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Markets & Stores 7

Downtown Bakery AND CAFE!

Melanie Wong | Mar 14, 200601:25 AM

In January I happened by Healdsburg's Downtown Bakery on the eve of reopening after the usual beginning of the year break. A couple employees were busy getting set up for the night's baking, but the real news was the new layout with three rows of copper-topped tables in the front. The bakery and creamery is now a cafe serving breakfast and lunch.

Monday was my first chance to try out the new menu, which is printed on tablecards. It's also on the chalkboards with a note asking for patience as they get used to the new layout and menu.

I ordered one of the individual size pizzas ($7.50) for lunch. Normally I'd get the margherita for calibration, but when I saw that the sausage came from Santi, I had to have the one with sausage, red onions, cheese, and rapini.

One always expects quality here, but this was even better than I imagined. The crust puffed up on the rim, but the rest of it is unbelievably thin. Like card stock. Yet despite this thinness, the slices cut on a crosshatch instead of into wedges hold up very well under the fairly generous topping. Great crust, singed on the bottom and edges without having to specify, full of yeasty flavor, and that satisfying NY-style high gluten chewy/crispness. At first I thought the cheese might be overdone, but the blend of creamy mozzerella, young asiago and parmesan was so delicious, I didn't want any less. The sprinkle of chili flakes added the right zip to highlight the Santi sausage and veggies.

I had half packed up to take home because I wanted to leave room for a new addition to the cake repetoire --- Blum's coffee crunch cake! At $4, the slice seemed a bit stingy. However, the crunch was near perfect with an airy, foamy and fresh scrunchiness. My piece had just been assembled moments beforehand, and they're put together throughout the day so the crunch stays fresh.

The breakfast menu includes a pizza with pancetta topped with a farmers egg . . . I think I'll have to try that one next.

Link: http://www.downtownbakery.net

Image: http://static.flickr.com/50/112329780...

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