"Can you find me a bakery that's open on a Monday?" a friend whined, on learning I write a column about restaurants open on that day. Forgive my friend, diehard Ballard-ite that she is, for it's true that the pair of pastry princes that crown Crown Hill--Café Besalu and Honoré Artisan Bakery--are closed not just Monday, but Tuesday as well, making for a sadly croissant-deprived start to the week. The solution, while probably not up to her standards, is a simple swing down Highway 99 to Ballard's southern sister, to hit up Bakery Nouveau in West Seattle.
Arguably the best croissants in Seattle, Nouveau's version rivals that of either of the Ballard pair, though a true test would require eating them on their home turf, as all are best when freshly baked. Fault me not for suggesting a trip to a pseudo-suburb for a simple savory snack, though, as Bakery Nouveau holds a cornucopia of crumbed confections that make it a field-trip worthy spot.
Come in for a leisurely lunch on a Monday and you'll be able to grab a spot at one of the tables, avoiding the late-week lunch rush. Stare across idly at the rainbow of Parisian macarons. Later, you can buy one on your way out and see how long your will power lets you hold out on eating it. Can you make it back to downtown? All the way back to Ballard? Though optimal ogling is on the carefully crafted and elegantly displayed French-style pastries, the sandwiches assembled on Nouveau's bread do more then just enable you to justify a baguette as lunch. Linger over a club sandwich on the crumb-casting croissants, or sit with a duck sandwich, letting the juices seep deep into the air pockets of the bread.
Like most Seattleites, I prefer the comfort of my own cocoon--er, neighborhood, but café closures could be the secret to getting us all out of our shells. So Ballard friend, I invite you to come for a croissant. Cross a bridge, literal and figurative, and enjoy a bite of baguette on a Monday afternoon.