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V-Day Gift? Croissant My Heart, Hope to Dine


I know what I'd like for Valentine's Day. Forget the soppy cards and the diamonds. I'lltake breakfast in bed. Breakfast in bed would be tribute enough. And it doesn't even involve cooking.

This is what I'd like: A glass of freshly squeezed blood-orange juice (this Mediterranean citrus with its luscious red juice is just appearing at the farmers markets and local produce departments). Good strong coffee with a splash of foamy milk. And a croissant. Or, on second thought, make that two.

I am not envisioning one of those bloated crescents that look as if they could do double duty as a balloon. What I'd like is a classic croissant from Michel Richard.

That's the pastry shop/cafe on Robertson Boulevard where the pastry chef--later chef and founder of Citrus and all its offspring--first made his mark.

He no longer owns this sweet little shop that bears his name, but the morning pastries, and particularly the croissants, carry on. Size normale, they're a burnished gold in color.

The taste is buttery and yeasty, and as soon as you take a bite, your lap is showered in flakes of gold. No butter. No jam.

Add sunlight playing across the bed, birds chirping outside--and Murray Perahia playing Bach on the stereo.

This could be love.

* Michel Richard, 310 S. Robertson Blvd., Los Angeles; (310) 275-5707. Open Monday to Saturday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; croissants, $1.40 each.

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