Friday, April 13, 2007

Black market baked goods...

I was bakery hunting around the lunch hour this Thursday at the Costa Mesa Farmer's Market when I stumbled upon The Black Market Bakery booth. Although I have never been to their storefront, I had checked out their goods once before at the market. On this particular visit, I spoke with one of their employees, Jennifer, a friendly vendor who gave me a sample of their black market bars and some good suggestions about what else to try. I left with an armful of black market loot! (It felt like a steal since all of the breads were on sale-- I came at the very end of the market, so I'm assuming that's why...a very late arrival is a little known farmer's market secret that can potentially ease the damage on your billfold.)

I think what I love most about this bakery is that their website describes their Black Widow tart as "a Joseph Conrad-inspired journey into the possibilities of dark chocolate." Just from that description, I'm guessing that existentialism never tasted so good....

I haven't tried the tart yet, but I did buy a focaccia pocket with mushrooms and shallots, and it made for the perfect lunchtime nibble. I like their theme over at the Black Market Bakery-- it suggests that the their treats are so good, they must be illegal! So next time you're feeling rebellious, risky, or anti-establishment, make your way to the Black Market Bakery and fight the man through your stomach...It's anarchist baking at it's best!! (They should definitely make a t-shirt with that on the back. I will accept payment for my slogan's creative genius in the form of baked goods...)

And speaking of lawlessness, the farmer's market was all kinds of chaotic on Thursday! Those Southern California winds were picking up, and the vendors were getting restless. High velocity winds can mean trouble for the vendor tents, so I pitched in and, in the spirit of Joe Cocker, I gave a little help to my friends. A few of the vendors at the Costa Mesa market work at my farmer's market as well, so I felt right at home. I had a particularly enjoyable time helping the hummus guy pack up his stuff-- he is Algerian and speaks fluent French, so we were able to practice French together as we begged the wind for mercy! (I think it went something like "Au secours!!!")

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Will Danes be ordering Danish pastries in English one day?

Some Danes are concerned that the increasing use of English within their country could threaten the future of the Danish language. Many Danish academic institutions are now teaching classes in English, leading some to fear that Danish will be left in the dust, according to this article at DW-World.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Bakery hunting on the silver screen...

Stranger than Fiction, starring the great Will Ferrell, is a flick for every bakery hunter to watch. Maggie Gyllenhaal's character, a baker named Ana Pascal, is Ferrell's love interest. As their relationship develops, it makes for some great bakery movie moments.

The movie has one of the greatest romantic gestures I've ever seen. When Ferrell goes to tell the baker how he feels about her, he walks up to her holding a brown box with several brown sacks inside. The purpose of this box is totally unclear to movie viewers, until he announces: "I brought you some flours".

Later on in the movie, after Ferrell ends up in the hospital, Gyllenhaal brings him Bavarian sugar cookies to cheer him up in his time of need.

The narrator of Stranger than Fiction leaves us with this lovely idea:

“Sometimes, when we lose ourselves in fear and despair, in routine and constancy, in hopelessness and tragedy, we can thank God for Bavarian sugar cookies and fortunately, when there aren’t any cookies we can still find reassurance in a familiar hand on our skin, or a kind and loving gesture, or a subtle encouragement, or a loving embrace, or an offer of comfort, not to mention hospital gurneys, and nose-plugs, and uneaten danish, and soft spoken secrets, and Fender Stratocasters, and maybe the occasional piece of fiction. And we must remember that all these things, the nuances, the anomalies, the subtleties, which we assume only accessorize our days are in fact here for a much larger and nobler cause. They are here to save our lives.”--Stranger than Fiction

The movie captures all that is great about appreciating baked goods, and as a result, captures all that is great about the little things in life-- a good piece of fiction, a chance encounter on a bus, Bavarian sugar cookies, and quirky Will Ferrell films.

Denmark and Canada face off...

Ever heard of Hans Island? Denmark and Canada are both claiming the island as their own by hoisting flags, representing with warships, and even burying bottles of brandy in the ground. And according to the Associated Press, both Canadians and Danes have taken out competing Google Ads proclaiming sovereignty over the rock. The disagreement has even led some Canadians to call for a ban on Danish pastries, which leads The Great American Bakery Hunt to ask: Aren't they only punishing themselves?