Sunday, December 11, 2016

Best Cure For the Mondays

How to Cure a Case of the Mondays

So it's Monday again. I begrudgingly open my eyes as my alarm goes off at 6 AM.  Now when you wake up and you have been hit with the worse case of the Mondays. A clinically depressing, mind bending, soul ripping case of the Mondays. How are you supposed to fix that? You need something strong to knock you back and get you through the rest of the day.

No, I am not referring to Starbucks over-roasted coffee. No amount of caffeine is right for this situation. My personal Monday pick me up is pastries. Yup, a healthy combination of sugar, butter and flour mixed, stirred, baked and fried to perfection. In particular, I enjoy two great bakeries in Seattle to help me say goodbye to the Monday Blues. Alright, one of them is a doughnut not really a bakery. The other is a classic French bakery in Ballard. They are typically out of my way, and they might be out of yours. However, if you need a cure for the Mondays. General Porpoise and Cafe Besalu in Seattle are great places to go! Both produce excellent products that are sure to put a smile on your face. Most importantly, make sure you visit these places and pick up some for your co-workers! What makes a team happier than doughnuts and pastries first thing in the morning?

General Porpoise

Renee Erikson's  doughnut shop on Capitol Hill is an amazing place to get rid of your Monday blues. I am curious where the name came from and this cute little picture. Who this porpoise was a general over, I don't know. But he looks kind of official, so I have to trust him right?

I enjoy being up early, before the city really wakes up. It is great to drive in before my typical 9-5 starts and find some delicious sweet to bring back to the office to brighten everybody's Monday.

Thoughts of fluffy egg doughnuts filled my head as I pulled my car over at 6:30 AM, right by the entrance of General Porpoise. I was actually 30 minutes early. Whoops...

I got out of my car and had to enjoy a moment of the brisk Seattle air, before the traffic beat down the fresh air with the daily commute. It is not exactly like breathing in the air on Orcas Island, but there seems to be a slightly fresher feel about it(maybe I am to exposed to city air).

As I circle the block for the third time, I realize it is about time for General Porpoise to open. So instead of continuing my walk I pop into the quaint little store.

General Porpoise has a very contemporary feel as most restaurants do these days. It has a beautiful slab of marble running across the entire counter top. Behind the counter there is a sports car red espresso machine, and at the very end of the counter there are two fancy looking coffee making apparatuses. The combination creates an experience that feels like a coffee shop that mixed with an old fashion malt shop. 

As for the doughnuts themselves. Those are positioned closest to the front entrance on the counter. They have them nicely modularized into each specific flavors.

They offer seasonal flavors, so I can't guarantee what you will find when you get there. I found five flavors. They had Chocolate Marshmallow, Lemon Curd, Vanilla Custard, Date Shake and Tomato jam. I wasn't really feeling tomato, so I stuck with the more classically sweet flavors.

Of course you want to order more than you need. However, at $3.85 a pop. You run into some personal price barriers. I would still recommend you at least order one, before letting price be an issue.

I ordered 10 for my office, yeah, that hurt the wallet a bit. The gentleman behind the counter nestled my 10 doughnuts snugly into their temporary home as I drove them to an unsuspecting office that would soon be filled with fellow Monday diseased comrades. 

It was great to see everyone's faces light up when they realized their Monday was not going to be so bad! There were no survivors(doughnuts), even in my office of about 6 people. 

Well that is an exciting picture! I think it is best to look at these doughnuts grouped together...there is just something sexy about the 10 crammed together. 

I had a little bit of each but you can imagine each look about the same on the outside. Even the inside is really the same product with a slightly different tint. 

This is wear the similarities end. As I bit into one half of the chocolate doughnut. All I could think of was my grandmother's doughnuts. These doughnuts tasted like the farm fresh eggs they touted. They were eggy, light, and soft. 

The lemon curd was one of my favorites. I tend to like brighter flavors vs. heavier. In this case, the lemon delivered. It was bright and fresh, the curd was perfect for me. Compared to the chocolate, and vanilla creme which were good! but not my personal favorites. If you like pastry cream, and Boston cream pie doughnuts, then I recommend ordering the vanilla and chocolate instead.

Next time you are Capitol Hill and you see a sign in the distance with a blurry "G" and near indiscernible letters on the bottom. Pop your head in and see if it is time for a fresh doughnut and  cup of coffee.

Cafe Besalu  

Under similar circumstances, I traveled one Monday morning to the far reaches of Ballard. It does always feel to be very far from where I live...

This time, I was on a trek to a far away bakery called Cafe Besalu!

 I prefer to call it the classic king. There are few places that do the classics as well as Café Besalu. There is no fuss, there is over the top flavors or wide contemporary space to sit. Nope, this place is a small café, it would struggle to fit the local soft ball team. The actual structure looks a little worn. It does have a cute little sign in front of the store shaped like a croissant. Telling of good things in store for your future. 


 Inside you will find an older looking pastry case filled with a variety of goodies. Sweets with names you may have never even heard before and that give my auto correct heart burn. All of them glisten with a light glaze of either egg, or apricot preserve(I am not sure which).  

Of course you can see the espresso machine on the counter and maybe even a little of the kitchen. The oven behind the counter looks like it is 20- 30 years old. The place is far from feeling new(to contrast General Porpoise). Who cares though? When the pastries are as good as they are here, who cares?

There is always a silent baker lurking in the back, at least he has never said anything to me. He could be very talkative and friendly!  Perhaps, I myself am to awkward to start a conversation. There is not a huge display case. Instead, a small, maybe 7 foot wide pastry display. It is loaded with pain de chocolats, Apple Pastries, Hazelnut twists, and so on. All filled with the maximum amount of butter each pastry can handle. Before you start crying foul and telling me how unhealthy this all is, please stop. If you are going to have a pastry, do it! Don't tell me about some half fat solution. I have tried them, trust me...This stuff is the real deal and is worth getting off your Paleo, non-gluten, fruit cleanse diet to taste. 

The bakers here don't hold back. Each pastry is full fat. You can smell it when you walk in the door. Smells of caramelized pastry dough and butter saturate the room. I could sit there all day if the management would let me. All I would do is bask in the smells, and have a small cup of espresso. 

Today, I still had my mission. My goal was to bring smiles on a sad Monday(the only reason it was sad was because it was Monday). 

Below are the different treats I brought. As mentioned above, there were pain de chocolats, Apple Pastries, Hazelnut twists and more. They were all amazing! I really can't say much more than that. Crispy, flaky, sweet, caramel, and nutty.

This brought just as many smiles as the doughnuts and was $10 dollars cheaper(for whatever that is worth!).

If you are having a bad case of the Mondays and need a pick me up. Check out these two great places! Cafe Besalu and General Porpoise are both amazing and their treats put smiles on everyone's faces.

General Porpoise, like most of the places I visit, this place was recommended by  a friend. Surprisingly, I knew Renee Erikson had one the 2016 best Northwest James Beard Award. Yet, I had no idea she had a doughnut shop. So this was a great find!

Cafe Besalu I have known about for a while and gone to on a few occasions. It performs amazing every time! It is consistently great.

Tags: Monday Cures, Top Monday, Doughnuts, Cream Filling, Yum; Cafe Besalu, Pastry, Butter, Croissant, Bad Monday, How to cure Mondays

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