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Favourite Seattle bakery

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Read Greg Atkinson's lovely article on Nielsen's Danish this weekend - how is it we have missed it? Anyone try it lately - is it worth the trip?

on 2nd, QA

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I suspect they were "missed" due to the fact that they've been around forever.

I'm very fond of Nielsen's Bakery. I didn't know about them until they became a customer of mine sometime in 2005, so feel free to take my opinions as hopelessly biased.

The best thing about Nielsen's is the croissant-like pastry made with poppy seeds. The "potato" is also interesting, though very sweet thanks to a marzipan topping; it reminds me of a cream puff, but it's turned into a deception of an ordinary potato. Their Danishes are also quite respectable. They also have the Sarah Bernhardt (Danish rum ball?), which you can find variations of at places like B&O. Most of the pastries are thankfully more modestly sized than most bakeries around town, so I can sometimes handle two.

That being said, they sometimes use a heavy hand with sugar, and they don't have much in the way of savory pastries save for that poppy seed thing. You will need coffee. They also have a lot of items not available anywhere else, other than some overlap with Larsen's, which for me features unfortunately monstrously large pastry.

Read Greg Atkinson's lovely article on Nielsen's Danish this weekend - how is it we have missed it? Anyone try it lately - is it worth the trip?

on 2nd, QA


Edited by JasonTrue (log)

Jason Truesdell

Blog: Pursuing My Passions

Take me to your ryokan, please

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I suspect they were "missed" due to the fact that they've been around forever.

I'm very fond of Nielsen's Bakery. I didn't know about them until they became a customer of mine sometime in 2005, so feel free to take my opinions as hopelessly biased.

The best thing about Nielsen's is the croissant-like pastry made with poppy seeds. The "potato" is also interesting, though very sweet thanks to a marzipan topping; it reminds me of a cream puff, but it's turned into a deception of an ordinary potato. Their Danishes are also quite respectable. They also have the Sarah Bernhardt (Danish rum ball?), which you can find variations of at places like B&O. Most of the pastries are thankfully more modestly sized than most bakeries around town, so I can sometimes handle two.

That being said, they sometimes use a heavy hand with sugar, and they don't have much in the way of savory pastries save for that poppy seed thing. You will need coffee. They also have a lot of items not available anywhere else, other than some overlap with Larsen's, which for me features unfortunately monstrously large pastry.

Read Greg Atkinson's lovely article on Nielsen's Danish this weekend - how is it we have missed it? Anyone try it lately - is it worth the trip?

on 2nd, QA

I've been going to Nielsen's since they were in the space that used to be the Benaroya Hall - for those Sarah Bernhardts. They're almond macaroons topped with chocolate mousse, then dipped in ganache. Devastatingly good, especially the day they're first made as the combination of textures (chewy, creamy) and tastes are at their peak. Anything they make with almond paste is truly fantastic - especially those cookies that are shaped like hats, or little chocolate dipped horns. I haven't been in a while, since Queen Anne is out of the way for me, but I will try and make a trek soon.

By the way, I hear their cakes are amazing.

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I finally went to Sweet and Savory. This place would be a neat addition to my neighborhood but it definitely isn't destination worthy. The case is teeny and there was hardly anything in it when I went at noon on a weekday. That's maybe not the best time to visit a bakery, but the case is so small I can't see how they ever have much of a selection. I had the pain au chocolat, which was about the only sweet thing left, but it was just okay. Not even close to Besau's. I also had a BLT which was fine but nothing special.

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Has anyone checked out Crumble and Flake, former member Neil Robertson's new bakery? It got a write-up in one of The Economist's blogs http://www.economist...use-advertising and it seems to be doing very very well.

I think I need to make a trip to Seattle soon!

I don't get up early enough to make it there before he sells out - however a very thoughtful person brought me a couple pastries to try. As expected they were fantastic.

Yes, you do need to come to Seattle!

Lauren


Practice Random Acts of Toasting

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Cute spot, and finally some better pastry on Capitol Hill. I hope he gets his production schedule worked out.

OTOH.....I believed the hype for about a minute, but now I'm over it, significantly because of the Economist article, and because of my pastry experience and the other bakers I know. What kind of business model is it to open a bakery, make one batch of everything, then go home? You start baking at 4:30am and close up at 5 or 6 hours later? WTF? James at Besalu had a line out the door all day weekends for years, maybe still does, and started with himself, a helper, and two ovens. I would rib him about working too hard, but he kept up with the demand by just making more. Sure, croissants are a lengthy process that can't be whipped up on the fly, but scones, brownies, cookies, tartlets, even macaron...what kind of baker stands there smugly thinking how great he is because he's selling out instead of getting another batch in the oven? I have no doubt that the guy has worked very hard throughout his career and is very talented, but this just rubs me the wrong way. How many times does he expect people to come by looking for food before they stop trying and go somewhere more reliable instead?

As for the food - everything is small and cute and perfect looking. I had a kouign amann that was nice, but compared to the big, gooey, over the top kouign amann at Bakery Nouveau - well, something halfway in between would be ideal. Also a rhubarb financier. I don't know who his suppliers are, but I have returned 3 bags of almond flour to my supplier because I thought they tasted like play-doh. I tasted the same off note in C&F's financier and was stunned to consider that I may be even pickier than Neil (though admittedly, it did take me a few weeks of using it to get over my denial that it was bad and return the remainder).

I'd say wait a few more weeks or months for the hype to die down and for Neil to decide whether he wants to run a real bakery with operating hours or just a vanity project. If you come anyway and he's closed, Besalu, Nouveau, and Honore will be open their regular hours and are sure to please.

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@LEdlund--thanks for the report! It's been far too long since I was last in Seattle, and I'd love to visit again. Maybe next year someone out there could organize a Gathering (eG or otherwise)--that would give me the perfect reason to go!

@pastrygirl--Do you know that he only makes one batch of each item for the day? I read and re-read the Economist article, but cannot find reference to that. I did read elsewhere that he's commited to making small batches in order to maintain high quality. I don't necessarily think of that as a sign of arrogance and I know of many other businesses, including bakeries, that operate similarly. In this particular case, even if 2/3 of the current customers stop patronizing his shop, he'll still be doing well, I imagine.

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Perhaps I was a bit harsh. I have no idea what his production schedule is like, I just have a hard time grasping how you could sell out a day's supply of pastry in an hour. Must be a real feeding frenzy.

I definitely support the small batch high quality ideal, and can see how he might have wanted a cozy little pastry shop as a respite from years in the restaurant world. I have that fantasy myself. But it's still a bit silly, disingenuous even, to claim you just wanted a quiet little neighborhood place and not expect to be busy when you open in the most densely populated, hipster foodie infested neighborhood in the city. Best of luck to Neil.

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Poke! Is there anything new in the Seattle area?


"Salt is born of the purest of parents: the sun and the sea." --Pythagoras.

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