Archive for the ‘Pastries’ Category

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.

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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.

Choukette

July 9, 2016

I don’t spend a ton of time in Pike Place Market or downtown Seattle, but for various reasons I’ve found myself there several times in the last few weeks. I’ve been surprised to discover the many hidden gems to be found below the market, on Western, including the newly opened Choukette – a bakery specializing solely in eclairs. Apparently, however, it’s not secret enough, because the shop was almost sold out by noon thanks to some unexpected publicity from Seattle Met and an eclair-loving populace.

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There were, luckily, a few eclairs remaining and I was able to try the lemon curd and the salted caramel flavors.

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To be sure, these works of art are meant to be appreciated by aficionados – while they are neither large nor cheap, neither are they bland, stale, or overly sweet. The pastry dough was light and pillowy and was the perfect accompaniment to the cream. The best part, however, were the toppings. The lemon curd was bright and tart, and the salted caramel was the right notes of sweet-salty. Hopefully this little shop can keep up with demand so that I can come back and try other flavors!

Amandine

May 2, 2016

I probably didn’t need another French bakery in walking distance, but after tasting the macarons at Amandine Bakeshop in Chophouse Row (Cap Hill) I decided it didn’t hurt to have options. And Amandine is an excellent option. Macarons are definitely the reason to come here, although the pastries are also good (I enjoyed my fresh, perfectly crackly danish). Let me say, first of all, that I don’t especially LIKE macarons because I don’t especially LIKE almond flavored desserts.  But I got a black currant macaron to be nice, along with my Danish and madeline.

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All were enjoyable, but the macaron was MUCH more enjoyable than what I was expecting. There was no taste of almond paste, and the texture was not air, and the flavor was not sugar. There was more of a cookie element than I was expecting. And I love cookies. So naturally I had to return to the counter and get a few more to-go:

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On the left is lime mimosa, on the right is grapefruit sage (most of their flavors are equally creative). Both were phenomenal and again, intensely flavored and not too delicately textured. If you need more reason to go to Amandine, they serve Empire Espresso and have free wifi… and they’re near an ice cream shop. What more does one need?

Cederberg Tea House

February 28, 2016

In a city of coffee shops, cocktail bars, and micro breweries, it’s easy to forget about the world’s most popular beverage (yup, that would be tea). Cederberg Tea House is a pleasant reminder, and it’s focus on South African teas and pastries makes it that much more worldly. This versatile Queen Anne cafe is great for working, solid for socializing, and perfect for dessert-blogging. Their specialty (or specialtea if you rather) is Rooibos, which they serve up in the form of artistic and tasty lattes (you can also get it plain or choose among their other teas, or just go with an espresso).  Pastries are made in-house, and range from savory sausage rolls to the ultra rich Malva Pudding.

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Suffice it to say, butter is used generously in their pastries. The Malva Pudding (on the left) was almost too rich for me, but could be shared nicely. The shortbread cookie and South African fudge (front, center) were my favorites, with the shortbread pairing nicely with tea. The cookie was fresh and properly crumbly and the fudge was caramel-flavored without being gooey. Lastly, I had the Hertzog (back center) – a pastry filled with apricot jam and topped with coconut and meringue. The Rooibos Latte served as a nice counter to the rich and sweet snacks, and the spiced foam topping added texture and a flavor boost to the tea. Now I just need to come back try the Bunny Chow (google it)!

Vif Cafe and Wine Bar

February 20, 2016

When I moved to Seattle from Virginia, one of the things I missed most was my local coffee shop, which was also a wine bar, wifi hotspot, bakery, lunch counter – in short, everything you’d need from morning to early evening. In Vif in Fremont I finally found a similar spot – good for working but also for catching up with a friend, delicious espresso if you want a buzz, nice wines by the class if you want a different kind of buzz, and both sweet and savory menu items. My old spot had antique pianos and couches, Vif has minimalist lines and a terrarium.

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I started out with a pastry that seemed to be a cross between a hot cross bun and a cinnamon roll, with a soft, bread-like interior and currants sprinkled throughout. They warmed it up for me and although I meant to save half for my friend, I quickly inhaled the entire roll. Delicate, not too sweet, and very fresh, it made the perfect breakfast.

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Next up was the peanut butter cookie, which I chose after careful consideration because I’m terribly picky about cookies. A peanut butter cookie should be short and crumbly but not overly crunchy, and it should be somewhat soft but never chewy. The peanut flavor should be pronounced. This one was on-point:

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My friend thought it should have been a touch saltier but I liked it just as it was. I also took home some of the pecan toffee candy they make and found it to be extremely addictive (the person at the counter warned me it was her version of crack). I’m glad I found Vif – now if they only had comfy couches and an antique piano…

 

Standard Bakery

January 25, 2016

The Standard Bakery, AKA Pocket Bakery, used to operate a pop-up in the Central District. Sadly, I didn’t make it there before they left to focus on their bread business and pop-ups at the Fremont and U-District Farmer’s Markets. Luckily for me, I got to sample their baked goods a few weekends ago at the U-District Market.

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They have a nice selection of pastries, ranging from plain croissants to seasonal sweets. I went with the twice-baked blackberry croissant and the chocolate chip cookie. The croissant was the standout of the two (the cookie being too salty for my taste):

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The true magic of the pastry was found in the interior, which had layers of buttery flakiness and blackberry preserves. The ends of the croissant were a bit dry and crunchy (maybe from the twice baking?) but overall it was a satisfactory snack.

Coyle’s Bakeshop

January 11, 2016

This top-tier newish bakery has a neighborhood feel to it, making Greenwood one lucky neighborhood. Good luck getting a table now that folks have discovered the amazingly flakey, butter pastries Coyle’s Bakeshop has to offer. I started off with a croissant and brownie, along with a “few” caramels:

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Caramels were soft and luxurious, croissant was like eating a cloud of butter-flour and the brownie was delightfully rich. Nothing, however, compared to the excitement that followed shortly after eating these appetizers. The scones came out of the oven and panic ensued:

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These were the highlight – light, golden-crispy on the outside, steamy-moist on the inside, and all-round scrumptious. None of that bitter taste that comes from too much baking soda, these were pure heaven. Truly, this place is one of Seattle’s best.

Canal Market

December 20, 2015

Canal Market bills itself as a mercantile/cafe/bakery with an emphasis on fresh pastries and sandwiches. The reviewers on Yelp just call it an overpriced grocery store with terrible service. I wanted to see for myself so I stopped in one rainy morning for pastries, which were nicely arrayed on the butcher block counter.

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The prices, while high, were typical for artisanal baked goods in Seattle (granted, I would not buy pantry goods here as they were pretty marked up). And the person at the counter was friendly, patient, and attentive. I chose the pumpkin muffin to start with:

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This was a model muffin. Crispy, sugary top (and I loved the toasted pumpkin seeds), strong pumpkin flavor, moist interior. If I had stopped there I would have been in love with the place but unfortunately the second pastry I had ( the maple-glazed scone) was dry and overbaked (almost burnt). I only ate a few bites a left with a bitter taste. The moral of this tale of two pastries is that one should always order at least two desserts in case one just doesn’t cut it.