.
I am very inspired after this trip.  I visited our college's library and started my next level of "Becoming a Chef" adventure.  Chef Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc at Home cookbook is filled with tips and techniques and reassured my baking and cooking practices over and over are in the right course.  And I am looking forward to the next food adventure.

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