Café Besalu is not the kind of place you pop into for coffee and pastry on the run. Not because you wouldn’t want to, but because customers frequently spill out the door and do the sidewalk wait. Stand in line. It’s worth it, particularly when the sun’s out. As your back warms, your stomach will growl at the smell of fresh baked pastry dough. This is not cause for embarrassment. Listen closely. The jumbled line of people is a raucous choir of small growls, deep growls, and the friendly banter of conversation.
Their coffee comes in big, ceramic mugs. The kind you’re meant to wrap your hands around on a cold day. But it’s their pastries which draw the crowd. They sit in a large glass display case, as unassuming as a star athlete sitting on the bench waiting to be plucked into action. There are choices of sweet and savory, all delicately crafted. Pick from dense cookies, puff pastries, bursting popovers, or their famous signature croissants.
If you have time to snag a chair, I recommend sitting near the window. Bring something to read. You will want to take your time. If there are no seats, consider a nearby hikes and order your delicious snacks to go. Lara Louise and I spent a glorious mid-Sunday morning walking to a lookout at Discovery Park. We stopped where the cliff drops nearly 100-feet to a sandy beach. From a small picnic table, we watched sailboats glide through the bay and at times forgot to talk. This why good food should be eaten with best friends – they won’t blame you when you forget to pay attention.
We tried three different pastries. (No, we didn’t try the famous croissants, though I have been back for one and find them delicious.) The first was a Ginger Biscuit. It was dense, with a touch of salt, and big flecks of crystallized sugar.
Second, was a Brioche. Instead of the plain one, I chose one with cheese. I love cheese. Its dough had enough of a bite to sink your teeth into, but it was still light enough to not sit heavily in my stomach.
It was the Pear Tart which stole my voice and made small “mmm” noises escape from Lara Louise. Its flaky, buttery layers of phyllo dough held the sweet juices of baked pear. Juices which ran down our chins as we took large bites. In a not so ladylike fashion, I licked my face. Perhaps it was a good thing we didn’t snag a chair.
I have heard the quiche is amazing and maybe I will try it, but only if I’m really hungry. Not ordering the Pear Tart would be a sin.
Ginger Biscuit: $1.85
Cheese Brioche: $2.35
Pear Tart: $3.25