All Good Bakers – Albany, NY
Those of us who have been around the capital region for the past several years know that the bigger name bakeries are just not great. I’ve spoken in the past about my frustration with the Italian bakeries that don’t even have good bread.
It’s become more and more attractive to me to purchase my baked goods at the bakery stands at the local farmers markets because there’s a dedication to quality and the added bonus of the dedication to sustainability. The issue with the local farmers markets is that they’re only there when they’re there, and, although I’m sure you could place a special order, it’s difficult to ensure that what you want will be there when you get there.
Wouldn’t it be great to have a local mom-and-pop bakery dedicated to local and sustainable products that’s open for more than a few hours every week?
All Good Bakers recently opened a new shop in the Delaware Avenue South (or Delso) neighborhood that has has hours throughout the week. It has been featured in the past on All Over Albany and many other local blogs, and it took me until the week before they closed up shop at their old shop to actually visit.
My initial impressions on the visit to that place was that I liked their bread and that I really liked their little snacks.
Ever since they’ve opened at 540 Delaware Ave, I’ve been eager to sit down in the shop and have a sandwich and some soup.
We made the trip over to that end of Albany just after noon on a Saturday. They were already starting to get busy; the four tables in the front area were occupied (one by fellow blogger Jen of Jen is Green, who is someone I’d totally expect to love this place based on the foods I’ve seen her write about).
We took a quick second to look over the menu, while simultaneously looking at the baked goods for sale. There’s a lot to take in.
I initially ordered a Delso Cookie and a Caramel apple pecan philmore. I would have also had a peanut butter energy ball, and a pain au chocolat, and a delicious looking frosted bun, and …you get the point. Everything looked delicious. But I had to focus.
From the grilled cheese sandwiches, I ordered the “YEM” (You Enjoy My) sandwich [black pepper camembert with onion chutney on country French sourdough bread – $5]. I also ordered a cup of the soup, black bean habanero [$2.50]. (Side note: Is the soup and half sandwich deal at Panera even under $8 any more? #justsayin #PaneraSucks)
To drink, I had many options, but I had to go for the Meadowbrook farms chocolate milk [$2.50 for a small].
While we sat and waited for our lunch, I snacked on the Delso Cookie.
It was very moist and packed with lots of things, (obviously) butter, flour, butterscotch, dried cranberries, chocolate. It was a little busy, I guess. Tasty, but not something I’d get again.
I sipped on my chocolate milk, served in a cute little jar, after I ate my cookie.
It didn’t take long for our sandwiches to arrive. And mine looked spectacular.
This is definitely the grownup extension to the grilled cheese experience. R&G’s black pepper camembert cheese (locally made) is topped with a sweet, slightly sour, and crunchy onion chutney and then sandwiched by two slices of All Good’s French sourdough bread. The bread is toasted lightly in butter that they make on site with Meadowbrook farms cream. I like that it was lightly toasted in the butter because it leaves some of the chewy texture to the bread and also didn’t melt the cheese away. The onion chutney acted as the slightly acidic counterpoint to the cheese and buttery bread.
My soup arrived moments later. I thought the presentation was cute.
I’m pretty down about ordering soups in general because I usually find that they’re not substantial and are uninteresting. In this case, this little 2-3 oz portion of soup left me totally satisfied. The soup was mainly beans with other vegetables like carrots and potatoes with just enough liquid to keep it together. I felt like it was well seasoned and spiced nicely; habanero can usually take the heat past a comfortable level, but it didn’t here at all. It was kind of fun to eat around the little dollop of sour cream on top; the challenge of trying to get just enough sour cream in each bite kept this an engaging experience.
I had the caramel apple pecan philmore be my dessert.
Britin described this to me as their croissant dough wrapped around caramel, apples, and pecans. It was buttery and delicious. The bottom was sticky and had some good spice. The apples distributed throughout the pastry had a nice, chewy texture but still had some snap to them. Occasionally, there was a whole pecan in the mix. The buttery pastry worked nicely with the nuts and apple.
What is clear from the meal is that all of the love and dedication that you can tell goes into promoting their products throughout the social media outlets is a real thing. If you follow them on facebook, you get to read all about their products and how they source their goods, things that show that they have a deep passion for their food and for the area. Their list of suppliers shows that they’re not just phoning it to the Sysco truck. They’re taking the time to forge relationships with the local providers and allowing their own products to shine. If they keep it up, with their eye on quality, they are destined for success.