Tracey Clark, Managing Director of Bridgehead Coffeehouse, doesn’t know it, but I am her number one fan and number one fan of her great coffeehouses here in the nation’s capital. So it should come as no shock that I would want to be first in line at the opening of the 11th store at the southwest corner of Metcalfe and Sparks Street Mall this morning at 6:30 am. And first in line, I was. Normally, that hour of the day is spent with my walking buddy on the Trans Canada Trail doing an invigorating 4 kms to put a refreshing start on the day. Today would be a surprise for her. Instead, when I pulled up in front of her house, I told her to get in and wrap my pashmina around her eyes as she was going for a ride!

The first lattes on the bar were pulled to perfection. Although I had my heart set on meeting former Eastern Barista Champ Laura P. and World Barista Championship Judge Ian C., we were told that they would not be arriving until 7:00 am.

The opening also coincided with the launch day of their new croissants, now baked in-house from scratch. Not one to normally indulge, I felt compelled to find out how they compared to The French Baker selection they used to bring in for their customers. Their selection includes: Plain, Ham and Gruyère, and finally the classic Pain au Chocolat. Almond Croissant coming soon.

I have had the pleasure of enjoying true French croissants for a month in the summer of 2007 and what we sampled this morning is certainly a good approximation of that French experience. It was pretty obvious that they have a hit on their hands. I enjoyed the Pain au Chocolat and my walking buddy had the Ham and Gruyère. I do want to wish only the best for The French Baker, but I have to say Bridgehead has nailed it. If they can do this everyday with their new croissants, they will be creating yet another reason for customers to flock to their stores. The pastries were “ridiculously” flakey! Only Paris is better.

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