On the Third Day of (Jewish) Christmas, a field trip to the new babka bakery and coffee shop. The Four Barrel coffee logo was displayed but the La Marzocco espresso machine on the counter had not been plugged in yet.
This was at the start of the third week of the soft opening.
Through the picture windows into the baking station I could see cases of Guittard chocolate, assistants cracking brown eggs and the cookbooks that inspire them.
The proprietress, Ayélet Nuchi, offered me a taste of the large, warm apple babka. So light, barely sweet with firm chunks of glazed apples ... heavenly. She is from Tel Aviv and her recipe includes dairy.
That morning chocolate, raspberry-cheese and Nutella mini babkas were ready. Butternut squash and tomato-mozzarella would be out soon. I loved the quirky interior decor and took a seat.
I was charmed by the fuzzy pink tables and eagerly dug into the individual chocolate one. A Chinese lady in line asked me if my pastry was a kouign-amann and I explained to her what a babka is. Besides her, the majority of customers were chatting in Hebrew.
Loaded with half-melted dark chocolate, this was beyond rich, making it much different than the more bread-like versions i've had in New York. Unlike the light and airy apple sample, the individual-sized mini babka was crustier and heavier.
Tasting through the minis I bought to try at home, we noted considerable inconsistencies. The raspberry-cream cheese babka was wet and heavy. The nutella one was very heavy with grainy filling, and also about half the size for the same price. And the second chocolate babka had far less chocolate filling. One can hope that more practice has cured this issue by now.
Anyone else try the babka yet?
Babka by Ayélet
855 El Camino Real, Suite #15
Palo Alto, California
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