We love tiny Berkeley eateries for their grab bag of tasty odds and ends–specifically croissants. As a mini summer getaway, Cloggers traveled far and wide in search for flaky, buttery perfection.

First off, a little background information. A croissant is a delicious French pastry; its national origin is apparent from the way that its proper pronunciation sounds nothing like it’s spelled. Its main ingredient, we think, is butter, and contains something like 300 to 400 calories. Dieters beware.

La Farine Berkeley, located at College and Alcatraz avenues.
Price: $1.85

The first thing that we noticed was La Farine’s speedy service. The croissant was good, as far as layers and layers of buttery tissue pastry go. It even had a hollow, emptiness to it–which gave us the impression of part rip-off, part bourgeois. We only had one negative comment.

Christine Borden: “It doesn’t taste burnt, but it tastes like oven.”

Overall rating: 7.5, “like buttah,” as we would say in our best New York accent

Nabolom, located at Russel Street and College Avenue.
Price: $2.25

The actual bakery is located across the street from this beautiful, mysterious shack.

We were turned off by their price at first, but we didn’t feel so bad once we found that their croissants are as big as our faces.

Evante Garza-Licudine: “I can’t tell if this is an edge or the middle.”

This definitely was not a good sign. It’s a croissant, not a slice of Crossroads cornbread. You’re supposed to be able to distinguish a toasty outer layer from a light, soft middle.

All in all, their croissant was chewy, not flaky. It was salty and sweet. It was doughy and very filling. After feeling up the croissant in a truly French fashion, our resident foodie felt the need to state the inconvenient truth:

CB: “It’s a monstrosity for fat Americans.”

Overall rating: 5.5 for looking like a dead rat.

Semifreddies, located somewhere that the Cloggers never found.
0 for not being easier to find.

Masse’s, located at Shattuck Avenue and Vine Street.
Sold out.

It’s goodness will never be known.

Rating: 0 for having to sit through a long, defensive explanation as to why they sold out of croissants that morning.

Cheeseboard, also located at Shattuck Avenue and Vine Street.
They didn’t even bother selling croissant that day.

Needless to say, we all felt like failures by the end of our croissant crawl across Berkeley. We ducked our heads into Starbucks for a hot minute, and only then felt officially defeated. As much we love to hate Starbucks, they were fully stocked with butter croissants lining their plastic bread and junk food display case.

Life lesson of the day: For better croissant luck next time–less Berkeley, more Paris.

Image source: April Isabel Angeles
Earlier: Crawling Berkeley: Livin’ La Vida Tapioca

grump said:
Aug 29, 2008 at 9:01 am

semifreddi is easy to find!

it’s on claremont just south of ashby (north of college)

Croissant Connoisseur said:
Jun 24, 2009 at 9:55 pm

FYI Cheeseboard never has croissants.