Long weekend? Lots of time on your hands? Well then, why not set off on the holy grail of all journeys to find the best croissant in the GTA?
I had heard a rumour that the most authentic tasting croissant in all of Torontoland and her humble surroundings could be found in the heart of Etobicoke. That is to say, not exactly where the trend-setting types are hanging out. You know you've traveled beyond the downtown core when you haven't seen a single hipster for kilometers and kilometers, when trendy coffee shops turn into mom and pop shops, turn into gas stops. There is less foot traffic to be had in general, the streets are almost devoid of people.
Now before you start calling out for help, you spot a sign on the left side of the street (you're on Dundas West, by the way) that says Ma Maison (4243 Dundas West), which translates into My House, for all of you non-Frenchies. It doesn't look like much from the outside, but when you walk in, you suddenly realize where all of the population of Etobicoke has been hiding. There is a line inside that coils around most of the shop's interior.
Your eyes are assaulted with all sorts of French treats, madeleines, macarons, but you need to stay on task. You came here for a croissant and you will leave with one. You heard that the gentleman who runs the place, Patrick Alléguède, is a classically-trained, award-winning chef who amongst his many accomplishments was selected to be part of a culinary team for the pre-opening of EuroDisneyland, as per Ma Maison's website. What's good enough for the French Mickey Mouse aught to be plenty good enough for you.
You take one bite into the breakfast pastry and are transformed. The butter is perfect, the ratio of flakiness to soft interior is just right. You feel instantly sad for all the other croissants in the city that are being passed off as the real thing but are stale or undercooked or taste like cardboard. This guy and his staff know what they are doing. You are in good hands.
The inside of the shop is homey and highlights the many products that would make your life all that much better while expanding your midsection. You could blow a whole paycheck on this joint but won't this time. You're still savouring the croissant.
Best Croissant Runner-Up: Extra Butter (283 Roncesvalles Ave.)
Now all you pastry aficionados, let me know where you've tasted the best croissant in the GTA?