Pastry snobs from all over the city and beyond make regular pilgrimages to Honoré Artisan Bakery (Ballard, 1413 NW 70th St; 206.706.0435) to taste its kouign amann (pronounced KWEEN yah mahn), and with eminently good reason. I got my first taste of the round, buttery Breton pastry two years ago, when the handsome shop opened its doors on a then-sleepy stretch of Ballard’s NW 70th Street. (Honoré’s neighbor, the equally pilgrimage-worthy Delancey, has changed all of that, at least at dinnertime.) The subtle caramel flavor of this delicious beauty—featuring alternating layers of croissant dough, butter and sugar—is accented with a bit of crunchy sea salt across its burnished, bronze top. Kouign amann—literally “butter cake” in the Celtic language of Brittany—is a thing of wonder: a humble pastry, but so much more for $2.25. And Honoré is the only bakery in town that makes it.
Published November 2010