I have been on the search for a bakery to fall in love with for sometime. The type of place where you know people just labor over sheets and sheets of pastry. The type of place where there are neat little piles of pastry scattered over a countertop. A place where everything looks as though it was hand-made. There is something about a place where the pastry case plays a limited role that just sings to me. I feel like I am in another country. A divine jaunt into a French countryside where croissants rule and brioche is wildly available. Walking into Scratch Baking Co. hit all of these elements. The moment I opened the door and took a giant whiff of the air, I knew, I had found something really special. And obviously, I’m not the only one, as the place was packed. This place isn’t a secret. The word is out. On-line, reviews were everywhere, they spoke of one of a kind bagels and truly wonderful coffee. Just looking at the website made me die to take a gander in real life, but the reviews from real folks, none of which were bad, really sealed the deal for me. I needed to go. I needed to see. I needed to eat.
Yes, you guessed it. I broke my no sugar rule. I HAD TO. I mean, I had to. I just had to.
The kids, husband and I took a drive over Saturday morning. It was about a half an hour from my house, long way you say? No, not even, I would drive to the ends of the earth for this place. As busy as it was inside, we were lucky enough to score a front and center parking space and there was definitely more to spare. Upon first glance inside, after the kids stormed the place, I noticed there were only a couple of bagels left. My heart sank a little. Oh no, I thought, this is what I came for, but no worries, they were full again within seconds. Like an answer to a magnificent prayer, this lovely lady came in this white apron and filled the bins right back up. Even after this divine occurrence, I actually ended up ditching the bagels because once I caught wind of everything else, those little rounds just couldn’t compare in my eyes. There were so many options and I felt like I was pulled in a bazillion directions, I mean, kids were screaming, people were moving, my husband looked confused. But then, I saw them, the gorgeous plate filled with “Bear Claws” (almond croissants) which looked unlike anything I have ever seen in Maine.
So I bought two, one for Miles and one for me. My husband got a slice of lemon poppy something bread. Emma chose a chocolate croissant and for the road to Massachusetts later on, I purchased a loaf of their vegan banana bread. Most likely, if left to my own free will I would have bought: ten loaves of bread, sixteen bagels and one hundred of their little luscious chocolate cakes. But in this one instance, toddler tantrums did come in handy because little Miles got me out of there before I could do any real damage. I sort of ignored the lady at the cash register because of this ridiculous melt down that was in fact occurring but I did notice her completely warm smile, adorning offer of an extra bag and willingness to not judge my obnoxious two-year old. That to me, is worth a million bucks. Thanks check out lady, you were super nice. 🙂
The food lived up to the hype. That bear claw was the best thing I have eaten in a long time and after almost 9 miles logged in the books running the night before, I felt as though it was amply deserved. I savored every bite of the crispy but not too crunchy exterior. I licked up every morsel of almond paste that ran perfectly throughout. And I thoroughly savored every single bit of chewy, moist interior that just complemented the exterior perfectly. Miles sat happy for three whole minutes. Emma didn’t speak for five minutes. Josh and I argued about not getting coffee but who cares, it didn’t take away from my bit of happy. Later on, while visiting with my mother in Boston, we enjoyed the banana bread with coffee which was perfectly done.
It’s a place I will escape to often. It’s a place I will dream about at night. Bakeries like this one are hard to come by and I couldn’t be happier I stumbled upon it. When you care about the craft, it shows, and these people obviously care a lot.
416 Preble St.
South Portland, ME