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Good bread in San Diego

Any suggestions? Whole Foods in Hillcrest used to have great bread but these days it's very boring. Please don't say Bread et Cie ... their prices are absurd. Salerno Bakery in Little Italy sells a good Italian loaf that is stale by the time you get it home. Where can you buy a great baguette or pane in San Diego?

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  1. Get the par-baked at Salerno. Then it will be fresh when you make it.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Cathy

      I would say my favorite is sadie rose. I had some of their bread at Peggy's Pasta at the Hillcrest Farmer's market and it was full on artisan look and taste... good price too. They have a bunch of types listed on their site here http://sadierose.com/

    2. O'Briens in Del Mar off Del Mar Heights Rd just west of I-5 has excellent bread, particularly sourdough.

      1. Charlie's Bread in Pacific Beach. Same shopping center as Great News the cookware/cooking school, on the other side of the building. Garnet & Jewel

        1. In my opinion Bread on Market makes the best artisan bread in San Diego. It's on Market between 7th and 8th.

          1. Yup- Bread on Market.


            1. Depends on what kind of bread you're looking for. If you're looking for whole grain breads, I suggest heading over to People's Co-Op in Ocean Beach. They have a large selection of locally produced whole grain breads. There you can sample stuff from Charlie's Best Bread, Julian Bakery, Oasis, and Del Mar's Village Mill (which makes some incredible bread, FYI).

              Most of those breads are between $2 and $4 a loaf.

              At the moment, I'm really into sprouted grain breads which are better for you nutritionally than flour-based breads. Right now my favorite bread of that kind is Alvarado St. Bakery's Sprouted Barley, from Sonoma.

              If you're looking for something more like French bread, or fancy breads to eat with cheeses, I'll have to third Jay's Bread on Market suggestion. Their olive bread is unbeatable.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Josh

                Josh, I'm with you 100% on the Alvarado St. Bakery breads. I've had several of their varieties, including the sprouted ones, and like them a lot. Ezekiel 4:9 bread is not artesian by any stretch of the imagination, but for a healthy bread it's also pretty darn good, especially toasted.

              2. I'm a big fan of Charlies - as much for the people as for the bread. If you don't want to trek into PB, he's at the Temecula farmer's market on Saturdays and the Hillcrest market on Sundays.

                You'll find Charlie's once you get past the line at the Bread & Cie booth...which I just don't get. Ever since they started making 98% of their breads in the warehouse on Morena (as opposed to in the hearth at the Hillcrest bakery that earned them their reputation), the product has suffered greatly. They cannot possibly be proud of the breads selling in Ralphs, Vons etc., yet they're exactly the same ones selling at the farmer's markets.

                I agree that Bread on Market makes terrific breads, alas they're more of a weeday thing since they don't bake on weekends.

                Another wonderful baker is Con Pane in Pt Loma. Not the friendliest folks but great breads and good sandwiches too.

                2 Replies
                1. re: mimosa

                  I think Charlie's is the best bread in the city.

                  1. re: Divamac

                    There used to be a good baker somewhere around Washington and Goldfinch. Good bread and good tortillas find you eating them on the way home while they are still warm.

                2. What's with all the Bread and Cie bashing? Sure, it could be better, but it's still pretty decent and I really don't think it's too expensive for what it is - their prices compare to most other independent bakeries like Con Pane or Bread on Market. Both of those are good as well.

                  Personally, I buy most of my bread at Trader Joes, more out of laziness than anything else. I buy the Il Fornaio slipper bread, slice it and put it in the freezer, and thaw it in the toaster or the oven as we eat it. (The Brioche and focaccia buns are good too, but I find that a lot of their other products tend to be stale.) I also second the recommendation of toasted Ezekiel bread (especially with peanut or almond butter!) I have found that storing it in the fridge is a good idea to prevent it from getting moldy.

                  Another thought - it's a dreaded "chain" - but Panera seems to be putting out some pretty decent bread products. The one at Grossmont Center is pretty much the only fresh bakery in the East County. I used to think the Hillcrest Ralphs had a pretty good bakery as well, but I haven't shopped there since I moved East.

