Whereas full time road trip in my motorhome, I am always on the lookout for the best bakeries. Because you can tell a lot about a city by the treats that are prepared there, can’t you? These pleasant spots in under-the-radar destinations are well worth seeking out.
This humble spot in Sedona, Arizona often has an intimidating line. Calm down. Your patience will be amply rewarded. Especially if your timing gets you to the counter in time to order a chocolate-almond croissant still warm from the oven.
I’ve eaten a lot of croissants in my life and never known the joy of chocolate still in its slightly gooey state. Plus, the combo with the marzipan delivers a double dose of yummy deliciousness. Take note, however, that many of pastry chef/owner Javier Franco’s amazing treats go missing long before closing time, so get there early. The whole grain breads are also spectacular.
But you don’t have to look too far to find its funky hippie vibe, starting by soaking up the awesome Riverbend Hot Springs. This is where we parked our motorhome one weekend recently, the resort has a few campsites with full hookups and when you pay to park there you have unlimited access to the pools on the banks of the Rio Big.
All that relaxation is hard work and when it’s time to find something to eat and drink there are plenty of options within walking distance. Truth or Consequences Brewery‘s pub is always crowded, as is the neighbor The Giddup Cafe. While having an excellent breakfast at Full Moon Kitchen food truck, I asked owner Michell Torres if she could recommend a bakery.
She sent me to Passion Pie Cafe, where I scored the most amazing danish ever, a star-shaped puff pastry decorated with hot peppers. It’s true. This is New Mexico after all, where red and green chili peppers grace all kinds of dishes in unexpected ways. My only regret is that I didn’t order more and saved a few for later.
A friend living in San Luis Obispo, CA recommended this lovely place to me and I’m glad I took his sage advice.
Both my friend and the owners have a connection to New Orleans, Joliene Bakery founder Thomas Fertel having grown up in the restaurant business in Crescent City. His mother is the late great Ruth Fertel of Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. His memory lives on through Ruth U. Fertel Foundationwhich supports education in Louisiana.
On a sunny Sunday morning, the elegant bakery looked like it was ready for a photo shoot, the warm rays illuminating the well-stocked patisserie. Fertel’s wife, Chloé, is the pastry chef and her creations are absolutely stunning. Bonus: they taste as good as they look.
I felt lucky to be in the house when the special maple walnut croissants were offered, a treat that Chloe occasionally creates for her husband. It tastes a bit like baklava with those rich, buttery layers. Absolutely exceptional.
Founder Rachael Sobczak is best known for her spectacular loaves of bread made with Cairnspring Mills flours, made with Northwest grains and ground right next to it.
Still, it’s Rachael’s cookies that I crave. The thought of those ultra-chocolate Midnight Crackle cookies, oatmeal shortbread, and especially molasses ginger spice gems makes me a little homesick.
Luckily, the Water Tank team has put together a holiday collection that can be picked up at various locations or shipped on special request. Call for more shipping information: 360-757-2253.