Yesterday, I had one of those moments that we all seek with food, a moment that made my heart stop beating for a second to shiver with recognition and delight. It came when I bit into a pretzel croissant at The City Bakery on 18th Street between Fifth & Sixth Avenues here in New York. (I would link to the web site, but The City Bakery's web site is so pointless, unless you're interesting in catering or its story, that I don't want to encourage you to waste a click.)
Now, I'd seen the pretzel croissant many, many times. It always looked good, but so does nearly every thing on offer at The City Bakery. There's always something else to try, and croissants, they're so airy that even when they're good they don't seem quite worth the commitment. All that air leaves me hungry, while all that butter never leaves. But yesterday, my friend Melissa and I found ourselves at the food counter seeking shelter from the rain an hour before we'd planned. In other words, I thought we'd be having lunch at City Bakery, and instead we were there for breakfast. When I asked Melissa if she'd ever had one of those pretzel croissant her jaw dropped, her eyes got wide and she said, "Only about a thousand times."
Clearly, my time with the pretzel croissant had come. And it will come again. Soon. Because the genius of the baked good -- it's butter (a lot of butter) and salt lifted on light flakes of tender pastry -- it must be explored, investigated, enjoyed. Life's to short to neglect such fleeting pleasures.