City Newspaper, Rochester's "alternative" newspaper, recently ran the results of its voting for the Best of Rochester 2008. I found the Food and Drink winners list to be a little disappointing, just because I think the winners are the places that are the most top of mind for their categories, and not necessarily the best. But the list happened to include a few spots that have been on my backlog to write about, so this seems to be as good time as any to do so. The first is the place that won Best Bakery, The Little Bakery.
I had been hearing about the place for a few years but had never had reason to visit it, until my son attended a camp at the Eastman School of Music last summer. As I drove past the bakery, I almost slammed on the brakes when it caught my eye -- it is so cute! The building is, as the name implies, very little. An abundance of flowers as well as grapevines growing around the doorway, make it look quaint and inviting.
Even the view from the side parking lot is cute!
Inside, I was astounded that such a little building could turn out such a huge assortment of baked goods!
My younger son and I stopped there twice, and both times we had a hard time deciding what to get.
One time, I got an almond croissant, because a good, buttery, flaky croissant is hard to come by in Rochester.
I am sad to say that I wasn't thrilled with the croissant. I was hoping the outside layer would be delicate, buttery and a little crispy, and the inside would be tender layers, but it had the same bread-y texture throughout. We were there on a humid day, which might have made it hard to make a good croissant, but in any case I wouldn't get one there again.
The other time I was there I ordered a nutty scone.
The scone itself had a nice texture -- not dry or crumbly -- but I would have liked it to be just a little sweeter. It was topped with a super sweet frosting -- almost like a fondant -- that was too thick and dense for my taste. To be honest, I'd pick a Starbucks Maple Oat Walnut scone (or whatever Starbucks calls it) over that one.
My son got a chocolate chip cookie, and it was just ok -- kind of skimpy on the chocolate chips. I prefer the texture and abundant chocolate chips in the chocolate chip cookies at Wickham Farms and at Elegant Expressions (both in Penfield).
Another day my son got a cute flower cut-out cookie. The cookie was rolled very thin and was less sweet than most cut-out cookies I've had. The frosting layer was almost as thick as the cookie itself and was very similar to the frosting I had on the scone. I liked the cookie but my son didn't.
So do I think the Little Bakery is the best in Rochester? If you're judging on atmosphere and selection, yes. As for the taste of the baked goods -- well, I think I'd have to take a few more trips there and try some more goodies before I say for sure. (It's a tough job, but anything for my loyal readers...)