Foreign & Domestic Bake Sale
Weekend, high-end pastries
By Virginia B. Wood, 3:12PM, Mon. May. 28, 2012
The line began to form about 9:30 as people walked, biked, and drove to this popular neighborhood restaurant where pastry chef and co-owner Jodi Elliot is hosting a pop-up bake shop at 10am on Saturday mornings.
The banner was hanging proudly on the corner of the building and, through the plate glass window, we pastry lovers could see chef Elliot and her staff busily arranging trays and baskets of pastries on tables in the small dining room.
Pink pastry boxes were piled on the banquette, coffee was brewed, and a glistening metal washtub was stocked with beverages chilling on ice. When the doors opened at 10am, the line of 25-30 people stretched to the street and we made an orderly progression past the tables to make our choices: cinnamon rolls slathered with cream cheese frosting, turtle brownies, giant skillet cookies, carrot or chocolate cupcakes, jars of chocolate trifle, several varieties of filled croissants and Danish pastries, the restaurant's signature giant black pepper and Gruyere popovers, whole buttermilk pies, or zucchini breads baked in tin cans, plus tiny containers of whipped honey butter and homemade blueberry jam. I took my box of booty back to the car and watched as the other early arrivals I'd visited with in line started for home with their goodies or moved to the restaurant's outdoor seating area to enjoy pastry and coffee as the line continued to grow.
This was week two of the bake sale and I had a chance to talk to Jodi Elliot about it after the crowd and almost all of the pastries were gone about 11:30am. "Rosie (Shipman, her assistant) and I made about three times more stuff this week than we did last week and almost all of it sold," she said, gesturing to the empty tables, "I'm really pleased by that."
Indeed, the bake sale has drawn an enthusiastic crowd two weeks in a row by posting information in their email newsletter, on Facebook, and Twitter. Now fans of Jodi's restaurant desserts get to experience the full range of her baking skills, with items both sweet and savory. The pop-up bakery's output is really impressive to me in light of the fact that the Foreign & Domestic kitchen is very small and has no specific baking area or special equipment other than a small Hobart mixer. There is no dough sheeter, no proof box, no steam-injected baking oven and yet her croissants are heavenly, crisp and crunchy on the outside and delicately flaky within. Baker's ingenuity in the face of inhospitable spaces and challenging weather never ceases to amaze me. Be sure to have one of Jodi's croissants with honey butter. (I put several in the freezer and have been enjoying one a day with Confituras summer jams and preserves- OMG).
We discussed the fact that the prices here are higher than customers will see in regular bakeries, but the portions are large and the ingredients are of good quality. The product line will change from week to week, depending on the baker's inspirations and the customers' responses. Check the restaurant's website for a list of what will be available, take cash, and be sure to get there early for the best selection.