Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The City Bakery: more than meets the eye!

I recently discovered the City Bakery, a famous New York transplant, just a 10 minute drive from my apartment. Its LA location is nestled within the Brentwood Country Mart, a trendy shopping center around San Vicente and 26th.

Don't let it's upscale appearance fool you: While the City Bakery's cafeteria-style selections offer customers such choices as roasted endives, they also sell freshly made down home dishes like their Mac and Cheese by the pound. Granted, this is a $10 a pound purchase, but this piping hot M & C definitely looks better than your typical boxed macaroni.

There is something so inviting about this bakery-- friendly service compliments an enticing variety of baked goods, including a famous Pretzel Croissant that has a legendary following from its East Coast beginnings that has now reached the diaspora of baked good lovers across the country.

As a California native who only recently made my first trip to New York, I never knew until last year the abundance of bakeries I was missing out on in The Big Apple. It's nice to get a piece of that here on the West Coast.

Thus far, I have made two trips to The City Bakery. I've tried two of their apple creations, the apple sticky bun and the miso apple muffin (made with yogurt instead of butter). I found both to be a fresh and satisfying experience. Yet what I was most pleasantly surprised by was their chocolate chip cookie, a large, soft, and fresh find among the often too-crunchy or over-baked cookie landscape of Southern California.

The benefits of The City Bakery extend beyond the food-- it is also an oasis from the heavily wi-fi'd out coffee houses of Los Angeles. While I applaud free internet access and caffeine in one spot, it's refreshing to discover an opportunity to unplug and read a regular newspaper-- to sip your cappuccino, get newsprint on your hands, and enjoy some quality baked goods.

It's fitting that this bakery experience made me feel as if it was keeping me in touch with the surrounding world. After doing some more research, I discovered that The City Bakery is tied to another baking venture dedicated to environmental awareness. Birdbath, Neighborhood Green Bakery, bakes in their East Village location and transports goods by bicycle-driven cargo rickshaw to their West Village shop. Milk and cream served in the store comes from a family farm north of Manhattan. And, they offer a 25% discount if you arrive on skateboard or bike.

With my love for alternative transportation, baked goods, and dairy products combined this bakery sounds like my cup of tea!

I'm still waiting to try the legendary Pretzel Croissant-- it seems like a croissant of these legendary proportions warrants a special occasion, so stay tuned.
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