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Mountain View La Panotiq set to open Monday

Original post made by Max Hauser, Old Mountain View, on Jan 15, 2015

For a year or more, two new specialty bakeries were pending in downtown Mountain View. Alexander's Patisserie (209 Castro) opened first, in October; it's a wholesale bakery for the Alexander's restaurant group and potentially other commercial customers, and also sells pastries and breads retail, with limited seating for on-site consumption.

La Panotiq, the other new local bakery, will open Monday (January 19) at 331 Castro, CEO Maria Guterman told me today. (The site has been interviewing and hiring for weeks, and today the owners conferred with staff amid café tables in the opened storefront. Signage went up Sunday.)

La Panotiq is both a new chain and new type of bakery-café concept, with other Bay-Area locations already open and more planned. La Panotiq is also more a restaurant than Alexander's Patisserie, featuring sandwiches, salads, and charcuterie. Breafast, lunch, and dinner service are planned, though not all initially. Web Link

La Panotiq's pastries not only use all-natural, non-commodity ingredients, but get their raw pastry doughs directly from France, frozen -- made with such components as France's famous AOC (protected source-name) regional butters. The concept is to closely replicate the products of France's countless local pâtissiers and boulangers.

La Panotiq's parent firm is La Tartine Group (unrelated to either SF's Tartine bakery or Redwood City's Café La Tartine). It's the brainchild of the Guterman family, with Ukrainian roots and a passion for food, who've said they were inspired by pastries they found widely in France, but rarely in the US. The name "PanotiQ" plays on the French term panothèque ("a library of panoramas" -- as a bibliothèque is one of books, or a discothèque literally a library of recordings).

(I posted a version of this report in May 2014, but later pulled it on news that it was premature for Mountain View.)

Comments (2)

Posted by Max Hauser
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 19, 2015 at 2:53 pm

Max Hauser is a registered user.

I've now tried some things at the new Mountain-View location, which opened a few hours ago. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served, 7AM to 10PM daily.

It's very much a bakery-café, serving moderately-priced meals in extensive indoor and outdoor seating, and take-out. The products and style are much more European than at say Le Boulanger up the street. And the displayed pastry inventory, on the first day of operation, is wider than those at Le Boulanger and Alexander's Patisserie combined (and Alexander's took some weeks to ramp up to its current offerings). All sorts of locally unusual pastries, tartes Tatin, little cakes, canelés, and of course the currently inescapable multi-colored sandwich macarons.

What I sampled so far:

"Jambon beurre" sandwich, $10, was of the French ham-sandwich style that I first encountered in that country decades ago. They take a baguette, apply a little good butter and a thin layer of some flavorful filling. (Vs. the more filling-heavy US sandwich style.) This one had a bit more ham than I remember from France; the ham was very flavorful, the baguette in a light style. Not bad, and a refreshing change from US assumptions of what "sandwich" implies.

(Half-sandwich combos with salad are $7.50 or 8.50 depending on choices.)

Charcuterie platter $14: a cutting board with paper-thin prosciutto, Jalapeño salami, rather good coppa; slices of brie and Gruyère cheeses and baguette bread; cornichons, assorted berries. 2-3 could share as an appetizer.

$3.50 croissant. The feuilletage pastry tasted authentically "French." This was a good-sized croissant (vs. the tiny, and yet pricier, versions at Voyageur du Temps in Los Altos), and it wasn't gratuitously sweet, or over-the-top crumbly (which I associate with starchier-than-usual flours) per Alexander's Patisserie nearby. It was clearly not the dull bready product commonly passed off as "croissants" around here. Difference I noticed from croissants in France was un-crisp surface layers, as if it'd been baked some time ago. I'll revisit the croissants when the bakery has gotten more experience.

"Liège waffle." New to me, but since that part of Europe is famous for waffle pastries of several forms, I tried it at PanotiQ. This was less light than it looked, a firm and fairly rich pastry molded in a waffle shape, served with whipped cream on the side.

Besides the many sweet pastries are some savory ones (like "salmon puff pastry," $7). That's part of a little savories menu ("sarriette") along with ratatouille, mushroom flan, Cretan vegetable tart. etc. which I look forward to trying over time.

Well organized and very well stocked for a first day open, albeit there was new-employee nervous energy (personnel scurrying around, asking how is everything? -- as I drafted this there over good cappuccino, I was asked that three times in a 5-minute period). Some confusion over the order-entry software and order deliveries are sure to be resolved with a little experience. (As always, if you demand polished established-restaurant service, wait until the restaurant has acquired some experience before going there.)

Posted by Baxman
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jan 21, 2015 at 9:15 pm

Baxman is a registered user.

Thanks Max!

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