[Photographs: Erin Jackson]

In my mind, traveling and treats go hand in hand. So when left to my own devices on a recent trip to downtown Sacramento, my first mission was to hunt down a great bakery, preferably one with decent coffee. I found both almost immediately at Estelle's Patisserie. Inside, the French-style bakery and espresso bar oozes cozy warmth, while outside, you get a sprinkling of local color as people congregate around the trolley line.

The display case holds a knee-buckling assortment of tempting French pastries, including macarons, madeleines, tarts, and cakes sold by the slice. But when confronted with so many options, I go with a more dependable pastry: pain au chocolat.

Estelle's version ($2.95) is delicious. The pastry is flaky, yet simultaneously soft and moist, with a sweet and mellow buttery undertone. Inside, there's a stripe of smooth milk chocolate, and a darker, richer-tasting drizzle on top. It's sweet, but light enough that pairing it with a sugary latte, made with beans from local roaster Temple Coffee, is totally reasonable. And while it looks large enough to share, you're going to want the whole thing for yourself. I tried saving some for later, and even that didn't work out.

Estelle's Patisserie

901 K. Street, Sacramento, CA 95814 (map); 916-551-1500; estellespatisserie.com

About the author: Erin Jackson is a food writer and photographer who is obsessed with discovering the best eats in San Diego. You can find all of her discoveries on her San Diego food blog EJeats.com. On Twitter, she's @ErinJax


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