Piquant – Tampa, FL
As I stood, hunkered down under a small awning, the rain began to sway horizontally, denying me any chance of staying dry. Impatiently, I kept hoping for those doors to open, as I yearned for the privilege of being first in line, to get the pick of the litter.
The rain fell harder. I then attempted to secure a better spot to hide more successfully than the last, behind a small wall, intermittently coexisting with the glass windows that wrapped around the entire façade.
When the doors opened promptly at 8:00 A.M. the host jumped back a bit, as did I when I heard the door abruptly cause a loud clang. She didn’t know I was there, I am certain.
Before I could speak she inquired as to my intentions. You see Piquant is known for selling out of a particular item everyday almost instantly at 8 am. I am allowed to say the formula for creation they’ve figured out is the illustrious cronut. They however do not, as the original idea has since been trademarked by its celebrity pastry chef. If you find yourself searching in their display case, just look for a scientifically rule bending crown of pastry. Do not be intimidated by the height of each individual cronut. Although on the outside they kinda look like puffed up hockey pucks, you will find on the inside hundreds of layers butter, pastry and air. They are as light and as sweet dream creating as a Sobakawa pillow. Piquant offers a cavalcade of rotating flavors from a basic plain, which should be the first choice if this your maiden voyage, to a fantastically compatible vanilla creme filling which adds depth, but thankfully not too much sweetness. As the quarter Cuban that I am, I’m always magnetized to anything guava related. Their guava cronut is reminiscent of the best guava turnover you might find down in Little Havana
Not to go unnoticed, I sampled an individually sized brioche-like muffin thing that housed a sugar cube, which melted quite nicely into the dough. Try one of those too!! We also enjoyed a cinnamon roll that my brother deemed the best he’d ever eaten. He said it wasn’t what he expected, as it had a touch of golden raisin purée or maybe some crushed baked apples that mingled with the gooey cinnamon sugar swirls. I had just a small bite but wouldn’t disagree with his opinion. It was indisputably a special cinnamon roll. One which I could only compare to Dough’s stellar version, or if you happen to a child of the 90′s, a certain Buddy’s Bunz that might hold a special place in your heart.
As I was handed my order, a thought crossed my mind. On a whim I ask if they had any baguettes. There were none on display. My host said that one could be baked on command if I was willing to wait ten minutes. I obliged and ten minutes later, a hot, toasty, crisp skinny baguette was presented. How sweet was that? I don’t deserve this kind of specialized service, but I get the feeling they treat all their customers this way.
Piquant is a full service restaurant with quite possibly the best selection of French pastry and bread in the area. I have failed to enjoy an actual meal though, and struggled contemplating if Eat a Duck should only speak of one specific menu item. I’d have to say the sweets merit a whole bunch of words all on their own. See above for such words.