run for the border and find the bakeries, but use a different reason for crossing other then eating at bakeries like we did...
Our bakery visit to Canada was almost hijacked when the uptight hipster lumberjack border officer handed our passports back, along with a yellow slip. “Pull in to Row 3.” We pulled in and waited. No officer arrived, so we asked two nuns getting in their minivan if we needed to go inside. Yes, nuns in a minivan. Probably had the same guy we did.
Once inside another officer sternly asked what our plans were? Really, we are just going to visit bakeries. On a Friday. We proved it by showing a Facebook post and GPS history. We also mentioned cooking classes and blog. The officer scolded us for being vague at the booth and cleared us of international criminal intent.
At last we were off to our first stop, Duft & Co. Bakehouse, located just minutes beyond the Sumas border crossing. Started a little over a year ago by Tyler and Cassandra and located in historic downtown Abbotsford, this bakehouse fills a void in Fraser Valley - the need for a good, friendly artisanal bakery.
Walking in we were immediately greeted with the yummy smell that only a bakery can create: yeast, flour, coffee, sugar, and a very slight smokiness from grilling sandwiches. It was lunchtime and very busy.
Their daily menu of breads, pastries, gluten-free items were neatly displayed along the L-shaped counter and shelves on the back wall. All their baked goods are created in their kitchen downstairs, where a steady stream of staff, like worker bees going into a hive, disappeared to retrieve more.
After chatting with the counter staff and introducing ourselves as Flour Pot, we ordered Lemon Sugar Buns, Lemon Danish, Almond Butter Cake, and a cappuccino. The cappuccino was perfect and each item had just the right amount of sweet, glaze, and chewiness. Cassandra chatted with us at the table and mentioned they do not sell day old, preferring to give to local food banks instead, LOVE that.
Tyler and Cassandra’s experience in restaurants runs deep, and their passion for what they do is evident in their enthusiasm, smiles, and the warm atmosphere they have created, even taking time in the middle of the rush to pose for a picture. Their creations seem to be a natural extension of themselves.
Visit their web site here: http://duftandco.com/index.html,
Our next destination was in Fort Langley, BC, which was a suggestion from a local we met camping years ago at Lake Chelan and became Facebook friends with.
Located in new Reid Block built on the historic site of the Reid Building, with its blacksmith shop and garage, Chef Stephan Chigas decided to connect to that history by naming his shop the Blacksmith Bakery.
The daily soup special was mushroom, which is one food I'm not fond of. I ordered a bowl anyways, I figured Tom would like it. It was fantastic, it was smooth and creamy without any cream. I almost wanted to get a second bowl because I enjoyed it so much! Stephan said the soup starts the day before with a mirepoix. I already have a few ideas on how I'm going to try and recreate it.
A spinach and feta roll and a chorizo roll encased in a light, flaky croissant dough was the perfect thing to dip in the soup.
The attention to detail at Blacksmith was really impressive and a reflection of Chef Stephan's years in top-notch, Michelin-rated establishments in the UK and France. The roll-up doors, open kitchen, wall art, product presentation were all world class while maintaining a welcoming, efficient atmosphere. Stephan was happy to share what was going on in the kitchen, letting us snap shots while talking about the fact that he has more ideas than time - what he has created so far is fantastic.
After a bit of shopping, and a lovely visit with Shirley Kemple, the owner of Country Lane Antiques (we wanted to buy so many things there) we were ready for some dinner and a beer.
We found ourselves sitting at the bar at Fort Pub. www.fortpub.com Tom ordered something I snubbed, but ended up eating half the plate of them. Dry Garlic Pork Bites, which are the house marinated boneless pork with soy, brown sugar and garlic, fried crisp and tossed in sea salt and fresh cracked pepper. YUM.
The Thai Cashew Prawn bowl that we subbed chicken for the prawns packed a spicy punch, with great flavors. The highlight of our time here was our very friendly bar tender Kevin, who spent so much time sharing fun facts, local info, and a love of food with us that he kept getting in trouble with the servers wanting drink orders.
It was a great day- after the crossing. The memories, new friends made and tasty treats that were eaten made for yet another wonderful, random, tasty road trip.