the best croissant in new york, possibly america

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In The Lover Marguerite Duras wrote, Rather than your face as a young woman, I prefer your face as it is now. Ravaged. Such is my passion for the croissant. Friends who have witnessed my savagery, how I tear into the buttery layers of paper-thin sheets of pastry with vigor, know that my affection for the croissant is unrivaled. From the alleys of Aix en Provence, where I sent a dozen text messages rhapsodizing on my encounter with a warm croissant amandes, to the hundreds of photos I snapped of the pain aux chocolat on the sidewalks of Paris (picture me whispering, show me sexy, you croissant, you), my love for the croissant is Shakespearian.

As Sinead O’Connor once crooned, nothing compares to you!

Until today I was arrogant to believe that only the finest croissants could be found in Paris, crafted by pastry artisans. Those who appreciate the delicacy of dough, the patience in tending to it, and how nothing could possibly tender the heart more than a warm sheet of blooming down being unearthed from a hot oven. Until today I never conceived that I could find, and become violently addicted to, the finest croissant I have ever eaten. Suffice it to say, this woman is ravaged.

SMITE YOU, CROISSANTERIA! I was content to live in ignorant bliss, to settle for my $3 inferior pastry, the faux greatness that is Balthazar. To say that you’ve ruined me would be an understatement, as I know I’ll scour Paris in two weeks time trying to find a match for the greatness that is your ALMOND CROISSANT.

But I digress.

At this airy, East Village spot, you’ll find tables reminiscent of Parisian bistros and my beloved pastry in almond, chocolate, hazelnut and apricot varieties. If you’re not in the mood for croissants (how this can be, I don’t know, but one should have options), Croissanteria’s sticky buns and homemade cookies can’t be beat. And for those who are seeking savory lunch fare, you can pile on your favorite French cheeses on said croissants or on homemade baguettes. To top it all off, coffee from Brooklyn Roasting Company.

LIFE = MADE.

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love.life.eat. of the week

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love.: After working in book publishing, a beastly business that shows the unseemly side of publishing art, I found myself paralyzed — unable to read books for pleasure as I once did. It took years to undo this unraveling, but it’s worth it because I feel as if I’m in a bit of a literary renaissance. No longer do I care about the big books, the punch of the Believer-reading lot, I visit bookstores as if I’m a normal sort of person looking for something to read, and believe me when I say the ride has been nothing short of thrilling. I’ve discovered two extraordinary books this past month: Krys Lee’s story collection, Drifting House and Deborah Levy’s remarkable Swimming Home. While Krys Lee’s stark story collection focus on Koreans — emigrating (or fleeing) North Korea — coming undone, Deborah Levy presents us a family unraveling at the seams once a strange, fiery interloper is found floating in a pool. As Francine Prose so astutely reveals, “Swimming Home is unlike anything but itself. Its originality lies in its ellipses, its patterns and repetitions, in what it discloses and reveals, and in the peculiar curio cabinet Levy has constructed: a collection of objects and details that disclose more about these fictional men and women than they are willing, or able, to tell us about themselves.”

Next up I’m diving deliriously into Sarah Manguso’s The Guardians (update: read it in one sitting + it’s magical) and Alice Munro’s latest story collection. I’ll let you know how it goes.

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life: The new year holds so much promise, and I’m diving in, feet first into a bevy of culinary adventures. After a year of trepidation, I’m finally taking my first Sunday Suppers class. Consider this a cooking class cum dinner cum gathering with strangers who share one common passion: food. I’m also taking a puff pastry + eclair class at The Brooklyn Kitchen with a sweet friend, and I’ve signed up for French classes at the Alliance Française (FIAF). And if I ever tire of New York, really tire of it, I’ll remind myself to tick off items on my dear friend Mary Phillip’s Sandy’s list.

eat.: If I could have any kale salad right now, this Christmas version would just about do. These pistachio, dark chocolate and olive oil muffins are calling my name in the worst way, while these orange cardamon scones will have me rethinking my almond croissant affliction. I’ve never met a bread I haven’t adored, so color me smitten with this simple olive version. Finally, you haven’t LIVED until you had the pillowy donuts from The Fat Radish, and here’s the recipe. YOU’RE WELCOME.