Sandwich Fillings Find a Golden ‘Layer’

Columns What's for Lunch?

March 30, 2014

Story By: Rachel Breit | Photos by: Rachel Breit

Buttery, flaky croissants that crunch when you bite them then yield to rich, soft chewiness are the best, n’est-ce pas? Just the thought of the French bakery staple is enough to send taste buds floating down the River Seine.

Luckily, you don’t have to travel far for a bite of golden goodness. Ala Moana’s Patisserie La Palme D’Or is your passport to la joie de vivre. The elegant pastry shop showcases a blend of French and Japanese influences. The Japanese side brings “a delicate and fine taste,” says owner Hiromi Tanaka.

A technique called lamination can be thanked for the delicate layers at the heart of the crescent-shaped pastry’s appeal. A sheet of cold butter is encased in rolled-out dough, which is folded again and again until many thin layers — alternating butter and dough — form within it. The dough is then cut and rolled into its signature shape before baking. Moisture released from the butter as steam in the oven creates the flaky final product. “We bake them in a special way every morning,” Tanaka explains about the croissants ($2.75). “Customers say they’re the best on the Island.”

But the bakery doesn’t stop there. La Palme D’Or goes the extra mile, taking the curvaceous pastries and stuffing them with tasty fillings for the perfect sandwich. Customers are over the (half) moon for the sandwiches, which feature fresh ingredients in generous portions and often sell out before noon. Nestled in the tender bread and with slices of juicy tomato (locally grown when available), crispy Japanese cucumber (less seedy and watery than garden cucumbers) and crunchy iceberg lettuce are three classic filling options: Tuna Salad ($4.15), Egg Salad ($4.50) and BLT ($4.15). Minced onions liven up the tuna and mayo, a pinch of pink iron-dense salt (mined from the Bolivian Andes) heightens the flavor of the creamy egg salad and smoky bacon sizzles with some TLC (tomato, lettuce and croissant, in this case).

Visit the eatery before noon to get your hands on these sandwiches, or call and prepay for one (or more) to be set aside for you. Order a bunch to go and bring a croissant crescendo to any lunch gathering. Just place the order one day in advance.

After securing the savory side of things, it would be a faux pas to pass up on the sweet colorful pastries on display.

“Any dessert is good after lunch,” says Tanaka. Dip a spoon into the smooth, creamy panna cotta pudding topped with berry jelly and fresh fruit ($3.78) or stick a straw in Coffee Jelly Au Lait ($4.55 with milk) and sip up hunks of coffee gelatin mixed with whipped cream and milk for a sweet pick-me-up.

Patisserie La Palme D’Or

Ala Moana Center
1450 Ala Moana Blvd.
Monday-Saturday, 9:30 a.m.9 p.m.
Sunday, 9:30 a.m.-7 p.m.

Ala Moana Center, Honolulu, HI 96814

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