BEST CROISSANT - 2003
La Brioche Dorée
Wake up on a Saturday morning longing for a fresh croissant and you're outta luck here. Like most shops in this predominantly Orthodox Jewish neighborhood, Brioche Dorée isn't open on Saturday, and you can't pick up your morning pastry fix on the way home from work the night before because the bakery closes, invariably cleaned out of croissants, at 3:00 p.m. weekdays. The place doesn't take credit cards either. But all the inconveniences are worth it. No bakery in Miami-Dade County makes a more melt-in-your-mouth croissant. (Which explains why La Brioche Dorée has taken this award four times previously.) In fact, though the secret is supposedly genuine French butter, which is denser than American supermarket stuff, it's hard to find a croissant even in France that beats Brioche's, so delectable briefly warmed to bring out the dairy richness that applying extra butter at table seems superfluous. Tip: Brioche bakes half-size mini-croissants that are perfect party brunch fare, but these sell out even earlier than the full-size models, so go early, especially on Sunday when the place opens at 7:00 a.m.