Los Altos report: Esther's, Donut du Jour, Cravery
This was our nosh trail on the way to the Los Altos Arts Festival:
Esther's German Bakery & Cafe was adorable: pretty wall colors, display cases, curtains, lampshades, cute kids' play area, and seductive smells greeted us at the door. My daughter's German omelet ($8.95) was good, although a bit too salty and the potatoes a bit too hard. I loved the strong German coffee; they had a dispenser marked "American" but I didn't try it. We tried a selection of pastries: Vanilla Bomb (I think this was the name of it - a light custard sandwiched between 2 slighty dry oval cakes); Beesting cake (delicious custard filling and caramelized almond topping); Apple cake (nice texture, but light on flavor). The salted and sesame pretzels were the best pretzels I'd ever had in the US, but not nearly as good as the ones I'd had in Germany (based on ssome research I did a few years ago, it might be due to different flours). Esther was there, and chatted up the tables. Friendly service, nice atmosphere, and a real neighborhood gem.
Donut du Jour is a new family-owned business with a large selection of the cutest little donuts imagineable, which run between 59-89 cents each, I think. Every one we tried was light and delicious, without the slightest trace of grease: an apple fritter, a glazed, a glazed old-fashion, a chocolate-sprinkled one, a Boston-cream-pieish one. Each is only 3 bites' worth, so you can have your fix without overdoing it, if you're so inclined. Service is very friendly, and should become a destination donut place to rival Stan's (I live close to Stan's, and I know donuts). No website on their bcards yet: 108 State St., 650-941-0258.
The smell of the pies at the Cravery is irresistible. They taste great, too, and even though I didn't like the ratio of filling to pastry (1:2), my husband the carb-eater did. It came with a decent fruit salad (ripe, not rock-hard fruit that most places use for sides). One downside: their Spumoni gelato tasted a bit strange, but I couldn't figure out why (I'm a Spumoni-freak). No website on their brochure yet: 378 Main St., 650-948-8886.
Thanks for the heads-up, Claudette. I woke before dawn the other day and couldn't get back to sleep, so I went on a doughnut run. I didn't actually get there till about 7, but I noticed that the posted opening hour is 6 am, NOT 5. I didn't check closing times, but on no day do they open at 5.
Owner Heidi was very friendly and chatty, said her dad (co-owner I guess) was out back, making the doughnuts. I got an assortment and particularly liked the crumb cake doughnut, which Heidi said was her dad's special recipe. I heated a leftover one in the toaster oven the next morning and it was almost as good... I think I detected some coconut.
I wasn't that impressed with the coconut filled, though, which was described simply as "cream filled," topped with chocolate and not toasted coconut in my case. The coconut filling just tasted kind of watery.
My husband really liked the glazed yeast doughnuts, but I'm more of a cake doughnut person.
Stopped by Donut du Jour yesterday after reading this post. It's not usually open on Sundays at 4:00, but due to the Art and Wine Festival I got lucky. The sign said closed, but I pushed the door anyways and stepped inside. Even though the staff had closed out the register, they were friendly and happy to oblige my order. I tried a raspberry-filled coated in powdered sugar in a cute, flower shape and also an apple fritter. Both were bites of delight, with the raspberry being soft and plump, with a good amount of filling. The apple fritter had good amounts of cinammon, but could have used more apples.
There were many tempting varieties, but since she was being nice enough to serve me when closed, I didn't linger. She also mentioned that companies are purchasing them for meetings and lunches, and given the petite size, that's a great idea. They're at the end of State St., in a area that doesn't get as much foot traffic as others. I hope they make it because it's a nice addition to a sadly-lacking eating city.
The early bird gets the coconut cream-filled doughnut rolled in burnt coconut. They close early.
Closed Sunday. 5 a.m. to noon Mondays through Fridays and 5 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays
Here's an article about them.
I can hardly wait to try Esther's cafe. Thanks for the report
Esther's German Bakery
987 N San Antonio Road, Los Altos, CA 94022
Donut Du Jour
108 State St, Los Altos, CA
378 Main St, Los Altos, CA 94022
Beware: Esther's Old Middlefield Way location is merely an office or something, not a bakery site (we drove there this morning and were very disappointed). It seemed too good to be true that they'd have 2 retail sites along the same street, within a couple miles of each other...