Sunday, January 26, 2014

Blue Dog Bakery and Cafe (Louisville, KY)

Since it opened several years ago, Blue Dog has been supplying the Louisville community with crusty, delicious Artisan bread.  Having enjoyed their bread (and cookies!) for years I was eager to test the brunch repertoire they are now offering.  What can I say except the whole experience was a delight! 

Blue Dog has a very homy feel buoyed by the fact that it is outfitted primarily with customized wooden benches, tables, and chairs.  The pastries are displayed neatly and piled high behind the counter so they catch a customer's gaze when they first walk in the door.  Not only does Blue Dog have an amazing variety of cookies, macaroons, croissants, and brioche but all of their products actually taste good! The scones are tender and crumbly, the croissants are buttery and flaky yet avoid being greasy, and the bread is crusty, moist and light.

Bourbon French Toast
I have now brunched at Blue Dog twice.  On my first trip there I tried the Bourbon French toast and a croissant.  On my second trip I sampled the arugula, bacon, and poached egg pizza.  Let's start with the french toast.  It was light, fluffy, and very bourbony but not heavy or cloyingly sweet.  Also the toast arrived beautifully presented with a twist of orange on top which made me all the more eager to eat it.  The croissant was also a delight and was presented beautifully with Hero apricot jam and Plugra butter.  These garnishments alone convinced me to take Blue Dog seriously. Use of Plugra definitely indicates that a pastry chef is not messing around.

A week later I tried the bacon and egg pizza.  This pizza was.....heavenly! The crust was light, soft with a crunchy exterior.  The cheese base was delicious and not overpowering to the bacon and arugula toppings.   The pizza was, beautifully presented on a clean wooden board.  I would say the serving size was adequate for two moderately hungry individuals.
Bacon Arugula Poached Egg Pizza

The delicious treats coupled with the friendly staff, and buzzing ambiance implore me to give Blue Dog 4 out of 4 stars.   This place is a MUST if you are ever in Louisville.  Blue rock my world!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Wiltshire Pantry - Bakery and Cafe (Louisville, KY)

I am not usually brunch person, being cost conscious and also aware of the fact that I can always scrounge together at least a bowl of cereal for a Sunday meal, but I made an exception today.  I made an exception because I heard so many rave reviews about a new brunch/breakfast place in town that I just had to try.  Thus began my journey to the Wiltshire Pantry.

The pantry is located off Barrett Avenue near downtown Louisville in a tiny little shop that backs onto its own catering premisis.  Arriving at noon on Sunday I was shocked to find a spartan selection of a few pastries and quiches.  To make matters more confusing, they had half-priced day old pastries displayed right next to the fresh ones.  So it was quite a shock to find out you weren't getting fresh goodies when choosing a particular item.  Well, I had gone this far so....I chose an apricot danish and a cappucino for breakfast.  My friend had the pain au raisin and a cappucino as well.  As the cash register was not located in a visible place it was confusing to even figure out how to pay for the meal but after that was finally accomplished we were seated.

To say that my pastry was lack luster may be a bit of an understatement.  When I'm getting charged $3 or $4 for pastry, especially at a place known for their pastries I expect beautiful, flaky goodness. The danish I ate was dry, flavorless, and totally unspectacular.  My friend said that her pain au raisin was no better than one of Kroger quality (and those pastries are only $0.99!).  The coffees were strong but average.  Also they were not served with sugar, a saucer, or even a spoon so it was difficult to properly adjust them for taste.  The ambiance was a bit dim and we ended up getting shafted to a dark table on the side since most of the tables near the window were taken.

I understand that as a baking graduate of the Culinary Institute of America I have high standards.  But c'mon guys these pastries were not even barely adequate.  I may be a bit harsh but I still maintain that Blue Dog Bakery on Frankfort Ave. is the only place to get a good breakfast pastry or for that matter, a loaf of bread.  Blue Dog, you can take a sigh of relief.  No competition here.