As soon as I walked into the bakery, I was greeted with a warm gust of fresh-baked goodness. The smell of breads and pastries washed over me and instantly made me even hungrier than I had been before I walked in. Then Gonz, the owner of both L’Amande’s Beverly Hills and Torrance locations, cordially greeted us and led us to a charming outside table on the patio.
As Gonz brought out some deliciously strong cappuccino and espresso, for which they use a Nuevo Simonelli espresso machine (I like good, bold coffee), he educated us a little about the establishment. Apparently, a TRUE cafe or establishment in Europe that makes fresh bread and pastries can only have the word “bakery” in its name if every single item is made in house – otherwise, in France for example, that eatery would be looked down upon because they outsourced their goods. L’Amande makes EVERYTHING in house. This was PERFECT – my dream in life is to sit outside a chic & authentic French Cafe and write all day with an espresso always within reach. It was the closest I was getting to being part of the Cafe Society – for the time being. I was obsessed.
Two of L’Amande’s specialties: the French Toast and the Croque Madame (pictured above) came flying out soon after. I THOUGHT I had tasted a Croque Madame before this occasion – but I had not. Not like this. This Madame was so freaking delicious I thought I was going to faint. The creamy goodness of the gruyere, the perfect golden brown and soft bread, the egg that topped it – it was all pure bliss. It was rich without being overpowering and offered just the right amount of savory decadence. AND it was a perfect compliment to the French Toast, which was dusted with powdered sugar and almonds and partnered with amazingly fresh fruit that jumped started my morning. You could clearly tell that L’Amande uses artisanal French techniques to create each of their masterpieces from scratch because you can taste the difference. Just one of their croissants takes 72 hours to create!
Gonz then came back and told us he had two specials he wanted us to try. L’Amande has a variety of specials every day, some more permanent than others. Sunday’s special was the papillote; croissant dough that encapsulated a caramelized sugary goodness that was SO good it could only be described by Jon’s, my cohort for the adventure, quote:
“This is like…like…well…I don’t even know what it’s like…but it’s so freakin’ good.”
And then there was the Cabernet Poached Organic Pear with Vanilla Bean Custard, which was a special treat that Gonz arranged for the day. Tres magnifique! After the pear was cooked in the Cab, it became incredibly sweet and tender and was perfectly complimented by the custard, which had an amazing texture, not an overly sugary flavor, which was kind of perfect. And a mint leaf. I love anything garnished with a mint leaf.
The interior of the bakery was gorgeous and truly exuded that Parisian feel; classy and stylish, but very welcoming and family oriented. L’Amande is located at: