By Brett Callwood
The first thing that strikes you when parking at Frogs Organic Bakery on Crenshaw is the art covering the side wall. The chef sliding a baguette into a brick oven, the Statue of Liberty on one ride and the Eiffel Tower on the other, the French phrases – it all sets the scene right from the get-go. The greeting from the staff on entry only adds to the bonhomie.
“When Marc Lory and Compagnon du Devoir chefs created Frogs Bakery, the sole objective of the newly created bakery was to respect the tradition and art of making bread by fulfilling this tradition,” they say on their website. “10 years ago, the first Sourdough starter was produced to create the first loafs. Like all the best wines and champagnes in the world, greatness comes with time. The great taste of Frogs bakery breads comes from this unique proprietary starter, that makes all the difference between Frogs breads and the rest.”
That feeling of tradition, of processes and recipes passed down and carried across the Atlantic, is what makes this little Gardena bakery so special. It’s a tiny kitchen and waiting area – there are a few seats outside but it’s not really an eat-in venue. But the smell of the baking, and the sights of the pastries behind glass at the counter, is incredibly enticing.
One of the major strengths of Frogs is that it offers both vegan and non-vegan treats. We tried both. On the non-dairy side, we opted for the almond croissant and the chocolate croissant. Both were light and airy, with a crispy, flaky crust. The almond croissant is filled with a layer of almond paste – thicker than cream but thinner than marzipan. It’s rich and nutty, and contrasts perfectly with the sweet bread. The pan au chocolat is similar, but filled with a dark, rich chocolate. Neither offer any clues that there was no butter or milk involved in the ingredients.
On the non-vegan side, we tried the cheese pastry. Just as flakey as the croissant, it’s huge and covered in a crusted, strong cheese. It’s a decadent, cheesy delight.
Finally, the apple turnover is a thick pastry, much denser than the croissants, and filled with a tart apple paste. After the cheese pastry, the fragrant fruit works wonderfully.
Everything at Frogs looks and smells great though. Hop in and try something.
Frogs Organic Bakery is located at 14809 Crenshaw Blvd., Gardena 90249. Call 310-386-0406 or visit frogsorganicbakery.com.