Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Why Don't You Open a Bakery? Part 2

I posted part 1 of this article on November 8 2014...this is part 2...

Bakeries here in Seattle are not like the bakeries were back in Chicago.  If you are from the Midwest, you would know what I mean.  Let me start with a little historical culture.  The time was back in the 1960's.  We lived in Niles, Illinois.  At the time, there was a bakery called Niles Pastry Shop on Milwaukee Avenue.  The minute you walked in, your senses would be filled with the smell of breads, pastries, cookies, pies.  Your eyes would feast on rows upon rows of shelves on the wall behind the counter filled with different kinds of danish and coffeecakes.  You would have apricot filled, custard filled, raspberry filled, cherry filled and apple filled Danish; custard-filled bismarks, jelly-filled doughnuts rolled in sugar and not iced, almond horns, butter streusel danish, chocolate chip danish, sugar twists and long danish with a strip of raspberry and cream cheese.  There were also old fashioned doughnuts, cake doughnuts, raised doughnuts and too many coffeecakes to count.  And that was just the "sweet rolls" as we called them back then.  Sometimes we would go in the back of the bakery where Carl, the baker, would be making all of these delicious things.  He used a piping bag that was probably 16" long, and it was usually filled with fresh whipped cream.  He would ask me to open my mouth, and proceed to squirt a huge dollop of cream inside.   I couldn't even talk because my mouth was stuffed with cream.   Boy, was that a treat!  Today, in Seattle, there is nothing that really comes close, in my opinion, except for Madison Park Bakery in Madison Park and Hoffman's Bakery in Kirkland.  That's not to say that Bakery Nouveau doesn't get high marks, but a good many of their things start with puff pastry.  Madison Park has the best apricot almond bear claws...yes, apricot, and Hoffman's has the best almond bear claws.  But, back to Chicago.  I have taken my friend, Leslie, back to Chicago a few times, and on the last trip, we hit all three of my favorite bakeries.  Central Continental bakery in Mt. Prospect has been in business since 1922.  I think it's every Tuesday, all coffeecakes are 20% off.  Too bad I'm not down the street, but then again, that might be a good thing.  Cake Box bakery, located in Arlington Heights, opened in 1949, and I was getting chocolate chip coffeecakes there back in 1977 for many, many years.  Jarosch bakery, located in Elk Grove, and opened in 1959, had a totally different kind of chocolate chip coffeecake, and I would switch off between them and Cake Box.  My all time favorite chocolate chip coffeecake, though, is from Copenhagen bakery in Burlingame, California.  My girlfriend, Pam, and I, would get a coffeecake, get a table outside, and polish the whole thing off in one sitting.  I still get them, but only on rare occasions. I cut them up in pieces and put them in the freezer, but who am I kidding...they come out just as fast.  So, there you have it...don't want the long hours, don't want to get up at midnight to start baking...just want to "go" to the bakery and start eating...

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