I’ve been remiss in not blogging about the various
bakeries and restaurants I’ve tried out over the past couple of months. I’ve been
traveling so I've expanded my reach and it’s a shame not to share my
gastronomic indulgences. So I’m going to take the next week (or two) on my blog and catch up on
those posts as I share my “foodie crawl” from my neighborhood to San Francisco
to Las Vegas to Milan to back home. I ate everywhere.
We’ll start local. One of my coworkers mentioned
liking bear claws and how they were hard to find nowadays as so many bakeries
just didn’t make them anymore. I ended up taking that as a personal challenge
to find one and perused yelp for “best bear claws” in our area. One reviewer
mentioned Hannah’s Café so I decided to mosey down there on a Saturday morning
to see if the bear claws were really all that.
Only to arrive and find there were no bear claws in
evidence in the display case. I asked the counter person and she looked
baffled. As in “what’s a bear claw” baffled. Not a good sign. Someone else
behind the counter tried to explain it was “like an almond croissant”. Um, no.
Totally different. Croissants are made by layering dough and butter multiple
times to achieve their flaky texture. Bear claws are traditionally made with
enriched dough like a brioche and have a less flaky texture but still a tender
crumb, similar to a brioche or challah. Yes, they’re both stuffed with some
kind of almond paste and garnished with almonds but the doughs are different.
Finally, someone who appeared to be the pastry chef for
the café said she didn’t have any bear claws. Well, darn. Not that I’m such a
big bear claw fan myself but I’d come with a purpose and that purpose was
thwarted. Which, of course, only made me want a bear claw for myself. Still, I
was flexible. And since I was already there, might as well try something they
did have, right?
The café wasn’t very big and there were only a couple of
display cases but they still showed a nice assortment of baked goods. I waffled
between a pastry-pastry (like a pain au chocolat, my fave) and more of a cakey
dessert like an actual cake or cupcake. I finally settled on two mini cakes: a
German chocolate and a salted caramel chocolate.
When trying a new bakery, I rarely ask how much anything
is, figuring that even if I pay a little more, at least I’m supporting a local
small business, right? But I have to admit I blinked when the cashier rang up
the two petite cakes and the total was $14. $7 a (little) cake! Eeep. For
something the size of a Sprinkles cupcake. But….supporting a local small
business means supporting a local small business so I dug for my cash and
handed it over. (As an aside, I prefer to pay in cash when shopping at a small
business so the small business owner saves on credit card fees.)
German Chocolate Petite Cake
The cakes were nicely presented, wrapped with clear
plastic so the outer edges don’t get dry while sitting in a refrigerated
display case all day. I thought both cakes were good. In hindsight, I should’ve
gotten a different flavor for one of the cakes other than a chocolate-based one
since essentially they came from the same cake but were just finished
differently, one with the coconut and the other with the salted caramel.
Salted Caramel Chocolate Petite Cake
They must’ve been recently made as they weren’t dry and
the flavors were good. I did think it was the kind of cake I could make myself
though so I’m not sure I’d pay $7 for one again. I’d still want to support the
business so if I go again, I might try something on the pastry side like a
croissant or pain au chocolat since I can’t easily make either of those. Too
bad about the bear claws though.