Thursday, April 16, 2009

Killing Your Greatness

Years ago, I proclaimed (in print) that an unexceptional Italian bakery in Williamsburg was baking NYC's best croissants. The place had no Frenchy genes, and showed no talent in any of their other pastries. These guys were all about lousy biscotti, lousy Italian bread, and repugnant cookies painted unnatural colors. Their stupendous croissants were such an anomaly that I didn't trust my senses, and dragged French and Belgian friends out to Brooklyn to confirm - and confirm they did, with great excitement. 

Then, shortly after my article was published, the bakery stopped making croissants. Readers would make the trek, and be rebuffed by gruff, unsmiling bakers, who grew more and more annoyed with the arrival of each new customer my article had brought their way.

There have since been many similar examples of this phenomenon. And now, the drab and unexceptional Mexican bakery in San Francisco's Mission District which just happened to make the best macaroons ("cocadas" in Spanish) I've ever had, has stopped making them. And they seem equally annoyed by customers asking for them.

I sometimes wonder if I've for some reason been excluded from hearing about a key rule or two by which the world operates.

1 comment:

Big Fella said...

Real genius is poking your head up and recognizing the value in something others would think is mundane or otherwise unremarkable and figuring out what you've got. The problem with both bakeries is they had no genius, just regular grunts, keeping their heads down, grinding out stuff, with plenty of other grunts with their heads down as customers, buying just the regular stuff.

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