Archive for the ‘Bakery’ Category

Westman’s Bagels

March 11, 2018

Seattle has long been lacking a decent Jewish bakery or bagelry so I was thrilled with Westman’s opened up two blocks away from me. This tiny walk-up counter features several fantastic varieties of bagels and cream cheese that taste like home to me, but what folks might not know is that there are also quite a few Jewish (and non-Jewish) pastries.

On my first visit I got a nutella rugelach and salted chocolate chip cookie. It’s hard to find rugelach in Seattle so I didn’t have high expectations, but this tasted pretty legit! Rugelach can be difficult and time-consuming to make so I’m impressed that Westman’s takes the time to bake these little treats. That being said, the cookie was even better – actually one of the best I’ve had in Seattle. It isn’t very big but what it lacks in size it makes up in flavor.

On my next visit, I went straight for a chocolate roll, but couldn’t resist the hamantash they’d made for Purim (another difficult-to-find Jewish specialty). The roll was a little on the dry side and had a pronounced orange flavor that didn’t appeal to me, but the hamantash was a treat. The dough was perfectly crumbly and I liked the addition of sesame seeds to the apricot filling. If this little street stand were only open on the weekends, I’d be perfectly content.

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Despi Delite Bakery

February 26, 2018

I had never heard of Ube before I moved to Seattle and now I can’t get enough of it. Despi Delite Bakery in Beacon Hill makes good use of the purple tuber, incorporating it into several of their desserts. Most appealing to me was the Ube bread – the dough is similar to that of Portuguese sweet bread, and the filling is ube.

The bread and filling were soft and extremely fresh. If you’ve never had ube bread before, please seek it out because it’s worth searching for. I was less blown away by their version of the cronut, but was redeemed with more ube, this time in cheesecake form:

Similar in appearance, texture and quality to Hood’s Famous Bakeshop, this small cake kept nicely in the fridge for several days and gave me something to look forward to when I got home from work. Delite is a great little spot for ube addicts, and you can’t beat the prices!

Liberation Bakery

October 15, 2017

If you want a healthier dessert option, Liberation Bakery offers gluten-free, paleo, raw, and vegan desserts. I see them every Sunday at the Capitol Hill Farmer’s Market, and last weekend I decided to give them a try (even though I am not the kind of person to seek out a healthier dessert option).

They have everything from vegan “cheesecake,” to raw chocolate, to gluten-free vegan chocolate chip cookies. Not my usual cup of tea, but I got a small sampling.

On the left is a coconut truffle, with a layer of pretty intense chocolate. The middle bite is a coconut bliss ball – my favorite of the three. On the right is a peanut butter cup, which could have used a little more sugar (natural of course). If you’re in the mood to be healthy, don’t read this blog. But do get treats from Liberation Bakery.

Beach Bakery

October 8, 2017

Beach Bakery is truly a sweet treat for the Rainier Beach neighborhood. With strong espresso and strong wifi, it’s a great place to sit yourself down and work a while, which is what I did last Saturday. I experienced friendly service and a relaxing atmosphere, not to mention the best chocolate-banana muffin of my life:

The muffin, which tasted of real banana and quality chocolate (rather than a vanilla muffin with some chocolate chips sprinkled in) was so good I decided to keep going. The next treat was a peanut butter and jelly bar:

Again, they nailed the flavors – not overly sweet, with strong flavors. I was inspired to buy some farmer’s market bread, freshly ground peanut butter, and local jam and spent the work-week eating some amazing PBJ sandwiches. Lastly, I collected a few treats to go:

On the bottom left is a lime-coconut tart, with a Nanaimo bar in the back and a portion of a Tres Leches cake on the right. The lime tart and Nanaimo bar were the stars of the show, with the lime tart having an intensely lime flavor and fresh, crumbly crust and the Nanaimo bar having a lovely cream filling. I loved the care that went into all the desserts and the prices are more reasonable than other spots in Seattle. I highly recommend this spot if you’re in South Seattle (and if you’re not, it’s worth making the trek).

Festivals and Farmers Markets

June 3, 2017

Spring may have come late to Seattle, but this year’s food truck festival and farmers markets are right on time. If you’ve never checked out Fremont’s glorious Food Truck Rodeo, put it on your bucket list – it’s one of Seattle best foodie events. After thoroughly scoping out all the offerings available, I had lunch at It’s Bao Time and dessert at Street Donuts. Not only are the donuts fresh out of the fryer, they have all sorts of clever topping combinations.

I wanted the Dulce de Leche but they were out, so we went with Nutella and powdered sugar.

These were seriously addictive – some of the best minis I’ve ever had. This is a truck worth seeking out if you can track it down.

Several weekends later I lucked out again at the Madrona Farmers Market with a new stand – Sweet Season Bakery. They are actually based in Arlington but should be at the Madrona market all summer and I can safely say you will love anything you buy. I can say it safely because I bought everything.

Okay, maybe not everything, but you can see homemade “oreos,” fudge, peanut butter sandwich cookies, pretzel cookies, and shortbread cookies. They freeze really well so I was able to stop myself from eating everything in one sitting and instead allow myself one or five treats a day. Get thee to the Madrona market next Friday afternoon!

