(Taken December 2006.)
Mr. Big has been my friend, comrade-in-arms, and sometime flatmate for close to ten years. His birthday is actually in December, which was when I first threatened to do this post. However, we were both feeling pretty down from the then recent collapse of our company, so I decided to wait. I heard from Mr. Big today that he was just hired by a very well-known company in Aliso Viejo. Congratulations, buddy! It's birthday post time! ... I'm an evil panda.
Special occasions call for extravagant treats, and nothing quite fits the bill like a birthday cake from Pierre Boulangerie & Patisserie in Garden Grove. While the Nerf firing squad costs extra, I always picked up birthday cakes for friends and co-workers from this delightful little gem. It never failed to impress.
(Left: Master Chief)
I was first introduced by Pierre Boulangerie & Patisserie by Master Chief, my friend and mentor in all things Vietnamese. Although he lives in Irvine, Master Chief is a minor celebrity in Little Saigon, having once run for public office there. Well-connected, he seems unable to step into a restaurant without needing to shake the hands of a few well-wishers, and he always knows the good places to eat.
(At the counter, Xiaobai, another friend.)
Resting unobtrusively in a strip mall at the corner of Brookhurst and Hazard, Pierre Boulangerie & Patisserie epitomizes the main reason I love Little Saigon. Although there's nothing to distinguish is from its neighbors, the bakery is one of many hidden and unique food treasures scattered throughout the cities of Westminster and Garden Grove. What's more, it's not even Vietnamese. It's French. An authentic French bakery in Little Saigon. Who would even suspect?
The locals, that's who. They flock to this place by the dozens, snatching up cakes and gobbling the delectable pastries.
The fully operational kitchen in the back, run by a French patissier and his Mexican helpers, cranks out tray after tray of fresh treats well into the afternoon to keep up with the demand.
The counter staff is predominantly Vietnamese, fluent in Vietnamese, Chinese, and French. English, on the other hand, can sometimes be a problem...
Even with the kitchen baking away, the popular items still run out early. Get there before if you're planning on getting any of the good stuff.
While their cakes and tarts are almost always in stock, pastries like the Pain Chocolat (Chocolate-filled Croissant) are usually gone by 2pm. Many a time I've walked out with the last ones and the fiery eyes of the women in line behind me carving brands in my back. It's wickedly pleasing. The funny thing is, I'm usually buying them for Cat. I'm more of an Almond Croissant kind of guy.
Then again, I also enjoy dishing out delectable portions of public humiliation in a friendly, loving way. Here's Mr. Big's birthday barrage by Nerf firing squad. We had some great co-workers and friends at that company. I miss each and every one of them.
Here's Mr. Big opening his prezzie. Awww... We decided to help him end the Nerf arms race. The loud, cackling voice is mine, which I apologize for in advance.
Pierre Boulangerie & Patisserie - Forget the grocery store bakeries and chain patisseries that are pretenders to the throne. Pierre Boulangerie & Patisserie is an authentic French bakery offering French cakes and pastries at prices that can't be beat.
Boulangerie Pierre & Patisserie
14352 Brookhurst St.
Garden Grove, CA 92843
Read these review by my food blogging friends: