I have spent the last three years going to various bakeries with my roommates on Saturday mornings. Inspired by the idea of a bar crawl, I convinced my roommates to visit six of our favorite bakeries in one whirlwind morning of caffeine, carbs, and incidental exercise.
1. Son de Cali
10:21am – Our first stop, Son de Cali, is a purveyor of delicious Colombian pastries. There’s a line at the counter and most of the booths inside are full of patrons eating. I speak no Spanish, which is the dominant language of the bakery, but the staff are incredibly kind and helpful, as they have been on previous visits. We get a bunuelo, an almojabana, and a guava-stuffed, incredibly flaky pastry, as well as my second cup of coffee of the day.
We take the pastries to go and eat them out of brown paper bags as we walk. The bunuelo is a ball of soft, chewy, and slightly sweet cassava dough with a bit of cheese at the center. Its outside is fried to a slightly-crispy, golden brown. The almojabana is very similar but with corn flour and baked instead of fried. Both are not too sweet and refrain from punching your taste buds into sugar overload. Which isn’t to say I’m against sugar overload, as I’m the one who’s dragging my roommate’s on this pastry crawl.
Monday through Saturday 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sunday 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
10:35am – We arrive at Rudy’s, an Italian bakery that was first opened as a German bakery in 1936, before being re-opened by its current owners a little over 40 years ago.
We go with a raspberry and cheese strudel, a gluten-free chocolate brownie, and a slice of triple-chocolate cake. The strudel pastry is flaky and the proportions of raspberry and cheese are well balanced. The brownie has a deep chocolate flavor, rich frosting, and the consistency of a school lunch favorite, the Cosmic Brownie. The cake is rich, moist, and almost comically tall. They are sweet, dense, and rich, but we have four more stops after this and are beginning to re-evaluate our life choices.
Monday through Saturday 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sunday 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
10:51am – We arrive at Norma’s, a bustling corner bakery and cafe. There’s indie rock playing inside and the pastries are all updated or mini-versions of something a grandma would make: cookies, tarts, donuts, bars, biscuits, muffins, crumbs, breads, buns, and bundts.
We get an oatmeal raisin cookie and a zucchini-oatmeal-raisin-carrot bar, both are gluten-free. Where Son De Cali had savory, and Rudy’s had richness, Norma’s has texture. These pastries have something to use your teeth on and a variety of flavors that keep our taste buds entertained. There’s plenty of seating inside and out, but we decide to keep walking. We’re now technically halfway through. One of my roommates goes home.
Monday through Sunday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
11:20am – My other roommate and I arrive at Buttah. The shop has a modern presentation, with only a single neon sign as any sort of advertising. They have a variety of baked goods done with very exacting execution. We have a chocolate bread pudding and a blue-cheese and bacon scone, as well as another cup of coffee.
The pastries are fantastic, and the scone manages to be both savory and sweet at the same time. I eyeball the decadent looking Tres Leche confection in the display, but I know my limits. I explain to my roommate that next up is Dun-Well Donuts, only a two-mile jaunt away through the midday sun, followed by another mile and a half to Brooklyn Doughnutry. She heads home.
Saturday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday closed, Tuesday through Friday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
12:35pm – I arrive at Dun-Well Doughnuts, the vegan cake donut extraordinaires. I am no stranger to these fried rings of joy. I note that I could get an ice-cream doughnut sundae for some cooling relief from the heat, but I don’t have much faith in my stomach right now. Instead, I opt for the PB&J stuffed doughnut. Peanut butter frosting on a jelly doughnut is really a no-brainer, and with the amount of doughnuts this place makes, the execution is always on point.
Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., weekends 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
1:11pm – I arrive at the final destination, the cherry on top of this pastry expedition, Brooklyn Doughnutry. It’s a simple storefront with no seating inside, but the store’s baker has mastered the yeast doughnut.
These doughnuts are huge, beautiful, light, and fluffy. They also start at just $2.50, which is the best pastry bargain outside of Chinatown. The colored icings all have different, distinct flavors, the glazes coat the exteriors evenly, and the stuffed donuts do not skimp on either the frosting or filling.
One thing to note is that you will never know what doughnuts are available until walking in. Only a couple of each type are made and they’re made, what seems to be randomly, throughout the day.
I get a butter-glazed doughnut and it tastes like a bag of buttered popcorn and a Krispy Kreme had a baby.
Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., weekends 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
*All gluten-free pastries in this article are made in facilities where cross-contamination may occur, so they may not be the best choice for those with allergies or Celiacs.
Cover image courtesy of Buttah.
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