It’s only taken eight years for Clint Cooper to finally listen to all his Village Baking Co. groupies hollerin’ at him to open an actual storefront for his artisan breads. Thank the calories that he’s finally gone and done it. Now you don’t have to do your best five-year-old pout when the pear croissants are sold out at the local farmers markets.
In an email that Village Baking Co. sent, Jasmine Gonzalez writes:
Clint’s philosophy and passion for bread was cemented during his training at the San Francisco Baking Institute where he learned the fundamentals of age-old bread-making. To use only natural, as well as organic ingredients - unbleached flour, ground wheat, whole grains, filtered water, and sea salt – and absolutely no chemicals or preservatives. All of Village Baking’s Artisan breads are baked in small batches on hearth deck ovens giving our bread the distinctive melt-in-your mouth goodness and golden crust that is its signature.
Now, after operating our wholesale bakery supplying breads to restaurants throughout the DFW metroplex and bringing our goods to the local farmers’ markets on the weekends, we’ve decided to open a retail shop. Over the years, the overwhelmingly enthusiastic response we’ve received from our passionate and ever-growing farmers’ market customers, has inspired Clint to expand his initial vision and open a store-front that will make his breads and pastries available to everyone year-round.
The new store (5531 East University Blvd.) opens officially on October 4, and it’ll be open Thursday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., with plans to expand hours in the future. On September 29, though, the Coopers are hosting a “soft” opening for friends and family.
It starts at 6:00 p.m. The bread baker arrives in the kitchen, and the mixing begins. Two hours later, the rest of the baking staff arrives. A metal scooper dives deep into an industrial-sized sack of flour and dusts the surface of the countertops, prepping them for pastries: first the croissants, then the muffins, then the brioche. Nothing goes into the oven until 10:00 p.m.; long after the Main Street Bread Baking Company storefront has closed for the night. On weekdays Pierre, the head baker, pushes through the back doors of the kitchen at 2:00 a.m. to oversee the final stages of production amid the scent of leavening, melting chocolate, pastry cream, and almond.
She’s healthy and hopeful. Hear her plea:
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Hope you are well. I’d love to know where you think the best challah is in Dallas. In 20 years, I’ve yet to find one that is outstanding. I feel like I’ve tried them all. Surely I’m missing some. Any ideas?
Jump for more beautiful photos by Desiree Espada.
Last night I decided to drop into Princi Italia, Patrick Colombo’s new spot in the old Poplolos space in Preston Royal. The executive chef, Kevin Ascolese, was Columbo’s chef at Ferre in West Village. Before that he cooked at Salve and Mi Piaci. I also spotted veteran chef/baker David Brawley in the kitchen. If my brain synapses are functioning correctly today, I believe Brawley and Ascolese were together at Salve. (I can still taste the bread he made there.)
The space, designed by JonesBaker, has been completely redone into a sort of contemporary Texas-Tuscan farmhouse. The ceilings have been raised and I loved the rustic basket “chandeliers.” The room is light and open. I feel like the bar area may prove to be too small once word hits the surrounding neighborhood. Two flat screen TVs can be seen from any spot in the house. (Not so Tuscan.)
However, the food was classic Ascolese which translates into finer versions of “safe” Dallas Italian food. I could eat the tagliatelle Bolognese every night. The sauce was barely a sauce. The light, house made noodles were tossed with fresh tomatoes, basil, small bits of meat, and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Not a drop of liquid pooled on the bottom of the plate. Which I guess is a good thing because there would have been nothing for me to sop it up with. No bread. Patrick, you hired David Brawley and don’t serve bread on the table? Yes, he can make pizza dough; he proved that at Fireside Pies. And Princi does have a wood burning pizza oven. I guess I’ll eat pizza next time.
I almost choked on a salad of rapini and arugula. The greens were blanched and formed a tangled salad of soggy leaves and stems which were topped with a salty, in a good way, blob of burrata cheese. Once again I yearned for bread. The broth beneath the weed was a drinkable liquid of olive oil, specks of red pepper, and lemon. The plates of Italian “specialties” such as grilled Colorado trout, veal Slatimbocca, and grilled wild Alaska salmon going to other tables looked interesting. The portions are just right and priced from $13 to $20. The list is full of nice Italian reds, whites, and sparkling wine most of which are in the mid-$30 to $50 range. You can order a carafe of several interesting wines for $15 to $31 (12 ounces).
Princi reminds me of Popolos when they first opened—it’s a perfect fit for the demographics of the nearby neighborhood. However, times have changed and Princi is much more casual. Shower shoes and shorts and school uniforms were the norm last night.
This week Kristy Alpert manga’s some Italiano.
Overview: Tucked away in an ever-so-elusive location in the warehouse district of Addison is where you can [hope to] find Donato and Carolyn Milano’s tantalizing Italian bakery, La Spiga Bakery and Cafe. The scent is so powerful it can’t be contained by brick and glass walls, as patrons can catch their first whiff of warm, baked bread as soon as they step foot into the parking lot. Open since 1994, La Spiga is known for one product: artisanal bread. Boasting hotel, restaurant, and country club clients around Dallas and the ‘burbs, this bakery has made their passion known. But there’s a whole other side to this leavened location. Continue reading "Ate it For $8: La Spiga Bakery and Café in Addison"
It used to be that the parents could go away to golf, chill, and dine in luxury or they could take the kids to the place where little ones are given the impression that the whole world was designed for them. The JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort combines both options. Golf predominates for adults, with not one but two TPC (Tournament Players Club) 18-hole courses designed by Pete Dye and Greg Norman exclusively serving resort guests. The centerpiece of activities for kids is a six-acre water park named the River Bluffs Water Experience where you’ll find a 650-foot rapid river ride, multiple water slides, 1,100 ft. lazy river, children and adult pools, whirlpools, and an expansive activity pool. These, and a host of other amenities (about more of which below), are not only the province of families, who tend to fill the weekends. During the week, the resort switches identities to become one of the leading corporate retreat locations in Texas. It is one of the few places where a Hewlett Packard, or a Yahoo, can bring thousands of employees. Continue reading "Weekend Trip: JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort"3 Comments »
The Dallas area is home to an impressive cadre of artisan bakers headed up by the good folks at Empire Baking on Lovers, La Spiga in Addison, Ravelin Bakery in Denton and the Bread Haus and Main Street Baking Company, both in Grapevine (not to mention Central Market, Eatzi’s and the elusive (and possibly defunct) Bistro Mama at Eden’s Organic Garden Center). With all those hands on deck you’d think it would be safe to assume that the region’s conditions are ideal for happy yeast and a successful crumb.
With this in mind, I’ve spent the last three months trying to bake just one passable loaf in my own kitchen. My failures have convinced me that these guys know some bit of leavening magic that I don’t.
My first loaf, which I bullishly made as a hostess gift for a party at my husband’s new boss’ home, was salty enough to attract deer. (Lesson: Never make for others that which has not crossed your own palate at least once.)
click the link to read the rest of the story… Continue reading "The Bread Baker’s Apprentice"10 Comments »