The Birds and the Bees
... and a Bakery
David Wronski shares:
You know how you can live next to something great for a long time and discover it only when you do? Here in historic (and colorful ... CLICK to view my "Colorful Montclair") Montclair, New Jersey there are some pretty nice bakeries.
One that made up a special order for us a few years back for a conference we hosted specialized on the healthy side of the street. That would be Walnut Street, in case you wondered. Almost directly across on that street there's another bakery, Gina's; which isn't unhealthy, but they don't specialize in the whole this, or the organic that. Great for our favorite Apple Turnover and Baguettes and Pain de Epis. That last one. So adult. You have to watch out not to get impaled when you eat one of those things.
Which brings me to the Montclair Bread Company, circa now. New owners since the time we did business with that shop. Now it's a community owned and operated bakery. Per them, "We strive to make the highest quality baked goods for everyone to enjoy."
And ... Doughnuts!
You had me at "Doughnuts".
So we tooddled on over this morning. Early bird catches the worm. In this case for the elusive Jelly Doughnut. Maybe an Almond Croissant. Danish? And, how about a regular Cake Donut? And a cup of the local brew.
So here's the deal.
Scored all in all four categories. Jelly (Raspberry) Donut, Cake Donut (Blueberry ), Pain aux Raisins, Almond Croissant.
Top grades all around. Rich, delicious, moist. Goldilocks would approve. (BTW ... We prefer a little more Marzipan in the croissant than in our sample, and the more creamy moist type. Just a quibble though.)
But, hey! We came for the Jelly Doughnut.
Hand to heart. Going in my position was, they better be good at $3.00 a pop! And, they were. I asked the server if the Doughnuts were "heavy". She got my meaning straight away. Yes, there was a lot of jelly inside. Hurdle #1 cleared. High quality, tasty Rasberry jelly. The the Doughnut crust and crumb? Crust nicely fried brown; a little edge, but not crisp. #2 ... passed. The crumb moist and fresh. Lots of sabor. #3 ... Bingo! Verdict: One great Jelly Doughnut. Yet, at $3.00 ... you know you're in Montclair. That $36.00 dollars a dozen to put things into perspective. Hey, they're great. But, how great can a doughnut be? Alright. So buy a few. It won't kill you.
[Remembering: My Uncle Phil was a Baker. He made the jelly donuts we Poles called Pączki — say "Poonchkey". His were great when first made, going south to staletown really fast. I worked for him part time while in high school, you might like to know. And, I made sure the Pączki were, as I said, heavy. Read the rest of this review, then CLICK to read about my own days as a baker.]
And, oh yes, the Coffee at Montclair Bread Company. Grrrreat! Not your sock you in the mouth with a jolt of FLAVOR Starbucks experience. Just deep, smooth, well roasted flavor. Excuuuse me, but my verbal palette concerning my palate has its limits. It was a good cup of coffee. As for notes and overtones, give me a break. My partner Michele poured a self-serve large with Guatemalan and a dose of something called "Hair Raiser". Not so much to raise my hair. But, my eyebrows lifted, for sure. Great cup of Joe. And, the sides of my mouth curled upward too.
By now — did you get this far? — you may be asking what about that "Birds and Bees" reference at the beginning?
Seems the neighborhood birds are totally clued in to the outdoor scene at Montclair Bread Company. Bold enough to circle under foot. Not so brave (yet!) to light on the table. Sorry, birdies. No crumbs.
But, the bees. Here's the story. Enough said.
We had several buzzing around us. Shown above is me sharing with one of those critters. We're friendly to bees. No problemos.
Montclair Bread Company. Great place.