The place is simply called La Boulangerie. No pun, no treat, simple. Offering a wide choice of pastries and breads, this bakery gave me what I have been looking for since I started this review of Seattle’s French bakeries: the smell of a boulangerie. When you enter here, you can feel the warmth of the oven and the delicate fragrance of cooked bread. Delicious.

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Too bad the food is not. The croissants and the baguettes have some French arrière-goût, but something is missing, and only a professional baker could tell me if it’s a lack of butter or an excess of salt. Writing that hurts, since the baker is so nice. Xon D. Luong, the chef/owner, as his visit card says, has been a professional in French baking for 52 years. In a French mind, it means he started when he was 8, since French people don’t want to work beyond 60 years old. But I assume he is not as lazy and complaining as we are.

Au contraire. He does everything in his shop. As we would say, il est à l’eau et au moulin, cooker and register, lonely man in this big room filled with bread. You may have a seat and just enjoy the odour of the shop. That’s typically the place where you want to stay when you wish to avoid all this hi-tech coffee shops with free wi-fi that are located a block further.

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The bakery reminded me of all those little cafés far from the trendy places in Paris that do not have much room, a lounge space, and comfortable sofas, but where you just feel good. And it’s not because of the place itself, but merely because of Luong’s smile. (My fingers make a special guest appearance on the picture on the right for all those who wanted to see more pictures of me.)

I should reward this place with a B-.

Good points:
• Xon Luong’s kindness and courage
• The good smell
• Wide choice of pastries

Bad points:
• The taste