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Albany's Noe Valley Bakery (long)

Stanley Stephan | Mar 1, 200302:06 PM

Thought I would take a look inside the cafe last Sunday when I was visiting Celadon again.

This new location has tables and in addition to the bakery items they have a lunch menu with sandwiches, quiches and savory galettes.

Not an extensive menu and it "says" it changes with the season. There seem to be quite a few options for vegetarians.

All the galletes were vegetarian - Marinated mushroom, potato and leek, tomato and egg plant.

Except for the Lorraine, all the quiches were veggie as well, asparagus and red pepper, corn and red pepper, spinach and mushroom.

Veggie sandwiches were Roasted red pepper and eggplant on rosemarey focacette. There was the Fresh mozarella tomato and basil which made me wonder how seasonal the menu really was. However, they did say they were working out some kinks as serving food was new to them.

All baking is done in the city (SF) and I recognized all the items I see weekly at the SF Ferry Plaza Farmer's market.

Also they had their full line of cakes. I've only been in the 24th Street location once ... many, many years ago, probably after it opened in 1995. At that time the place left me underwhelmed. So I was really impressed at the beautiful and delicious looking cakes they had. Mango Tangerine Cake ... orange butter cake with tangerine mousse, fresh mangos, and buttercream icing ... how good does that sound?

Has anyone had one of them do a special occasion cake? They might fill the niche, for me, that seems to be left open with Just Desserts in flux (really is Just Desserts TRYING to go out of business).

Anyway, being on a diet, I was just checking the place out. They were really nice and gave me a complimentary cocktail size lemon merannge pie even though I wasn't buying anything. Well, I COULDN'T turn it down. How many calories was that? Nice to know also they do these cocktail size desserts.

I had never tried their pies before because they are pricy and they only sell whole pies at the farmer's market and I didn't want to spend a lot of money without having an idea of how it tasted. The mini lemon pie was very good. I thought the crust was excellent even though it wasn't a butter crust which I prefer in pies. The lemon filling was very good. I thought the merange a little too sweet. While I probably wouldn't buy this particular variety, it gave me enough of an idea that I would spend the bucks to try one of their other pies in the future.

Looking around to see if there was a website, I found this old review from 1998 which gives a background to the bakery. I never knew they made Yule Logs at Christmas. Have to check this out next year.

The owners seem to have changed their philosophy a bit since they just opened a new location.

Noe Valley Bakery and Bread Company
1127 Solano Avenue
Albany, Ca 94706

It is one block from San Pablo Avenue on the Berkeley / Albany border.


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