In a former Brussels sprout packing shed about a half a mile from West Cliff Drive and Natural Bridges you will find the amazing Kelly's French Bakery. There is a beautiful little courtyard that leads you into the bakery. Huge windows greet you inside allowing sunlight to stream in. The details were all thought out; when waiting in line you are standing in front of the case of pastries so you can figure out what you want. This will be the most difficult part of your visit.
It took me a minute to come to the realization that the items in the shop were most likely being distributed all over Santa Cruz County. If not, they could never afford to produce so many different things. An assortment of miniature delicacies from fresh fruit tarts to miniature cupcakes to chocolate croissants are all beautifully displayed in a glass case. They have bread pudding, chocolate chip cookies, muffins, small cheesecakes, cakes and quiches.
They make amazing lattes and ice tea. There are more substantial items on the menu as well, both for breakfast (toast and eggs) and lunch (ham & gruyere, avocado & cheese, pre-made salads) and even a light dinner is available. The egg sandwich and eggs in polenta were probably the loosest link we experienced after spending almost every morning of our one week trip to Santa Cruz in the bakery.
The chocolate croissant is generous in size and the chocolate encased inside the flaky pastry is deep and dark and rich without being overly sweet. One morning there was a design traced on the croissant made of melted chocolate and another day they had sprinkled chocolate chips over the top (pictured above).
The eggs in polenta is pure comfort food, a creamy polenta surrounding two perfectly poached eggs. It is delicious but the dish seemed a little out of place like serving beef stew in the middle of summer. It could be lightened up by taking on a seasonal slant. A slightly smaller dish of polenta with a side of something fresh to counter-balance the intensity of the dish.
The lemon tartlette has a pudding like lemon filling that is tangy and sweet at the same time with an adorable and delicious mini crust holding it all together.
When you order, they are patient and friendly and will answer all your questions. It isn't a great place to go if you are in a rush looking for a drive thru coffee delivery. The line ebbs and flows sometimes out the door, but it is an amazing place and borders on perfection.