Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Essential Baking Company - Madison Cafe


I love picking up a couple of pastries when I am at a bakery and bringing them home for a surprise dessert. We split each one four ways. Tonight featured a pear croissant, a brown butter pear pastry and a lemon brioche from the Essential Baking Company. The brioche and croissant are made by the Essential Baking Company but the brown butter pear pastry (and the other desserts at the Essential Bakery) are made by Parisian Star Desserts. They supply the pastries and cakes to Metropolitan Market as well, and they make great cakes, we pick them up for birthday parties sometimes.



I was the only one who liked the brown butter pear pastry. It is made with almond cream and it was, I will admit, heavily saturated, flavored and brimming with almond flavor. The cake part of the pastry had a beautiful grainy, nutty appearance and was sweet with nuts while the top was covered with pears and a glaze. The other three members of my household did not even finish their quarter portions of the brown butter pear pastry.

The lemon brioche has a creamy lemon filling inside that surprises you, surrounded by a soft cake texture with just the right amount of tartness. Everyone liked this one. The pear croissant sat in the middle, not loved by anyone but not hated like that brown butter pear pastry. My bar for croissants is insanely high, because every single one that I eat I compare to croissants I ate in Paris on my honeymoon and on two other trips there. So the pear croissant was not bad but just not flakey and light (enough) which is how I like my croissants.

Along with an array of pastries made by the essential bakery and desserts made by Parisian Star Desserts, they also serve breakfast, lunch and dinner (with dinner being the lunch menu). It is a place you can bring a book or newspaper to and sit comfortably while you eat your meal.



And it is easy to order too much food at there. Their half sized salad servings are enough to split with another person if you are getting a sandwich or bowl of soup as well. The sandwiches are served with a generous scoop of potato salad or coleslaw. Picture above is their pastrami sandwich, served on rye bread with red cabbage sauerkraut, pastrami and swiss cheese along with that scoop of potato salad. I also had a cup of black bean vegetable soup.

The sandwich was a solid sandwich, a good size, tender meat and cheese with a nice sauerkraut. The potato salad was smooth and creamy with nice herbs, though the flavor could have used a little more kick, the predominant herb seemed to be parsley. The black bean soup was in a very plain broth without enough flavor but full of soft vegetables and beans. It is a good place for kids but the service can be hit or miss, sometimes I go and it is great, other times they have lost tickets and seem a little disorganized. But they are always friendly and the food is comforting, so we will keep going back.

Essential Bakery Cafe on Urbanspoon

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