Killer is a good way to describe it. Not in a nutritional way (I hope!!), but they are just so incredibly good!!!
Back, many, many many moons ago, there was this girl... (yeah, I know, too many stories start this way...and let me warn you in advance, this is a long one)...
Anyway, I was an awkward high school freshman sentenced to summer school for the heinous infraction of not turning in my final assignment, which was to be an autobiography. Despite my protestations that by its very nature it was a work in progress and a rough draft was the best I could muster, the Headmaster insisted I spend half my summer in the clutches of the Jesuits learning the error of my ways. The one saving Grace of summer school was that the fact that times were tough, and in order to continue to offer summer school, my high school needed to open it's doors to the similarly sentenced inhabitants of the local girls' schools. As an inmate of a single sex Jesuit foundry, trust me, summer school wasn't such a bad thing. Anyway, there was this girl. We met on the subway, coincidentally headed toward the same class on the 1st day of the summer sentence. As I said, I was awkward, shy and gawky. She wasn't.
She was confident, attractive, quirky and dangerous. And for reasons unbeknownst to me, really wanted to hang out with me. So we did just that. For most of June, this young lady whose name I can't remember and I hung out, We traveled to and fro on the subway. We ditched class and went to museums. And on one occasion snuck into the Capitol to watch Congress debating one aspect of Reaganomics or another. It was much easier in those days. You could pretty much just walk right in. One bright June day, standing in front of Union Station, I lit a cigarette. Apparently, only half of it lit, and she looked at me wide eyed, snatched it out of my hand and screamed "CANOE!!!". I kind of stared at her slackjawed, not knowing what the hell she was talking about. She, in her typical undaunted demeanor, said "It means someone loves you. But only if you can do this..." With that, she took the cigarette and ran the unlit side down the length of my face, causing no pain or damage. I laughed. She took a drag of it, and looking off into the distance said " Well I guess that settles it."
With that, she tossed the smoke in one direction and her long chestnut hair in the other, ran into the station and boarded the train about to leave the platform.
The next day, there she was, on our regular subway train. I, being the dork that I was, was happy to have her company, but didn't notice the subtle change in her demeanor. Later that day, after school let out, we were walking down the street not really talking. She whirled around and grabbed me in that familiar way, her green eyes glinting mischief. "Have you ever had a marzipan croissant?" she asked in an unfamiliar, almost urgent way. "No, what's that?" was all I could muster. With that, she grabbed my hand, led me to the street, hailed a cab and practically shoved me inside. She barked directions for the driver to deliver us to a part of town that had yet to undergo the gentrification rendering it safe for upper middle class teenagers to visit. Naive and trusting, I went along for the ride. At our destination, she paid the driver with several bills from my wallet and led me to a small brick storefront in a part of town where window bars and plexiglass were the norm. This place, however, had a wide, open entryway that welcomed customers to the aromas of a hundred years of patrons in search of fresh baked bread. We entered, and the proprietor, who seemed to recognize her, greeted her in a machine gun barrage of French that was totally lost on my 15 year old, one year of Spanish class ears. She answered in kind, and soon we were seated at a small wrought iron table eating and drinking the most exotic things my 15 year old brain could comprehend. First there was this coffee. Except it wasn't coffee, it was in a big mug, and it was creamy and earthy, and not bitter like the coffee I'd had before. She put one lump of sugar in it for me, and it made it even better. Then there was this bread. It was flaky and chewy. At first it was rather bland, but then I got the flavor of the crust, sort of caramelized and funky, But it was also sort of sweet somehow, in a chewy, crispy, funky sort of way. Then, on the second or third bite, I hit the filling. Chocolate, but not like any sort of chocolate I'd ever tasted before. Somewhat bitter, like coffee, but pleasing somehow. And this other flavor..I couldn't identify. It was sort of bitter cherry, but really earthy. Sort of like Dr. Pepper on steroids.
We drank our coffee and munched our funky bread in an awkward silence. She'd always been quick to bring up a topic of conversation before, so I figured maybe she was upset about something. Eventually, we exited the cozy brick establishment into the setting sun. I still couldn't help feeling she was upset about something, but damned if I could figure out what it was. She casually hailed a cab, and as the neolithic Checker Marathon pulled to the curb in front of us, did something completely out of character. She kissed me. I'm not talking Aunt Mary giving you a peck on the cheek either. I'm talking full on, rock you back on your heels, fill your head with Beethoven's 9th, movie kiss here. My head exploded, imploded, rotated and left my body all at the same time. Before I knew what was happening, she was in the cab and pulling away. I never saw her again. She never came to the last week of summer school. For the past 30 years, I've been standing on that curb wondering what the Hell happened.
That's how good these croissants are :)
**Completely true story by the way.