Two pastry shops newly opened in downtown Mountain View this summer pay tribute to an international style but tailor their wares to the Mountain View market.
French pastry specialist Maison Alyzee at 212 Castro St. imports its butter – and its pastry chefs – from the home country but also offers staples of a local weekend breakfast, a typical menu of espresso drinks and a generous range of $5 children’s breakfast plates.
Like Alexander’s Patisserie at 209 Castro, Maison Alyzee stocks croissants, kouign amann, macarons and super-fancy individual French patisserie in the $9-$11 range, including eclairs, mille-feuille and a deeply dark chocolate cake.
Alyzee’s eye-catching Paris-Brest ($10.50) sandwiches hazelnut cream between two rings of choux pastry with almonds.
Local pastry fans have taken to review platforms like Yelp to pit the two bakeries against each other in a croissant face-off, and the shops do in fact face each other across Castro Street.
In addition to individual baked goods, Alyzee sells house-made breads and serves up a modest menu of egg dishes, sandwiches and salads, including both adult and child sizes of the classic croque monsieur, with house bread, smoked ham, a bechamel-like mornay sauce and Gruyere cheese.
Persian sweets and specialty cakes
A block east, Treats on Castro at 282 Castro St. opened to showcase the Zangeneh family’s beloved Persian cookies, but it also stocks cupcakes, cakes in a variety of styles, vegan and gluten-free pastries and a range of small-batch treats created by local entrepreneurs in addition to a large range of baking and decorating supplies.
The sweets shop is a sister store to C’est Si Bon Bakery in south San Jose, which custom-decorates cakes for celebrations. General manager Shay Zangeneh, who hails from the family that created and runs both locations, said the family’s sideline in individual pastries was often overlooked at the original, cake-focused location.
“It’s always been the dream of my dad and my mom to find the best possible walk-in traffic location,” Zangeneh said.
When the family moved to the Bay Area from Australia, Zangeneh’s mother’s reputation as a master cookie-maker preceded them, and they found friends and relatives of Australian cookie fans turning up in search of the cardamom and rose-scented biscuits of their homeland. The cookies, which are hand-shaped and often include almonds, walnuts or pistachios, are joined in the shop by cupcakes, cakes-in-a-cup and even cakes made for dogs. They also sell a house-made Persian tea blend, traditionally de rigueur during any and every episode of cookie eating.
“We realized what’s kind of lacking in this area is vegan desserts, gluten-free desserts and dog treats,” Zangeneh said. “We have people right now driving from San Ramon and Fremont just to pick up dog birthday cakes.”
A cold case stocks silvanas, a Filipino dessert of buttercream sandwiched between two meringue cookies and coated with cookie crumbs. Crumbwich Silvanas, the local enterprise behind this hard-to-find treat, has been selling its treats at local farmers’ markets and offers flavors ranging from chocolate to plum, coconut pandan and mango.