                  9 Replies
                  1. re: Alice Q

                    I like Bread & Cie as well, and also find the negative comments a little baffling.

                    I suppose that will happen though, when a given company becomes so dominant in a regional market. There are a bunch of beer geeks I know who call themselves BLAST (Beer Lovers Against STone). I asked one of their members why they'd be against a company that has done so much to bring great beer to San Diego (regardless of whether you like their beers or not, their distribution arm helps many great craft breweries get their products out to the public) - he didn't really have a good answer, but essentially he didn't like how dominant they were becoming.

                    Bread & Cie's stuff is pretty ubiquitous around San Diego, so it probably has lost some of it's artisan cachet.

                    1. re: Josh

                      Geez - beer geeks against Stone? I would think that would be like babies against milk. I guess if anything becomes commercial enough there's bound to be some backlash.

                      1. re: Alice Q

                        Player hating is an age-old phenomenon.

                        1. re: Josh

                          Sounds like they are well beyond geek and in to snob territory.

                          I was a big Bread & Cie fan years ago but I have also found the quality of the breads to be lower since they moved. I haven't been to the Hillcrest location in a few years to compare.

                    2. re: Alice Q

                      The only problem I have with B&C is the quality of the breads baked in the warehouse/bakery on Morena is nowhere near the quality of the bread you get at the Hillcrest bakery. Sadly, that is now the majority of their bread, yet the pricing and packaging lead you to believe it's the same product that made them famous.

                      If you're lucky enough to get something fresh from the oven at the Hillcrest location, it's easy to understand how they earned their stellar reputation. If you happen to pick up some from the farmer's market, Vons, Ralphs or any of the myriad locations offering B&C breads, you will likely wonder what the fuss is about. Our Albertsons bakery puts out a better product than the B&C grocery store offering, IMO.

                      1. re: mimosa

                        What is it that you find different about the grocery store breads? Is it the crust, the crumb, the flavor? I usually make a trip to the store when I want to buy their bread, but I will occasionally pick up a baguette at whole foods or bristol farms and I hadn't noticed a difference myself. Now I'm curious though, I may have to do a taste test!

                        1. re: Alice Q

                          First off- I'm not a baker, just someone who really appreciates great bread. My faves are Acme and La Brea and I pine for SD to have a baker of this quality. B&C used to be as close as I could find, and still is if you go directly to the bakery. Con Pane is right there too. It seems the hearth has something to do with bread quality, almost as much as the recipe itself. What I find with B&C wholesale breads (those not baked and sold at the Hillcrest location) is that they're somewhat rubbery and lack a hearty crust (which I love).

                          I've surmised that this is due to the likelihood they were baked many, many hours before I laid my hands on them AND possibly because it was in an industrial oven alongside hundreds of loaves, baguettes, etc., and therefore not with the more individual attention given the breads baked at the smaller Hillcrest location.

                          Another thing I suspect is that the recipe used for wholesale orders is somehow altered with a preservative to enhance the shelf-life. I mean, how can a baguette I'm buying at 6pm, that presumably was delivered on the same truck that delivered the baguettes sold at 9am, still be soft?

                          It's not my intention to slur B&C in any way, but I really have noticed a difference in quality of their breads since becoming so widely available. Am I the only one?

                          1. re: mimosa

                            I am right there with you on Acme - they really are the best, but failing that I do still like B&C. I have noticed the same thing you are talking about, but I really think it's just that they sit for so long, and it also could be from being packed together in close quarters soon after baking. I bet they probably use the same recipe - but the different ovens and storage conditions undoubtedly affect the quality.

                      2. re: Alice Q

                        I, too, love Bread and Cie. I do not, however, buy it from Ralph's etc. If I can't get to Hillcrest, I buy fresh from my local Von's. Recently I've been buying their "Artisan" black olive loaf. I like their bakery better than any other supermarket, perhaps because their whipped cream toppings are really cream, unlike Ralph's etc.

                      3. I dont get why people are down on Bread and Cie's quality. I use a lot of it and find the quality to be excellent. I regularly use the levain, rye and baguette. The crust can be on the harder side which can turn off people who like softer breads, but I think thats just a matter of taste. I tend to prefer a more rustic bread and think that overall B&C do this very well.

