Rows of colorful cakes draw customers’ eyes before they pay for their food. Paris Baguette’s certified bakers made these cakes for customers to enjoy for any celebration.
Photos by Emily Shaw
Memories of eating sugary pastries with my mom, while waiting for my siblings to return from school flood my mind as I walk toward a Paris Baguette in Encino, Calif., on Sunday, Oct. 31.
I had missed hanging out at one of my favorite places as a child, so I had decided earlier in the week to go with a friend.
As soon as I walk through the door, soft, upbeat music and a nostalgic, sweet scent greet me. My eyes are immediately drawn to the French and Asian-inspired pastries, and my hands reach for a tray and a pair of tongs so I can choose which ones I want.
I search for my favorites: a sugar-covered, twisted donut and a chocolate cream bread. I have eaten these since I was six years old, living in Seoul, South Korea, then in Leonia, New Jersey and now in Los Angeles.
Every year for my birthday, my parents would pick up a strawberry soft cream cake from Paris Baguette, and we would sometimes even buy it on non-birthday days.
I gather my carefully selected pastries, and I am met with stunning rows of cakes by the register, and even though it’s noon on a random Sunday, I cannot refuse a slice of cake.
The lightness of the cake, the fluffiness of the cream and the freshness of the strawberries are unparalleled and beat any other cake I’ve ever had. As a girl who loves all things chocolate, that is saying a lot.
I sit down at a table with my selection of goodies: a slice of cake, chocolate cream bread, a matcha mochi donut, two twisted donuts, a hashbrown ham and cheese bread and a vanilla latte.
I used to wait for my siblings to return from doing schoolwork at the tutoring center down the street; I remember feeling excited to share my treats with them. After they finally arrive, however, my siblings and I would always fight over the last twisted donut.
As I sip on my hot drink, I am reminded of being younger and sitting with my mom at a Paris Baguette in New Jersey. She would let me try her coffee. It tasted bitter back then, but now, all I taste is sweet.
The comforting blue color palette and patterned tiles on the walls surround me as I enjoy my food. Perhaps the charm of chain businesses is that the consistent design brings up feelings of nostalgia, no matter which location I’m at.
Paris Baguette is a place that allowed me to further bond with my family but has also helped me feel connected to my Korean heritage, even if I’m not physically in South Korea.
Moving from South Korea to a predominantly white area in New Jersey, I cherished the times my mom took me and my siblings a few towns over, where Paris Baguette and many other Korean restaurants and businesses existed.
Sweets have definitely become my love language. I am forever grateful to Paris Baguette for my beloved, childhood memories.
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