Whether you’re a morning person or not, the promise of excellent pastries can lure almost anyone out of bed. I set off to Floriole Cafe and Bakery (1220 W. Webster Ave.), located a few blocks west off the Fullerton stop, in search of a good start to my day — and I was not disappointed.
The French-inspired cafe has a warm, welcoming vibe. Soft light from overhead lamps and subtle music make it a relaxed environment for the morning.
Floriole has two cases spanning its front wall that are filled with traditional French pastries, including a variety of croissants, galette, clafoutis, tarts and pot de creme.
A chalkboard behind the cases notes other breakfast items such as quiches, muesli or homemade sourdough toast topped with ricotta and honey.
Often at bakeries, I am torn between getting the plain, chocolate or almond croissant. Luckily, Floriole offered a chocolate almond croissant ($4), making my decision easy.
I chose to eat my croissant at one of the many granite countertop tables near the kitchen window, where I was able to see the chefs at work.
Besides the smell of freshly baked bread, another perk of arriving early (Floriole opens at 7 a.m.) is that the pastries are still warm.
The croissant was a wonderful combination of textures and flavors, including toasted almonds on the outside that provided a nice crunch, while the inside was flaky and soft.
Because the pastry was nearly as big as my head, I had to use a fork and knife to eat it.
Once I cut into the croissant, I discovered that the inside was not overfilled with runny chocolate or slathered in almond paste, which can make the croissant overly sugary and gooey. The subtle but sweet almond flavor was in every bite of the dough and generous flecks of bitter dark chocolate balanced the sweetness.
The cafe also has an extensive lunch menu. I would definitely make my way back to try one of its sandwiches, such as the B.A.D. ($10) which has bacon, arugula, date spread and goat cheese on house-baked cornbread.
Floriole also sells loaves of bread, which would be excellent to keep on hand for sandwiches or toast. The day I went, the cafe had sourdough, baguettes and miche (a typical French wheat bread); each loaf was around $6.
Before I left Floriole, I bought a sea-salt caramel candy ($0.50), which had a deep buttery flavor, making it a great pick-me-up later in the day.
While the prices are not the cheapest option (due to the quality of ingredients they use,) the food is definitely worth it. Floriole is an excellent stop, whether for a quick pastry or a sit-down breakfast or lunch.