I had about two minutes before I had to pick up the kids from school and of course was starving and thinking that the 6 year old would love a cookie for the ride home, so I stopped at the new Essential Bakery outpost on Madison Ave. I have this thing about how restaurants smell which I learned from my mother-in-law. You can tell from the moment you walk in the door what the food will be like. The Essential Bakery has an overwhelming smell of baking bread. It has this beautiful wheat and yeast aroma that put me into a carbo loading stupor. I ordered a prosciutto and provolone "stromboli", some snickerdoodle cookies, baguettes, six really great looking chocolates and mineral water (my concession to health) and headed to the school pick up line. Where I devoured the "stromboli" in about a minute. I have to find out about this thing because it seems to be a cross between a baguette an a croissant; salty crusty exterior with a flaky buttery inside with yummy prosciutto and provolone in there.The liberal use of sea salt in the golden crunchier peaks of the crust put me back in Milano, eating crusty ciabatta for merenda. It totally fulfilled the promise of the bakery's smell. I know Essential Bakery has been around for a while and most people know it by their breads sold at supermarkets around town, but I have to recommend going to the bakeries themselves for the whole experience. I am a sucker for a good bread bakery.
This is the first time I've posted on chowhound. I've been reading it for a couple of weeks and enjoy the company. I guess I have to come out and say I own and cook at Cafe Lago. We use Essential Breads on Sundays when our usual bakery is closed (La Panzanella), but I see no conflict in this post. Let me know.