This is not a definitive list. Nor is it a “Best Of” list. Nor is it a guide of any type.
This is me sharing with you the bakeries I’ve visited lately and enjoyed. It does not include bakeries that specialize in cupcakes. I’ll devote a whole posting to cupcakes later.
Bakeries are a subjective thing. Some people long for the old fashioned smell of yeasty bread baking. Others want a chic place to meet friends. Some of us only buy items we don’t like to bake ourselves while others of us want to taste items we love to bake ourselves and see what the differences are like.
There is, of course, some amount of guilt involved with enjoying bakery food. The butter, the sugar, the trans-fats. And because of the guilt, there has to be an equal or larger amount of emotional satisfaction.
You have only to read other postings on Chow Town to understand the emotional relationship between humans and their bakery favorites. When Kimberly Winter Sternwrites about pies, when Jasper Mirabile Jr. writes about his beloved cannoli, when Judith Fertig writes about cinnamon rolls, you can tell those delicacies aren’t just filling their empty stomachs.
So you must search for your own cookie or tart or slice of pie, you know, the one that is really worth it. Here are some places to start your quest, in alphabetical order.
Andre’s Confiserie Suisse
(5018 Main St., 816-561-6484)
Since 1955 Andre’s has been bringing the European experience to Kansas City. About 1970, I had my first slice of quiche there, and my first piece of Linzor torte. I felt so Continental. I wish I had one of their Napoleons right now.
Boulevard Bakery Pastries
(2815 Independence Blvd., 816-483-7172)
This is decorated cookie headquarters. You can get cookies for all the holidays plus offbeat themes like Doctor and Dental, Outer Space or Circus. All the categories are on their website. Cash or check only.
(3930 W. 69th Terrace, Prairie Village, 913-236-4411)
They say their cinnamon roll is their best seller, but my money goes on the chocolate dipped macaroons every time.
(1702 Summit St., 816-842-7272)
Many years ago, I did my catering out of Charlene’s kitchen at Classic Cup. I tried to work in the evenings so I wouldn’t be in the way. Soon two men were working at night also, starting a bread company. From that start has emerged two wonderful sources for bread: Farm to Market Co. and Fervere. One partner, Mark Friend, wanted to expand the business and he has been successful at that, Farm to Market, providing bread for many of the city’s supermarkets. The other partner, Fred Spompinato, wanted to stay small and make only what he could create by hand himself, thus Fervere. He has been successful at that as well, giving Kansas City two unique slants on that most essential item, bread. Fervere is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday. That photo of the sold out sign in the window is a warning: Go when they open the doors or call ahead.
Le Monde Bakery
(308 Armour Road, North Kansas City, 816- 474-0055)
What nice people. What good croissant. I loved the almond and then I tasted the chocolate and I don’t know which I like better. What a great dilemma to have.
(201 E. Gregory Blvd., 816-523-9911)
Although the same people don’t own McClain’s that started it in 1945, the same Midwestern bakery vibe continues. Still make cinnamon rolls by the dozens. Still make those famed pecan sandies with the chocolate kiss on top. Cash or check only.
Le Petit Rouge Bakery
(328 W. 63rd St., 816-753-0441)
Karen Geary is another friend from the Classic Cup days. She has created the sweetest bakery inside the Reading Reptile in Brookside. The flaky crust on my individual pumpkin tart was sublime. I wonder who enjoys Petit Rouge most, the kids that come to get a book, or the parents that bring them?
The Upper Crust
(115 Westport Road, 816-561-4990 and 7943 Santa Fe Dr., Overland Park, 913-642-2999)
Every Friday and Saturday a corner of the crowded ground floor at Pryde’s in Westport is filled with the most marvelous pies and cookies. The meringue stands tall, the fruit glistens, the crust is just right and there are cookies with names like salted caramel pecan bars and burnt sugar frosted banana. Need I say more?
Lou Jane Temple’s road to food has been a long and winding one. First as a rock n roll caterer back stage to the stars, then with her own Kansas City based catering company, Cafe Lulu, food writing, novelist, private chef. Lou Jane has written and had published nine culinary mysteries and one cookbook. She recently moved back to Kansas City and eagerly awaits the next chapter of her food career.