The Baker's Dozen
People's Food Coop a couple doors down produces varied baked goods for both the Cafe Verde case and wrapped to go in the salad bar coolers. Though I've been happy with many choices, the frosted coconut chocolate chunk blondie bar is simple perfection. It costs $1.99 and tastes as pure as the low-syllable-count ingredients listed on its label--just flour, brown sugar, coconut, chocolate chips, eggs, butter, vanilla, and sea salt.
Bridging our journey from sweet to savory is the place with high-quality multitudes of both--in fact, I could have counted from one to thirteen without leaving Zingerman's Bakehouse and its orange-roofed row of brethren businesses on Plaza Dr. Resisting the spectacular brownies, muffins, and custard-filled sensations, my desert-island Zingerman's sweet is a timeless classic: the big leaf-shaped palmier, made of croissant dough dressed up for dessert in shiny caramelized sugar glaze. It easily breaks down the middle into two lobes so you can share--even on a desert island you may not want to scarf it all (though if you do, it's a total deal at $2.95). To sit down pronto to relaxed nibbling, or even warm your pastry in a nearby microwave, head next door to the four-table Swanky Cafe, which smells as butterific as the Zingerman's cake bakery it's part of.
For the Zingerman's savory entry, can I count sourdough rolls that just happen to have huge chunks of chocolate? If not, I'll go with pogacsa, the tiny, buttery cheese-enhanced national roll of Hungary. They cost just seventy-five cents, and I prefer the version sprinkled with caraway and poppy seeds for extra flair.