Stress is partly elicited by cortisol, a corticosteroid hormone produced by the cortex of the adrenal gland. Apart from the more subtle changes, such as increased proteolysis and an increase in blood glucose levels, one often associates the emotion with panic, feelings of foreboding, and, of course, an increased desire to eat continuously. As such, we all tend to have our own ways of dealing with stress, and this tends to have an effect on our eating habits. While some people like to eat away the stress and worry, I normally just stop eating regularly. Yes, that is correct; the one deterrent to Andy eating a lot is stress. With the skewed meal times and barely finished meals of all sizes, it would be suffice to say that snacking is typically altogether out. However, there are certain occasions where I will succumb to the more common methods of dealing with stress by indulging in unnecessary carbohydrates, which I really shouldn’t be having considering the fact that I’m literally sitting for 14 hours of the day. In any case, as I was studying at the Kerrisdale Starbucks one day (oh, the number of stories I could tell in relation to this particular location), I neglected to get any of their pastries and instead elected to head across the street to grab some French pastries from Faubourg.
Despite the fact that I now live in the area, I had never been able to pay this quaint little bakery a visit until this summer. Apart from the macarons you see above, they also have desserts, other baked goods, coffee-related beverages, and high tea in the afternoons.
On my first visit here, I was on my way home and decided to eat inside of the store. Thinking that it would be somewhat less indulgent, I ordered the coffee éclair. It was indeed not overwhelmingly sweet, although it was edging a bit too closely to the blander side. That said, I did appreciate the fact that the cream on top didn’t give me the impression that my teeth were rotting. The pastry itself was baked nicely and was not too tough, even after sitting in the display.
As past Andy didn’t think the éclair would be enough, I also ordered two macarons: the salted butter caramel and the mango lime. Overall, they were slightly too tough in texture as opposed to pleasantly chewy, although the shell held intact. This could probably be attributed to the resulting freshness factor after having sat in the window all afternoon. The salted butter caramel was acceptable in flavour, with the salt enunciating the sweetness of the caramel without coming on too strongly. The latter tasted like a rather strange blend of the two; I don’t think I would’ve been able to discern the two flavours if I didn’t know what they were.
On another occasion, I opted for the pistachio croissant. This creation is stuffed with pistachio cream and topped with crushed nuts. I quite enjoyed this pastry, which was quite chewy. The cream was flavourful enough to hold its own against its flaky surroundings, yet it was not too sweet nor creamy. Indeed, the outer layer of the croissant was essentially falling apart slowly as I ate it, but this wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.
The almond croissant is apparently their signature item. Filled with frangipane and topped with sliced almonds and sugar, I could certainly see why. Again, like its pistachio-flavoured relative, one could really sink their teeth into this chewy pastry. It was delicately flavourful without feeling too rich. The frangipane inside gave a nice almond flavour, with the real thing helping it along on top. Unfortunately, if you get this to go, the almonds tend to fall off of the top. I suppose one could just plop them back on if the bag doesn’t capsize in your new Fred Perry bag and leave almonds everywhere.
In retrospect, Faubourg definitely made 5 hour practice exams go by a little more quickly. Although I couldn’t eat during the real thing, staring at another passage about random protein mutations and molecular biology experiments was made better with a croissant nearby to pinch every now and again. The staff are generally friendly and efficient, even though they do sometimes enjoy talking amongst themselves quite openly at times. According to Foursquare, the majority of them all speak Parisien French, which is quite a relief according to this McGill student. If you’re in the area and are looking for a touch of indulgence to get you the afternoon, I would certainly recommend you enter this quaint little patisserie and grab a pastry or two.
Conclusion: Andy ate a lot.
2156 W 41st Ave