Saturday, October 27, 2007

Q: What are the best bakeries in town?

While I recover from this *massive* wine-induced headache and la-la-la song earworm (which was so worth it -- every one of those Burgundies was *fantastic* last night), let's talk about bakeries. Inspired by a comment on another thread about good and not-so-good bakeries, I bring the question to you: What are the best bakeries in town? I know only one place that I'd go if asked to bring baked treats items at the last minute (Rene's in Broad Ripple, natch) but I know there have to be some other good places in town, right? So, dear readers, where else should we go and try?


bhorg said...

All my bread comes from Rudi's Organic Bakery via Wild Oats so I clearly have no idea, but most people think Panera Bread is good bread and that fills me with blind rage.

scubachef said...

Hmmm...this is my on-going quest.
I've yet to find a good all-around bakery in town. I wish I could bribe a few Italian families from other cities to relocate here. Oh, for a Muffaletto's or Pasticceria Natalina (Chicago) or Mazzone's/Corbo's (Cleveland).

The Sourdough and Chocolate-Cherry breads from the Scholar's Inn Bakehouse are good, but way over-priced for the mushball-sized loaves. Long's has good Danishes and Strudel (and doughnuts when they're not f'n out of them). I've yet to have anything good from Crawford's. Other than a pan au chocolat/croissant fresh-from-the-oven, Rene's has dissapointed me more times than not. I keep checking out the Mexican bakeries, but haven't found a real stand-out yet. What I've tried so far from the new Cuban place (TaTa's) has been good; but I don't believe they're made in-house (maybe from the Panaderia Oaxaca on east 10th?). Their raspberry jelly-roll, in particular, was dense-yet-moist pound-cakey tasty.

Joanne said...

I'm interested to see if anyone can find one. I think the bakeries in Indianapolis are severely lacking, as well as the bagel shops.

We did have a pretty good tres leche cake from a bakery on Washington a few years ago, but BOY was it expensive! I think it was around $30 for a small cake.

I miss NYC all the time, but especially when bakery talk starts.

CorrND said...

joanne -- definitely agreed about not being able to find a decent bagel in Indy. When I first moved here, I tried for a long time to find a good shop. I've become resigned to the situation and just get Einstein bagels now, and not very often, which is very sad.

terrykirts said...

Good bread and bagels are hard to come by in Indy, but we do better by cakes, pastries, and doughnuts (though I'm sad that most people think consider a "bakery" here a place to get something sweet). That said, in my mind (and mouth), nothing trumps Café Heidelberg for their multilayered European style cakes, cookies, breakfast pastries, and, around the holiday times, springerlies. While it's not there every time, the poppyseed cake with a layer of a poppyseed filling and one of cheesecake is divine. These are a tad firmer and drier than what people typically want here, but the cakes all have wonderful flavor to them, and they're excellent with coffee or tea. It makes me sad that some people consider the kitschy-ness of the store with all its cuckoo clocks and lederhosen a reason not to take this place seriously. But it's a true Indianapolis treasure. Part of the problem with bread these days is that every chain grocery store has its own "artisan" (I hate that term when applied to food items) breads, and some of them aren't too bad. I think that the Cuisine de France focaccia is really quite good, and I've had some breads from the local Super Targets lately that have been pretty good grocery store breads. Sunflower Market used to have some decent breads as well, though they've changed things around so much and forced shoppers into their store brands so much that I usually steer clear. We've had some moments of brilliance around here--there was a bakery called "Breads of the World" on the Southside that had their stuff at Atlas when I first came to town, and those breads, $5 a loaf in 1995!, would have been good in any city. And the Bakehouse, despite its cost, is doing something on a commerical level that no other bakery in the state is doing, and they are definitely of a better quality. Baguettes are good when fresh, and some dinner rolls someone brought to my house from the Bakehouse this weekend has a wonderfully chewy exterior and a dense texture inside with a good yeasty/sourdoughy flavor that didn't overpower. So, it's not like we're lost in a city where there's only Wonder Bread, though we did invent that and give it its trademark wrapper right here in Indianapolis!

Joanne said...

Terry, you're 'sad' that people want to get sweet treats at bakeries? That seems strange.

I am starting my farm fresh deliveries this week and we've ordered bread from Scholar's Bakehouse, which I am looking forward to. I respectfully disagree that there are good cakes, pastries and donuts to be found in town. This is just compared to what I grew up with in NJ and had when I lived in NYC. Sometimes I swear it's the water, because I don't understand why else the bagels and pizza and coffee is so different in NYC than here.

I haven't tried Cafe Heidelberg, though, thanks for the heads up.

scubachef said...

I've heard several bagel-lovers say good things about Bagel Fair in Nora. I've been as-happy-as-I-can-be-about-a-bagel with the ones from Shapiro's (especially the Pumpernickel). But I still say "the best bagel" = "the tallest midget".