If you asked me about my favorite breakfast pastry, the hands-down, no-contest answer would be the morning bun at San Francisco's Tartine. Like a cinnamon bun but lighter and flakier, swapping gooey icing and spicy cinnamon for the bittersweetness of orange zest, it's the delicate yet resplendently buttery pastry that dreams are made of.
I've yet to find anything comparable in New York, but Breads Bakery comes close. Their Cinnamon Bun ($3.25) lacks the orange zest, but it does boast a kick of cinnamon that's less raspy than Red Hots but bold enough to keep you paying attention. Most important are the spiral layers of dough with croissant levels of butteriness and less sweet goo than your typical cinnamon bun. Unwind it, nibble off some of the coarse sugar crust, and revel in the contrast between crisp, pastry-like edges and the soft bready interior. Or chomp in, whole hog—there's nothing delicate about this.