“When I’m having a bad day, I go to work.” Welcome to the sugar coated world of Soraiya Nagree, owner and pastry chef at Austin’s La Patisserie.
A darling little cottage sits surrounded by a sprinkling of flowers and colorful umbrella canopies that offer shade for outdoor café tables. While the scene is inviting and tempts passerbys to stop and relax, it’s the dainty pastel confections inside that will entice their return.
Maybe it was the soft melody of Edith Piaf in the background. Maybe it was the pale shade of pink that enrobed four golden layers of cake behind glass. Or it could have been the decadent chandeliers that dripped with sparkling crystals. But one thing was certain, the day I walked into La Patisserie, I was transported. No passport, luggage or language tutorial needed. The only requirement: a little self- indulgence.
A Dream Is Planted
Lucky for Austin, Soraiya made a trip to Paris when she was 10 that planted the seeds of a dream. Watching her expressive eyes light up while recalling the visual eye candy of French patisserie storefronts leaves no doubt of the source of her inspiration.
After a successful career as an engineer, she left to pursue a passion instilled decades prior by enrolling in the Le Cordon Bleu. Pain au chocolat, croissants and éclairs are but a few mouth-watering delicacies associated with Paris, the City of Light (all available in La Patisserie’s display case).
But one tiny morsel captivated Soraiya more than the others, French macarons. For anyone who has tried to replicate these confections, you know they mimic the mannerisms of a nap-less child. They’re finicky, sensitive and temperamental to their environment. All too often, you’ll find a poor version that crumbles like a stale cookie leaving more residuals on your blouse than in your mouth.
Classic French Macarons
I’ve devoured French macarons within the walls of Pierre Marcolini and Laduree. I’m happy to share this little gem on W Annie Street in Austin produces a macaron that’s perfection in two bites!
A traditional thin crackling coat provides a nice contrast to the moist chewy interior and the creamy layer of buttercream or ganache that’s slathered between is almost unnecessary. But like most things in Paris, the extravagance is part of the appeal.
La Patisserie has an assortment of macaron flavors that varies by season. A few staples include Caramel Fleur de Sel, Espresso, Vanilla Bean, Chocolate, Lavender, Wild Strawberry, Cardamom Honey Orange and the owner’s personal favorite, Rose.
Café au Lait
La Patisserie’s light and airy space is classic without being pretentious. I can just as easily take my daughters here as I can sit for hours in solitude with a newspaper, pastry and coffee. And mentioning coffee, no Parisian scene would be complete without a cup of café au lait. The crisp aroma of dark roasted warmth is percolating and waiting for you.
Stay tuned, La Patisserie will soon begin serving lunch!
602 W. Annie St. – Website
Update: La Patisserie now has a second location in Austin, located at 7301 Burnet Road, Suite 102.
@theAustinot wants to know:
What is your delicacy of choice at La Patisserie?