How to Cure a Case of the Mondays
So it’s Monday again and I begrudgingly open my eyes to my alarm going off at 6 AM. 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, there are two great bakeries in Seattle that I enjoy visiting to help me say goodbye to the Monday blues.
Alright, one of them is a doughnut shop…so 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 high quality baked goods that will break through your limited experience with cellophane-wrapped danishes and be 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 else makes a team happier than doughnuts and pastries first thing in the morning?
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 what the inspiration was behind this cute little picture. Who was this porpoise a General over, I don’t know. Still, 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 to work before my typical 9-5 starts and find some delicious sweets to bring back to the office to brighten everybody’s morning.
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 from when they opened. Whoops…
I got out of my car and paused to enjoy a moment of that brisk Seattle air, before the fumes from the daily commute choked it out. 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 is 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. Today, I found five flavors. They had Chocolate Marshmallow, Lemon Curd
, Vanilla Custard, Date Shake and Tomato jam. I wasn’t really feeling the tomato, so I stuck with the more classically sweet flavors.
Of course you will want to order more than you need. However, at $3.85 a pop, you will 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. I then 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 after all! There were no survivors(doughnuts), even in my office of about six 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 all 10 of them crammed together.
I had a little bit of each but as you can see, each one looks about the same on the outside. The inside is really the same product with a slightly different tint each time.
As I bit into one half of the chocolate doughnut, the similarities came to an end. All I could think of was my grandmother’s doughnuts from when I was a kid. 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 also 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.
Under similar circumstances to the commencement of my affinity for General Porpoise, I was on a mission to lighten the emotional darkness that comes with Mondays. I traveled one Monday morning to the far reaches of Ballard
. It does always feel very far from where I live…
This time, I was on a trek to discover 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 no 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 you may find.
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. Or, I at least assume he is silent because 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, there’s 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 with whatever pastry choice of the day.
Today, I still had my mission. My goal was to bring smiles on a sad Monday.
Below are the different treats I brought. As mentioned above, there were pain de chocolats, Apple Pastries, Hazelnut twists and more. They really succeeded in bringing a sense of finesse to the office morning. They were crispy, flaky, sweet, caramel-laced, and nutty.
They changed just as many droopy, grim expressions to bright-eyed wonder as the doughnuts did and were $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.
How did I hear about these places?
General Porpoise, like most of the places I visit, was recommended by a friend. Surprisingly, I knew Renee Erikson had won the 2016 best Northwest James Beard Awards. Yet, I had no idea she had a doughnut shop. So, this was a great find!
As for Cafe Besalu, I have known about it for a while now and I’ve visited on a few occasions. It performs amazing every time! Their pastries are well-executed and consistent.
Tags: Monday Cures, Top Monday, Doughnuts, Cream Filling, Yum; Cafe Besalu, Pastry, Butter, Croissant, Bad Monday, How to cure Mondays