Friday, May 31, 2013

Go Big Or Get Sent Home: Bonaparte Is A Great Place When You Need To Bring Dessert

Flan and apple pastries from Bonaparate in Savage
It's a tough call when you need to bring dessert to a Friday dinner and you know the host is really putting heart into a grilled extravaganza.

For the short-ribs-and-shrimp feast that the '34 Act Gourmet put on, I had to find something that could hold its own on the table -- and I had to do it on the way home.

That's how I ended up among Bonaparte Bakery's pastries in the Savage Mill.  The bakery does spectacular breads, but I focused on the display case where I passed on several cream-and-pastry creations to buy slices of flan and individual-sized apple pastries.

These are high-end desserts.  For $5 each, I got substantial desserts.  Two of you could split one.  To sample for the blog, the four of us split four.  Dense, lightly-sweet flan slices -- almost more like a sweet-potato pie than a Spanish custard.  Perfectly-tender apple slices with a sweet gel, baked onto a complex pastry crust that managed to be light and crisp without being dry.

Bonaparte does all kinds of intricate French desserts.  The chocolate croissants and the breads make it worth visiting any time, but keep Savage in mind when you want something sweet to make a special dinner.

If you check out Laurel Meat Market from Howard County, then Bonaparte can be a quick detour on the way home.  If you want more bakeries, check out my post about the revolution in bread in Howard County.  If you want more intricate pastries, stop at Touche Touchet in Columbia, especially for the chocolate croissants, fruit tarts and cookies.


kam said...

Semi-related, I was at Savage Mill yesterday and the often-transient cafe space/ice cream shop in the New Weave building is open again as the Factory Grill. Their menu included burgers/sandwiches/salads; on the dessert side, they had an assortment of baked goods and the ice cream section was back as well.


Anonymous said...

I enjoy Bonaparte's too, sometimes. Unfortuantely, it's hit & miss. I reserve dining out (or takeout) for items that I cannot make, or cannot easily make, from home. And an apple tart or a mousse is pretty easy for me... but an Opera Cake... a proper Opera Cake is a thing of beauty. Unfortunately, for some reason, they chopped the size of their opera cake. Like each of the measurements is almost cut by half what it once was, so the whole cake is actually 1/4 it's previous size. For the price, you can get a dessert that really is only suitable for one... can't really be shared. It's so hard to find an opera cake these days, and when you do, it's the size of a petit fours!!! VERY frustrating. And on top of that, I guess they're no longer very popular desserts so the bakery is not making them as often. Used to be I could count on finding one there and they only ran out on rare occasions. These days... they rarely even carry the Opera Cake. No big surprise there.

And I loved their brunch item, the great ham & cheese croissant, but it was best when made with the ham and cheese rolled up and baked INTO the croissant, between the layers. Last time I was there, Bonaparte's did not do a Ham & swiss croissant, they did a croissant sandwich with ham & swiss inside. There's a big difference! They're taking ordinary croissants and slicing them, then stuffing them with ham & swiss, as you would stuff a croissant sandwich with any filling. There's a big difference in matters of flavor, crunch, texture... I can buy an ORDINARY croissant ANYWHERE, slice it & put ham & swiss on it, myself... that's not why I go to Bonaparte's and pay their extreme prices.

It's frustrating when you see someone doing something great, and then they change it, cut it down, cheapen up on it, etc. I hope they're not surprised that the Opera Cake is not as popular any more, you know? Take the guts out of it, turn it into a tiny bite, and it's just not the same thing... or at least it's not the same dessert that we used to pay a nice, high price for.