                        1. Try the semolina baguettes from Solunto on India. Call ahead, they sell out fast.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: sdnativa

                            Thanks for the input on Bread and Cie. I used to go nuts over their Goat Cheese/Garlic bread. But for the last three loaves I've found the bottom crust to be on the verge of burnt and the texture not as chewy and wonderful as I recall. I don't mind their prices. But the product doesn't tempt me as it used to. Maybe now I know what's different.

                            Thanks for the good bread ideas, chows.

                          2. con pane rosecrans/canon point loma. the best baguettes and saturday chocolate bread...

                            1. Contact Taste in Hillcrest. They are bringing in fresh bread that I hear it is very good. Call first.

                              1243 1⁄2 University Avenue
                              San Diego, CA 92103 (619) 683-2306 Tuesday-Saturday 11am-7pm Sunday 11am-5pm www.artisancheeseshop.com

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: normalheightsfoodie

                                I second this. I forget where George was getting his bread from, but it was better than B&C.

                              2. This is kind of a late post, but I've just joined chow and saw a recent post. My favorite bakery is Con Pane Rustic Breads in Point Loma. In my opinion, there bread are far superior to Bread & Cie (and that's not just B&C bashing). I used to frequest B&C before I discovered CP, but thier quality has changed. They are so large now, they start baking in the afternoon for the next day (I asked once). So if you buy a loaf of bread from either the bakery or the grocery store, it's already almost a day old when you get it. Con Pane bakes every morning just hours before they open. I was just in there for lunch today. The place was packed! The sandwiches are pretty yummy and the cinnamon rolls are to die for! (In my humble opinion.)

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: bythenumbers

                                  how much did the sandwiches cost? i want to go try it during my lunch break =)

                                  1. re: clayfu

                                    The 1/2's are $4+ and the wholes are $6-7. My favs are the Turkey Cobb on a baguette and the PBJ (yes, a PBJ) on Hazelnut & Raisin. Just remember, packed during lunch so don't expect a 5 minute turn around! Manja! (sp)

                                    1. re: bythenumbers

                                      "mangia" ... and grazie for the great advice!!! ;)

                                      1. re: Bobierto

                                        Also, keep in mind that they are closed on Wednesdays.

                                        They have daily offerings of specialty breads (including Challah on Sat only), but sadly you cannot get the sammies made with these =( Oh well, the regular selection is large enough, I suppose.

                                        1. re: Bobierto

                                          Grazie for the spelling correction, I knew it didn't look right!
                                          A minor correction for ohm86, Challah is on Friday (the jewish sabat), yummy yummy Chocolate bread is on Sat.

                                          1. re: bythenumbers

                                            Ahhhh ... of course. As soon as I wrote "Saturday" the little voice in my head said "are you SURE it's Saturday?!" I've never bought a loaf of this myself, but I've had a hunk from a friend's, and boy is it good!

                                  2. I agree with previous posters about Charlies and Con Pane. Bristol Farms (god, I hate sending people to that Albertson's owned upscale place) sometimes has La Brea Bakery bread, which rivals Acme as the best in the state (if you can get it fresh).

                                    There's an artisan baker in Escondido that is very good, should you be in the neighborhood. I don't recall the name, but it's on Escondido Blvd., east of Major Market and about a block north. Some super breads, including semolina bread that is to die for. I drive to Escondido to buy the semolina bread for our Italian class, it's that good.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: rotie77

                                      Belen artisan bakers. I was just going to post about them as well. I'm lucky enough to work in Esco, so I pick up their bread at the farmers market every Tuesday.

