100 Favorite Dishes: Smoked Paprika and Cheddar Croissant at Crumble & Flake"/>
I've patronized Crumble & Flake twice, and - thus far - the coffee cheweos are the only pastry that make me feel like I didn't waste the 10 minutes I spent waiting while the guy at the head of the snaking line meticulously compiled goodie bags for friends in three different cities. Yet I'm leaving that sophisticated cookie off the favorite dish list in order to make room for the shop's smoked paprika and cheddar croissant.
Neal Robertson's croissant is as flaky and buttery as his bakery's tremendous popularity would lead you to expect. But it's not the croissant's crisp exterior or soft, webbed interior that makes it favorite dish material. What's most enthralling and exciting about the croissant is its reliance on savory flavors. There are plenty of local bakeries which fold ham and cheese into their croissants, but Spanish smoked paprika is way more interesting than salt, and cheddar's much more assertive than pantywaist gruyere.
I'm not sure the croissant is an unqualified success: If you can eat one without thinking about Doritos, your palate is more mature than mine (or maybe you're just not American.) But I really like what Robertson is trying to do by bringing savoriness to the pastry case: That baking concept is easily my favorite.