Over the summer, 
Pandor Artisan Boulangerie & Cafe launched in the same plaza as Chronic Tacos and The Counter burger. It's at the corner of 17th and Irvine Blvd, but we still count it. With fancy pastries and Portola coffee available, it was strip mall chic. Shuji photographed excellent food porn in his write-up. 

Though we have lots of great ethnic food in Orange County, great French food is hard to come by. Spurred by the dirth of worthwhile French breads in these Orange Acres, Raffi and Tiffany Sepetjian decided to open a bakery and make their own. Pandor Artisan Boulangerie & Café opened Monday in Newport Beach's Westcliff Plaza.

Click here to see yesterday's slideshow of Pandor's beautiful pastries and café menu.

The Sepetijians went about it in a big way. They first opened a wholesale bakery in Tustin last year that supplies parbaked breads to many of the high-dollar hotel restaurants like the Ritz Carlton and the St. Regis, to name but two. Their wholesale bakery is called RTR Artisan Bakery, and you may have seen them vending at the Sunday farmer's market at Irvine's Great Park.

Pandor's baking is done off-site at RTR and delivered to Newport Beach. Some of the more fragile items like the croissants are finished-baked at Pandor to ensure the crusts are as crisp and fresh as possible.

The Sepetijians hired a solid team of bakers to deliver on their promise of great French bread. The rustic, hard-crusted baguettes, notably the multi-grain bread, had the aroma and flavor that only slow, cool, mult-stage fermentation of dough can achieve.

Where we have only the one word in English for bakery, the French distinguish between boulangerie and pâtisserie, because breads and pastries require two separate skillsets, and traditionally, a baker doesn't excel at both. French Master Baker Julien Pietravalle oversees breads production, while Pastry Chef Serge Bertrand consults on the delicate pastries. Chef Eric Cuenin runs the café menu of breakfast, lunch and dinner items. 


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