For years Cafe Besalu was my go-to place for morning pastries. I always get the plain croissant with homemade jam and a cup of hot chocolate, pick a seat and watch owner and baker James Miller work his magic. A couple of months ago, Miller sold Besalu and moved his family to Spain.
Fortunately, the new owner decided to keep things as is. I stopped by Besalu last Sunday to check how it’s doing, three weeks after the ownership change. The croissant was as flaky and buttery as ever. Other items I like off the shelf are their almond croissant, pain au chocolat and the cardamom pretzel. Although for quiche, my favorite is still the ones at Le Pichet.
Sea Wolf Baker in Fremont opens seven days a week and bakes a decent pain au chocolat in their brightly-lit retail space.
Along with other sweet and savory pastries.
But the main reason I go to Sea Wolf is the sprouted rye bread. ($6 for half a loaf)
This nutty, dense, moist, albeit a little chewy bread is perfect for a Scandinavian-style open-face sandwich. Smoother it with high quality butter and pile it up with whatever ingredients you like (I like Tuna Belly from St. Jude, seasonal greens and avocado).
If hearty rye bread is not your cup of tea, Byen on Nickerson serves a delicious Swedish Limpa bread made with brown sugar and molasses. They also carry a good variety of princess cakes
and offer Semla come Lent season. But the best Semla I’ve had in Seattle, since the closure of Svedala Bakery, is at the Kafé of the Swedish Club, where lunch and dinner is served on Fridays with open-face sandwiches, Swedish meatballs and of course, princess cake.
When one wants princess cake, one must have it, especially on Mondays, when most bakeries in Seattle are closed. That’s where Nielson’s comes to the rescue.
My absolute must-haves at Nielson’s though, are these luscious Sarah Bernhardt cookies. named after the famous French actress. They are made with chocolate mousse and almond macaroon covered with a thin layer of dark chocolate.
When Crumble & Flake opened their door May 2012, their shelves were emptied before 9AM on weekends.
Although the crowds have now diminished, they still have some of the more interesting croissant flavors in town. The only drawback for me is finding parking at Capital Hill. If you can get there in time, their twice-baked pistachio croissant is superb, but the smoked paprika & cheddar croissant is simply divine. They also offer an almond cherry croissant on week days. Sadly, as I am writing this post, news came out that the owner has sold the bakery and his last day there is July 2nd. However, as with Besalu, the new owner of Crumble & Flake vows to keep everything exactly the same, with a few additions.
Speaking of ownership changes, the former Honoré Bakery led this trend that started exactly a year ago. While Besalu’s croissant is the color of golden yellow, Rosellini’s version is golden brown. Some people may like the slightly burned/caramelized flavor. It is not my thing.
But the Kouign Amann is worth the trip if you can get it (call ahead). Their dark chocolate and milk chocolate hazelnut mousse are incredibly rich and decadent. If you go there, be mindful of where you park. I was there this morning and saw the meter maid handing out tickets to a group of cars parked in front.
That’s it for now – some of my favorite bakeries in Seattle.
Thank you for stopping by. I hope you get to visit one of these places when you are in town.