What is your favorite travel activity? You know, the one thing you HAVE to do/see wherever you go no matter what?! Maybe you’re a shopper, or a museum lover, or a hiker or something?? It’s probably no big surprise, but I have GOT to get to a bakery before I can even unpack my bags! This isn’t anything new. I’ve had this affliction for as long as I can remember.
When I visit bakeries in other cities, I don’t seek out the flashiest, trendiest shop in town. I want to know who makes the best chocolate chip cookie! To me, THAT’s the real test of a great bakery! If they can’t turn out an awesome chocolate chunk cookie, then I really don’t need to try anything else. Know what I mean? Next comes the brownie(s) – are they rich? Cake-y? Do they have nuts? Chunks of chocolate? Other add-ins? After those two standards, I’m a little more flexible. What are they famous for? What are they proud of? Which dessert has a special history?
I recently went to Seattle to visit my daughter, Jen – of Jennifer’s Birthday Cake fame, natch – and she was kind enough to take me to every single stop on my well-researched list of Seattle bakeries. Here are a few that stuck out -
• Nouveau Bakery – WOW – how do they turn out such an amazing assortment of breads and sweets in a kitchen no bigger than my closet? Beautiful French pastries, croissants and such. Four or five display cases filled to the top!
• A La Mode Pies – I’m not much of a pie girl, but these were some of the best pies I’ve ever had. Magnificent crust with a wide variety of fabulous fillings.
• Cupcake Royale – the cupcakes were lovely, but I have to wonder if the owner’s mom knows they sell t-shirts with sayings like “I’m a Frostitute” and “Legalize Frostitution”?
• Trophy Cupcakes – cute place, great packaging, fun accessories; the cupcakes were good for breakfast one morning.
• Sugar Rush Bakery – I saw some beautiful cupcakes, but the rest of the cupboards were bare at the time I visited. Based on what I saw, I would definitely go back for another look at a busier time.
• Fresh Flours – Japanese-inspired pastries and cupcakes
I also visited the Theo Chocolate Factory while I was there. They give a great tour! I saw some humongous vats of chocolate, but I was amazed at how small their production line was! My favorite part was the decorating room. This is where they hand-decorated all the delicious truffles and specialty confections for sale in their showroom. I was so engrossed in watching them work, I didn’t realize I had crossed the “Sacred Yellow Line” and was in an area that is strictly off limits to visitors. Woops.
Until next time….