Hood Famous Bakeshop

February 26, 2017

When you’re too much of a foodie to eat at the Cheesecake Factory but you still want that creamy, tangy goodness (and you’re willing to deal with parking in Ballard), check out Hood’s Famous Bakeshop. Instead of Snickers and Pumpkin flavors, you’ll fall in love with more interesting Filipino flavors like ube and guava. The shop itself is little more than a hole-in-the-wall, so choose your cakes (mini size and up) and go. I went all mini for a family dinner:

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The red top left is the white chocolate guava, the orange next to it is mango, the purple is the ube (purple yam), the green is coconut pandan (a green leaf used in southeast Asia for flavor), and the brown is Vietnamese coffee. The big hits were the coffee and the mango, but I preferred the ube which is what Hood is famous for. It doesn’t taste like yam – the flavor is pretty close to vanilla – but the ube gives the cake a lovely texture (the color ain’t bad either). If you’re throwing a summer dinner party for out-of-town guests (or, for that matter, a winter dinner party for Seattleites) these will be big hit. The ube cake is also sold at local grocery stores so there’s really no excuse for going to the Cheesecake Factory (unless, like me, you really like that Oreo Cheesecake!).

Pike Place Bakery

February 5, 2017

This old-school bakery has staying power – it’s been at The Market since the 80s and draws in the tourists thanks to a solid location close to the fish-throwing action.  They get mixed reviews on Yelp, and the sign could probably use an update, but I can’t deny the attraction of their “Texas Donuts” – literally a donut the size of a small child.

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I doubted my ability to eat a Texas Donut, so I asked the saleslady for her recommendations (okay, I WAS confident in my ability, which is why I didn’t get one). I was told to try the buttermilk bar, a sort of donut/pastry with a sweet buttermilk-flavored filling:

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It turned out to be quite tasty. A little too sweet, but it was fresh, buttermilky, and decadent. I ate half and dunked the other half in my coffee the next day – both experiences were highly enjoyable. I also got the Chinese Almond Cookie at the saleslady’s recommendation:

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Now, I don’t love almond flavor so I wasn’t sure I’d like these. And truthfully, they were a little “almondy” for my taste, but I recognized that the buttery texture was on point, the chocolate filling was a nice counterpoint to the sugary almond cookie, and that the cookies were fresh and made with care. Overall, I was pleasantly surprised  – this bakery is not the tourist trap I was expecting.

Sweet and Savory

January 17, 2017

The only way to get through Seattle’s winter is to get out. I made myself do just that last Saturday – it was sunny, so I decided to visit the U-District Farmer’s Market where I found the delightful new stand Sweet and Savory Catering by Cynthia Brock. Huddled in the freezing temperatures, she was selling her homemade cookies and pastries along with more savory fare like her “winter jam” – a sort of chutney with nuts, quince, and spices that is amazing on sandwiches or paired with Stilton cheese. I chose an assortment of treats, including an apple-fig galette, lemon bar, and apricot bar:

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The lemon and apricot bars were spot-on with a lovely shortbread crust and flavorful topping. The galette was a bit heavily spiced for my taste, although the crust was solid. This woman knows her way around a stick of butter.  Just as amazing were her Christmas cookies:

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I didn’t share. I ate them all myself and didn’t feel bad about it at all – they were that good. Plenty of butter, sweet but not overly so, and tasting so incredibly fresh. This catering company is worth checking out while Cynthia is still at the U-District market!

Sea Wolf Bakers

October 9, 2016

If you’re more concerned with substance over style, or just want to grab some of the best bread in Seattle to up your dinner party game, check out bare bones Sea Wolf Bakers in Fremont. They do one thing, and do it really well – bread and pastries. They have a warehouse/wholesale type space with a couple tables and minimal service, but the folks there are friendly and hardworking and most importantly, excellent bakers of bread.

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I bought a baguette and a loaf of sourdough rye, as well as a couple pastries. The baguette was of the traditional French variety – meaning it cuts up the roof of your mouth and has a high crust to dough ratio. The rye was dark, very like Russian black bread, with a wonderful fermenty-tasting bite to it. As for the pastries, one was a chocolate croissant and the other a huckleberry danish. 

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Both were outstanding (especially since they were still warm), with crispy, flaky outsides and buttery but light innards. There is definitely a level of perfection and hand-made care that sets Sea Wolf apart from lesser, grocery-store ready spots (ahem, Essentials) and makes their bread worth seeking out whenever possible. I know I will.

Marketing in Magnolia

September 18, 2016

I’ve lived in Seattle for a decade and somehow I’ve never been to Magnolia – not even Discovery Park. I decided to rectify this situation while also checking a couple bakeries off my list, including Cereal Box Bakery. Cereal Box doesn’t have a storefront, but operates a delivery service (baked goods and fresh baked bread delivered to your doorstep!) and has a booth at the Magnolia Farmers Market. That’s where I found them, and selected a peach muffin top and a jam-filled scone.

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Both were notable in their lower-than-usual sugar levels, which I actually appreciated. It was more like breakfast and less like dessert, which was fine… because my next stop was Petit Pierre Bakery. No shortage of sugar here!

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I started with a homemade pop tart, which was nothing like the grocery store variety. Flakey, with a lovely jam filling and homemade icing – you don’t need to be a kid to appreciate these. For later, I got a raspberry chocolate brownie type thing, which was less impressive but still enjoyable:

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It was a little on the dry side. I would stick to the pastries and more traditional French desserts – their lemon tarts and macarons looked pretty good. The cafe itself was cute and popular, with excellent espresso and friendly service.