7 Great Kouign-Amann in Los Angeles
Leading up to this year's Best of L.A. issue (due out Oct. 3), we'll be bringing you periodic lists of some of the best things we've found to eat and drink around town. Ice cream sandwiches and bowls of tsukemen, fish tacos and dan dan mian, cups of boba and glasses of booze. Read on.
Christine Chiao Kouign amann at Baked on Oceanview
Derived from the Breton words for butter and cake, kouign-amann (pronounced kween ah-MON) is capable of captivating at first bite. Imagine something akin to the much-hyped hybrid known to us as a cronut: denser than a croissant and more layered than a doughnut. Except with this Breton pastry, there's also a resemblance to a muffin with a top that if baked for long enough is crunchy from caramelization. (Fortunately, the rest of the pastry is as good as the top that you'll not be drawn into a morass of Seinfeldian nature).
As with most laminated dough recipes, the kouign-amann is time-intensive, requiring patience and no small amount of tenacity. Look up a recipe on how to make one and you'll see a set of lengthy instructions. We found one that had over 20 steps of which many asked for a slight variation of a technique or two. Thankfully, there are more than a few local bakeries that make excellent versions, such that you'll happily keep the recipe and baking sheet away. Turn the page for our favorites.
Christine Chiao Kouign-amann at Amandine
7. Amandine Patisserie
Amandine's version takes leave of the blossom-like shape many of the kouign-amann in town assume, all cylindrical and rotund. That is, until exactly one bite reveals that it contains a spiced apple filling and you'll begin to understand the reasoning somewhat. It's an apple pie contained. A kouign-amann here might face stiff competition for your attention, sitting among an array of breads and fruit pastries. And still, you'll not miss a small stand of them placed toward the front of the display. 12225 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles; (310) 979-3211.
Christine Chiao Kouign-amann at Baked on Oceanview
6. Baked on Oceanview
The name might suggest a '90s flick centered on the incorrigible hijinks of Brendan Fraser, or Dave Chappelle and Jim Breur for that matter, but Baked on Oceanview is in fact a corner bakery about block away from the busy Montrose street of Honolulu. Towards the entance on Ocean View, there is a tray of kouign-amann placed among pastries in glass cases that halfway line the perimeter of the shop that's not dedicated to the kitchen. Each kouign-amann is placed in a paper muffin cup as considerably steeped as it is with glaze, drawing comparisons to sticky buns. 3600 Ocean View Blvd. #7, Montrose; (818) 249-3587.
Christine Chiao Buttercup at Sycamore Kitchen
5. Sycamore Kitchen
It may be called a buttercup at Sycamore Kitchen, but its DNA is unmistakeable. A kouign-amann by any other name would, well, taste and look as sweet. Karen Hatfield's kitchen turns out the pastry on the golden side, and at a few batches each day. If you stop by past the early afternoon, be prepared to select another pastry on the countertop as it's a strong likelihood that they'll have sold out by then. 143. S. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles; (323) 939-0151.
12225 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA