This is the fourth post in the Quick Weekend Getaway to Napa / Sonoma Series. Other posts in this series include: Benzinger Family Winery, Jack London State Park, and Mayo Family Winery.
This is also post 26 on the 31 Posts in 31 Days challenge.
I love cute little bakeries like this one in Sonoma.
Crisp Bake Shop is a family-owned business that is barely two years old. It started when Andrea Koweek, a pastry chef who's worked at places like The French Laundry and The Girl & the Fig, saw a need for a bakery in Sonoma Valley after seeing many clients go outside of Sonoma to order cakes and desserts.
At that time, Moaya Scheiman, a chef who had taught at the Ramekins Culinary School for years before moving to San Francisco to work at Tamal Vino y Mas, was just about ready to call it quits in the kitchen. He said he was "done"- ready to move to Panama, relax, and retire.
And then Andrea suggested her idea and dream:
What about opening up their own place?
Before you knew it, a perfect location had miraculously popped up. One day while in the neighborhood, Moaya and Andrea saw a person hanging up a "for sale" sign at a well-revered bakery called Artisan Bakers. They approached the person, expressed interest, and nabbed the space before it went on the market.
Crisp Bake Shop opened in 2012 and has been going super strong since then. The wedding cake business is booming, and the bakery cafe itself is popular among locals and delightfully warm and inviting. We were so excited to stop by on Easter morning right before church to sample a variety of their baked goods.
Crisp Bake Shop sources its coffee from Equator Coffee, a local coffee roaster from San Rafael, California that strongly believes in growing and roasting its own sustainable coffee beans. We tried both the drip coffee and cappuccinos and thought they were both good.
There are all different kinds of pastries, both sweet and savory. This breakfast pastry reminded me of an empanada (after all, we had just returned from Argentina).
Inside, it was filled with eggs, bacon, and potatoes. It was satisfying and delicious.
This muffin-like pastry is actually another savory breakfast pastry.
Ta da! Inside there's a fried egg along with crumbled bacon and other goodies.
This coconut topped mini-cake was soft, delicate, and moist.
Cut it in half to reveal the delicious cream inside.
I really enjoyed the twice baked strawberry & rhubarb stuffed croissant, which was filled with ultra fresh, local hand-picked strawberries.
Since it was Easter, they had this super cute cake in the display. It spilled out "Easter eggs" (actually, Jordan almonds), when you cut into it.
How cute is that?
Finally, we took a box of cookies to go with us on the road to try later at home. These cookies are fantastic. Andrea had told me that cookies were her favorite thing to make, and I can attest that she's extremely talented at the craft.
My favorite was the Chocolate Chunk Cookie with Sea Salt, which was perfect in just about every way. The chocolate "chips" were layered throughout the cookie, almost like they had put chocolate ribbons in the cookie dough. I loved the addition of sea salt to the cookie, which really elevated it to another level. Andrea admitted that she loves mixing salty and sweet, and in general leans towards the side of salty when it comes to desserts (I love that!).
The other cookies were excellent as well. One of my friends loved the dulce de leche filled sandwich cookie so much she finished it before I had a chance to try it.
We had a wonderful time at Crisp Bake Shop and enjoyed everything we tried. I only wished we had time to try their lunch menu, which includes a variety of delicious-looking sandwiches. Lunch is the only time you get to try their own freshly baked bread.
We learned that the kitchen is super energy efficient (they don't have any stoves!). Moaya told me they rely on a lot of modern technology, such as induction burners and sous vide, to save energy and increase efficiency.
We also had a chance to look at their album of wedding cakes and we were floored by the complexity and beauty of the cakes. I can totally see why they are so booked already!
All in all, this is a great place to stop by for breakfast, lunch, or a box of cookies to take away. If you're looking for a special cake, definitely consider coming here. They also have fun seasonal stuff going on. For example, during Easter they sold Easter cakes as well as $1 hand-piped peeps (if you look closely you can see them in the photo above).
You really can't go wrong with whatever you choose.
My personal favorite? The Chocolate Chunk Cookie with Sea Salt.
Disclaimer: This tasting was set up for me by the Sonoma Valley Visitor's Bureau. Bryan and I did not pay for the tasting. All opinions are my own.
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