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Lora Hogan > Recipe  > Croissants and California

Croissants and California

There’s something about where you are born.

It may not be my home now, but whenever I’m back in California things seem…like they fit. Or mostly fit. Like clothes you buy at J.Crew. They are always comfy–but never *quite* fit right. (Always a little too big, or a little too long, or… Still, it’s one of my favorite stores.)

San Diego from my hotel on Harbor Island, pretty gorgeous right?

But going back to California was amazing. I was working like a mad-woman the entire time I was there, but I could feel it.  My *skin* could feel it. Do you ever just watch your complexion perk up over-night? Well, I did. I went to Cali with stress pimples and red-cheeks. Definitely not my best look. The minute I stepped in San Diego, my skin tone began to even out. My color returned to normal. My pimples vanished. By the time I got to San Francisco, I looked like I had super model skin of someone ten years younger than me! And this after flying and staying in hotels!! California, I love you!!!

The walking was amazing. I have a whole new vacation (well, three vacations) planned now! Destinations:

  • La Jolla and Coronado Beach 
  • San Francisco
  • Wine Country (I have never been here since I’ve been legal to drink, can you believe that?)

La Jolla and Coronado Beach. My brother was born in La Jolla, so it’s a place I’ve always spent time in as a kid–but as an adult, there seems to be so much more to explore in the greater San Diego Area! I need to go back. I didn’t make it to old town to see the ladies make true Mexican tortillas. I didn’t see Sea World (hahaha), I missed out on the seals in La Jolla, and never visited any La Jolla dining establishments.  I did swing over to Coronado Beach for a meeting and want to do yoga there, walk along the beach, and shop in the cute downtown! Hotel Coronado was as cool as it is hyped up to be. I neeeeeed to go back.

Me on the job! With a cup of coffee and the Coronado, CA beach behind me!

San Francisco. I was born in the Bay Area. I spent three months living in SF in college when I studied acting at the American Conservatory Theater. I totally left my heart in San Francisco. The weather is perfect, the food is amazing, and the culture is fantastic! Of course, I’ve actually never vacationed in SF with a budget for fun. There’s so much I need to do: Golden Gate Park, the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, shopping in Union Square, dining in the Marina, sailing in the bay, visit Berkeley, eat at Alice Water’s Chez Panisse, and yoga yoga yoga! And I love the San Francisco history. I want to walk the city and check out all the historical sites. Beforehand about the gold rush, the 1904 earthquake, the 1915 world’s fair, and see where history happened.

View of the marina and the Palace of Fine Arts from Fort Mason. I have to get back to the Palace of Fine Arts! I haven’t been since I was a single digit age.
Why yes, Mr. Ghirardelli, I will take your free chocolate. YUMMMMM.
There’s nothing like the Golden Gate Bridge–even on the typical San Francisco foggy day!

Wine Country.  Everyone in California talks and knows about wine. I love wine. I’m not a beer gal, no matter how hard I try. (I’m more of a cider and light beer girl. I just don’t like beer-beer. Sorry yall!) I have only been as a kid. I love to eat at Mustard’s, but haven’t been back as an adult. And the French Laundry? What what. I’ve never been on a winery tour. I need to go! Who’s with me? Add in some hiking and yoga and it can totally be a food, wine, and fitness trip… right?

And the food.  Everywhere I went the food was so amazing and mostly super healthy.  I kept wanting to eat croissants, but kept being at places that served them at non-breakfast hours. I’m a big proponent of not snacking on a work trip (especially on unhealthy food), so I refrained. It was torturous. And difficult. And left me dreaming of croissants.

So I caved when I got back. I don’t have a kitchen aid in my apartment (though how I long for the pink one for breast cancer), so I’m sans dough hook. Which means, I really can’t bake croissants on my own without torturing myself for several days and making a grand old mess. So I decided to try Mr. Trader Joe’s mini croissants.

Trader Joe’s mini croissants

You take them out the night before and WOWZA do they poof up by the next morning. I don’t currently have a brush for pastries, but they would benefit from a glaze of egg wash before you pop them in the oven.

Less than twenty minutes after popping them in the oven (just long enough to write three pages in my journal, make a pot of coffee, and slice some strawberries), these beautiful croissants were done!

Here they are, fresh out of the oven!

Verdict? Definitely better than most croissants you find in Tampa Bay. I always suspect that most restaurants and cafes around me use frozen dough to begin with! And when croissants are HOT from the oven, nothing can beat it! I *did* (guilty face here) add a dab of Kerrygold’s Irish butter to the inside of each croissant. I love the way butter pools and melts in a hot croissant, delicately coating the flakey insides. Mmm… Can you tell I love croissants? And they only have 150 calories per each mini croissant, so it won’t break your diet. And I served them with strawberries, so that counts as healthy, right?? 
Voila! French pastry breakfast.
Two thumbs up, Mr. Trader Joe. I’ll be trying those chocolate ones next.  And, until I can get back to California, these croissants will have to stand in for the real thing. Though I would kill for some authentic San Francisco Sourdough bread… How do we get *that* in Florida???

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