For French-inspired baked goods in Sacramento, Estelle's Patisserie is where you want to be. Owner Esther Son says that all her life, even when she was in business school and doing other things, she always knew that one day she'd own a bakery. A lifelong obsession with sweets led to a decade of planning, studying, traveling, and reading up about pastries before she opened her shop in downtown Sacramento. And while she says her tastebuds are finely tuned, allowing her to pinpoint what amount of sugar is just right, she confesses that she's a better cook than a baker.
At Estelle's, Esther works in tandem with her staff of professional bakers, meshing her own ideas with their experience to develop French-inspired baked goods, breads, and sweets. Her mission is admirable: to bring authentic, affordable, and delicious pastries to Sacramento, so locals don't need to travel to Napa or the Bay Area to score top quality goods.
If you're a first timer, the pastry case can be daunting, with options ranging from delicate, single-serving cakes and tarts to rustic cookies and French macarons. To help make your decision easier, we got Esther's top five picks, which include a light strawberry cake that's easy to say yes to (even when you're watching your waistline) and an almond croissant made with 70-80 layers of dough. Check out all of her favorite items in the slideshow above »
FYI: If you're craving something savory, a baguette sandwich is a smart bet. Estelle's master bread maker came from Bouchon, and was trained by Thomas Keller himself.
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