Ice Cream and Half-off at Downtown Bakery & Cafe, Healdsburg
- Melanie Wong
Last weekend I met a lovely young woman whose mom used to bake for Downtown Bakery. We bonded over our love of the ice cream there and even had the same favorite flavors --- Mexican chocolate sorbet and Blackberry ice cream. She shared childhood stories of picking the wild blackberries at the height of summer ripeness from a secret patch.
So, of course, on my way home today I had to stop at Downtown for some ice cream. It's too early yet for blackberry. But never fear, the strawberry is mighty fine now with frozen chunks of strawberry and an almost sorbet-like texture to the light base. I also had the mint chocolate chip.
Taking this little break around 4pm, I asked the counter person whether the half-off after 4:30pm sale was on today. He affirmed it and I decided to take a seat inside to wait for the magic time. When he put the sign out to form a single line and the numbered cards, he let me have #1.
When sale time rolled around, there were about 7 people waiting. I got 4 blueberry scones and 3 pain au chocolat to freeze, a 4" nectarine and blueberry galette, caramel bread pudding, and a sticky bun that I'll reheat for breakfast tomorrow. These pastries set me back $9.17. Now I'm set for the weekends I feel like sleeping in.
As the popularity of the 50% mark-down sale has grown, trying to get a bargain here has become a bit stressful at times. But I have a new strategy . . . go on Monday. Downtown Bakery is closed on Tuesdays, so on Monday afternoon (after 4:30pm) nearly everything is marked down, not just the breads, breakfast pastries and few select items. I didn't get there till nearly 5pm this past Monday, a bit late. I bought ginger cookies, chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter cookies, and a raspberry cupcake on mark-down, none of which I've seen discounted before.
Downtown Bakery & Creamery
308 Center St, Healdsburg, CA 95448
Monday's score at the half-off markdown was a little Passionfruit Bavarian tart, regularly $4.75. Short and crumbly crust, zingy passionfruit bavarian cream filling, luscious whipped cream, and some slices of petite strawberry.
I also noticed that pumpkin pies have made their seasonal reappearance and any remaining at the end of the day are marked down too.
There are very few things that I do not like a great deal at Downtown Bakery. Yet even among many wonderful things I've tried there, this passion fruit tart was a particular standout. And even more at $2.37 at the end of the day.
The half-price sale is also when I stock up on breakfast pastries to freeze. My house guests have learned to get their own snacks from the freezer.
I got a loaf of sourdough at half-price last week to freeze that will be my Thanksgiving stuffing. Monday I saw a lot of Como loaves at the end of the day . . . that chewy, spongy bread makes even better stuffing and croutons.