Thursday, November 1, 2007
On the furthest edge of Thai Town, in the very back of a sparsely occupied shopping center, just down the sidewalk from the fish market, sits A&P Pastries. The tiny bakery is like a jewel in the rough. I love the decor, especially the Christmas-y decorations. Maybe they are leftovers from the holidays, but more likely it is pure coincidence. In addition to the festive touches, the mood in the small bakery is comfortable and welcoming. The counter girl is so cute and friendly; it is really a joy to shop there.
The two pastry cases boast beautiful pastel creations - rolled sponge cakes, French puff pastries, and cream puffs, along with savories like chicken turnovers and buns.
Most Asian sweets tend to go easy on the fat and sugar, which is often a refreshing change. A&P has the best of both worlds - a selection of traditionally rich Western-style desserts, as well as lighter cakes. The French-style pastries are sweet and full of a heavy cream, especially the delicious miniature cream puffs. The jelly rolls are more typical of Asian sweets, with a delicate sponge cake and a light-as-air whipped cream filling. The vanilla is pure heaven, but the orange jelly roll is somewhat intense.
There are also the familiar pale-green tinted cakes and jelly rolls which are flavored with bai dteuy, a type of pandanus leaf used to flavor Thai sweets. The taste is delicate, vaguely similar to vanilla, rose or coconut, yet distinctly its own.
The bakery sells a variety of buns, which are the freshest I have come across outside of my own kitchen. Some of the buns are filled with ham and cheese, but I would recommend the custard-filled variety. The pandam custard is disturbingly similar to guacamole in tint and texture. It's still delicious if you eat it with your eyes closed. Just try not to think about guacamole (Do not think of a white horse).
A&P Pastries 5112 Hollywood Blvd. #109 LA 90027 (323) 668-0976