                                      If I can't get to the Escondido farmers market, I'll pick up a loaf of Bread & Cie at Henry's- but it's a distant second :)

                                    2. I personally am not a big fan of bread & cie because I tend to like better softer breads. Their breads are too hard and need to be heaten in the oven to get softer. I like Charlies best bread for their baguettes and epi bread. But didn't care much for their buns and rolls. It's hard to find a place that does everything well. Still haven't found any place that does good focaccio. Panera seems to have good bread, I have tried theisr sandwiches and they are good, but haven't tried all their breads. Costco caries La Brea brand which I think is excellent. I once tried the bread at Cafe Saint Tropez and it was pretty good as well. This is a good post. I like all the recommendations.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: foodlover3

                                        My favorite is the La Brea bread at Costco. If you get there in the morning, it is still warm. Bread Cie is still good. Yes, it tastes better fresh from Hillcrest, but the stuff I get at Von's is still quite good. Also, Trader Joes has parbaked breads that you just pop into a hot oven for 10 minutes and that is also very nice and fresh.
                                        I have to say SD is much improved in terms of bread. I'm from the NY area and when I moved here 10 years ago, there was nothing good and I ended up making my own starter and baking my own, thanks to Nancy Silverton's book and her experience with La Brea. It was excellent but I welcome not having to do this every weekend anymore!

                                      2. How can people forget Dudley's bakery in Santa Ysabel? It's like a 45 year old San Diego tradition.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: oerdin

                                          I was raised on their raisin/date nut bread

                                        2. Bread is my weakness...not wine, not chocolate, but bread...freshly baked and flavorful. I urge you to make it a point to stop in Les Rendez Vous in Oceanside http://www.lerendezvousfrenchbakery.com/ . My sister lives in Vista and showed me an article about the owner of this bakery. I stopped and tried a baguette, a croissant and a cream puff - wow! So tasty and mouth watering, every single bite!

                                          Too bad I live 45 minutes away but if I'm up that way...back I go for more of the same!

                                          1. Just a note: If you are not pleased with the Bread & Cie. prices at the markets, go to the cafe or buy their bread at Farmer's Markets (Hillcrest, Solano Beach, Little Italy...maybe more?) The markets set their own prices.

                                            4 Replies
                                            1. re: Mr.Celiac

                                              I personally don't think Bread & Cie's prices are too high. Artisinal, made from scratch items simply cost more to make. There have been many posts on this subject on Chowhound, from the price of the chickens at the Little Italy Farmer's Market, to the price of Knight Salami, etc.. And even though Bread & Cie is the largest of the areas artisan bakeries, it is still small in comparison to the nation's commercial bakeries and therefore does not have the economies of scale those conglomerates have. Moreover, in my travels I have certainly found artisan bread much more pricey. I remember being at a conference not too far from LaBrea Bakery about 10 years ago, and the topic of conversation during a lunch break was the $9 or $10 chocolate bread from LaBrea Bakery! More locally, Charlie's Bread in PB sells it's loaves at a whopping $7 - $8 per loaf for bread that in my opinion is no better than grocery store bread.

                                              Bread & Cie does a good job, but Con Pane Bakery is my favorite Artisan Bakery. I prefer the texture and flavor of their breads over Bread and Cie and Bread on Market. There is a bread for every occasion, baguettes for parties and sandwiches, cranberry for breakfast and chocolate bread for any time I feel I deserve a treat!!! Their new location in Liberty Station is also really nice, easy to find parking and much more seating.

                                              1. re: sdnosh

                                                I agree that Con Pane is great.. It became an instant favorite.. I wish acme bread from SF was down here.. They had some great bread!

                                                1. re: SDGourmand

                                                  Acme is amazing. I'm drooling just thinking about their bread!

                                                  1. re: sdnosh

                                                    Acme--best sourdough ever. And Metropolis Baking Company's New York Style Rye...yum.

                                            2. Definitely will echo Con Pane. If you want to be really practical and still get quality, there's Fresh and Easy, which rebrands Il Fornaio's bread.

                                              Il Fornaio
                                              1555 Camino Del Mar, Del Mar, CA 92014

                                              1. Has anyone tried Girabaldi's on India Street (right next to Meals on Wheels)? I drive by that place every day.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: jmtreg

                                                  I always forget about Il Fornaio since both are on the outskirts of my usual travel radius, but I've some good loaves from there, particularly their ciabatta. Girabaldi's is the lesser cousin, twice removed, from Soluntos, and the bread they make is flavorless and textureless.

                                                  Il Fornaio
                                                  1555 Camino Del Mar, Del Mar, CA 92014