So I’m driving from Arizona to California and I pass by a sign in Indio that says one of the top five reviewed restaurants on Yelp in the U.S. is at the next exit. Being a Yelp Elite, I gave in to my curiosity and grabbed lunch at TKB Bakery. They began in 1991 when three kids went door to door selling their mother’s frozen cookie dough. Years later, those same kids now operate TKB Bakery & Deli (The Kids Business). The deli is a popular stop for many of the cars passing through and the company supplies many large grocery chains. The outside of the restaurant wasn’t much to look at when I first pulled up. But the inside had a spacious seating area and friendly people taking your order. I went for the Reuben Stud-er (similar to a classic Reuben sandwich with hot pastrami and coleslaw). Other popular choices include The Trump, the Mexican Meatloaf and the Chicken Chipotlé sandwiches. I gotta say, that was one pretty damn good sandwich. The jalapeño bread on the cart next to me had me salivating too. With as many trips I make to Cali, I’m pretty sure this won’t be my one and only stop here. Good story and a nice find!
Jewel’s Bakery strives to make gluten-free items taste good. They have an amazing selection of bakery delights and desserts that are just as good as any gluten item. I’ve been wanting to stop by here for some time. Jewel’s is located in the Arcadia district and is family owned. Julie Moreno started this cafe in response to her daughter’s allergic response to gluten. Today, Jewel’s is a local favorite and a place you can visit and feel at home. They have a variety of salads, waffles, sandwiches and breakfast items on their cafe menu. You can also order your food online and they offer cooking classes once a month. I ordered the delicious Santa Fe bowl along with a slice of pumpkin pie. It was a nice prelude to Thanksgiving and the customer service was awesome. I had an enjoyable dinner here and I look forward to stopping in for a pastry or one of their waffle creations in the future.
The first time I visited Délice Bistro was on a walking food tour of Tempe. It’s a European-style pâtisserie (a type of French or Belgian bakery that specializes in pastries and sweets) that makes their pastries and entrees from scratch. They are located off historic Tempe’s Mill Ave near ASU campus. In addition to their wonderful parties, they serve European sandwiches, soups and salads (made fresh daily). When I came here last, I had a nutella crêpe with some coffee. They also have a variety of breakfast entrees that include omelets, croissant french toasts and eggs benedicts. But you can’t come here without trying one of their delightful desserts or hand-dipped Bouchée chocolates. Today I had a carrot cake with some coffee from Peixoto. It was delicious and made for a nice late afternoon snack.
“Quality is the number one ingredient in everything we do”
Every time I’m in Cali I swing by Porto’s Bakery & Cafe and pick up some delicious pastries to go. Rosa Porto opened her first bakery on Sunset Blvd in 1976 after her family emigrated here from Manzanillo, Cuba. They went through some tough times before people started catching on to how amazing her pastries are. She started to add other international savories to her menu and the business took off. Today there are three locations and long lines out the door everyday. It doesn’t stop people from picking up box of cheese rolls, potato balls or a cake. In addition to the pastries, they have some amazing sandwiches, juices and a full cafe. Some of my personal favorites I pick up are empanadas, ham croquettes, meat pies, and of course the potato balls (try the spicy one). You also can’t go wrong with any of the danishes or croissants either. Even though the parking can be a little crazy, Porto’s is always worth a stop.
If you want anything bread, Great Harvest Bread Co. is the place to go. They cater, take online orders or you can just visit the shop itself and grab a bite. Great Harvest handcrafts bread daily using only pure and simple ingredients and never uses any chemicals, preservatives, conditioners or additives. This place is family owned (Ward and Leslie Walston) and has been serving the East Valley for some time now. I stumbled upon this place awhile back after visiting my dentist next door and ordered a pumpkin roll for a Fall party. Now I stop in regularly here and there for coffee and a pastry (they have a coffee and latte bar). The staff is very friendly and they have little store up front where you can pick up various items like jelly, bread mixes, etc.
While hanging out in Burbank, I stumbled upon this little gem while running around town – Porto’s Bakery & Cafe. The first thing I noticed was the line and the constant flow of traffic in and out the sliding doors. I decided to go in and take a look and found myself gazing and at all these pasties. Most of the people in line were here to make a box of pastries to go. I decided to make a box myself and take some back to my son in our hotel room. I got a apple and cherry danish. I had to try the meat pie and ate that one right away – yum. The cinnamon roll took us a couple of days to eat because it was so big. What a great find and I can’t wait to make a return visit someday.
Cherry and Apple Danish
– You can read my full review of my return visit here.
Hummingbird Cupcake & Vanilla Cupcake with Vanilla Buttercream
In 2009, my girlfriend and I braved the long lines and got our first taste of this famous bakery’s delightful desserts. Years later I had to bring my mother here. We were visiting Grand Central Terminal and visited Magnolia Bakery’s location there. Magnolia Bakery first opened in 1996 in New York’s West Village. Steve and Tyra Abrams took over in 2007 and expanded it to locations all over the world. You can pick up orders at their stores or order products nationwide. Each location is unique with its vintage decor and inviting atmosphere. Although they are known for their cupcakes, they bake all sorts of pastries and cakes and even have a coffee bar. Magnolia is world-renowned, they still consider themselves a neighborhood bakery. Everything is made on site and you can watch them make these wonderful delights through the window. You cannot come to New York City without visiting Magnolia Bakery.
Grand Central Terminal
Magnolia Bakery at Rockefeller Center
A couple of days later, my mother and I stopped in at the location next to Rockefeller Center. This is the popular spot that you see on Jimmy Fallon’s opening montage. This was also the first location I visited with my girlfriend. This one can get a little busy because there are may tourist attractions nearby. I personally enjoy visiting here because you can see the horse and carriage rides pass by the window while you are inside ordering. Or you can stand outside and watch the crew makes some beautiful cupcakes. Around the holidays, this is one of the things that makes Christmas in New York magical. There is always a crowd here, but these guys still manage to make you order and send you home satisfied.
Oma’s Place is a neighborhood sandwich shop and bakery that also offers daily German food specials (such as roladen, schnitzel, Swedish meatballs, cabbage rolls, or brats) in Mesa. This little family owned establishment makes their food from scratch. In fact, there is a kitchen stove with an oven directly behind the order counter where you can see the food cooking. I enjoyed the ‘at home’ feel to the restaurant and found the owner (Astrid Braun) very welcoming as I came in (Oma is ‘Grandma’ in German). The Knoephla soup was pretty good as was the Reuben sandwich. I hope this place does well. I think being located in a strip mall with abandoned buildings all around will make business difficult.
I have never understood the whole cup cake craze and the little shops that people go to. But it was my son’s 12th birthday and I decided to buy some cupcakes from Mind over Batter. I bought a speciality cupcake made of ice cream just for him that cost me $5. How did he like it? Well, my Missional Community from church threw him a party and he ended up smashing the cupcake in his face. It was a fun birthday for him and a bit of a reunion for all of us with all of the summer vacationing we had been doing.