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Jul 18, 2010 06:00 PM

Great Artisan Bakery in OC?

I'm moving back to Huntington Beach after a decade in the Northeast (NYC & CT). Totally excited for so many things (food, farmers markets, weather, family, etc., etc.). However, one thing I'm still trying to scout (from afar, mind you) is a great artisan bread bakery in OC. Searching here on Chowhound hasn't yielded much that sounds promising. My brother mentioned a few that he said were only OK - c'est si bon in newport, french's in a few places, etc., but he (nor I) have found one that focuses first and foremost on breads.

Sounds like there are a lot of places that are big on the current cupcake craze, or are more pastry shops, but I haven't heard of one that really is serious about it's bread. But maybe (hopefully!) I'm missing one? Any ideas?

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  1. Since the demise of the Village Bakery in Costa Mesa, I don't think there is really anything in OC. Sad, but this line of conversation seems to come up all the time in OC foodie circles.

    I would welcome contradiction, though.

    1. I got some bread at the Saturday Irvine Farmer's market from Bread Gallery in San Clemente. The lady selling the bread was really nice, I got some type of baguette with some cornmeal/polenta grains in it. It wasn't amazing, but decent and local-ish.


      Bread Gallery
      1624 N El Camino Real, San Clemente, CA 92672

      1. I thought this was query of a new place called Great Artisan Bakery, heh--I do know what the words mean, but what is a great artisan bakery? Village Bakery was excellent as GeorgeMPavlov mentions below. By the way, George, what are OC foodie circles?

        To me, being local is not worthwhile unless the place is great, because good food > environmental concerns. Bread Gallery is run by some nice Christians, but, and excuse me if this is blasphemous, their bread isn't going to bring up visions of Jesus's loaves.

        Locally, I think you are better off checking out Pain Du Monde. I think their bread is pretty good too. They have good breads and crossiants--best off sandwiches that showcase the bread with really good ingredients like gouda cheese and crunchy carrot shavings.

        Edit: Pain du monde means bread of the world in French. They kind of have to make good bread. Their bread is good though not unique like Village Bakery goods were. Which might be better--for example Village Bakery sold pizzas which I loved, but they had a specific flavor not suited to everyone. Also, if you are driving from Huntington Beach to Costa Mesa or Newport Beach, you might as well drive to LA and on La Brea go to Nancy Silverton's La Brea Bakery. Though now that I think of it, there is a branch at Downtown Disney, which is free to visit.

        Tim and Lisa Goodell were the proprietors of Village Bakery. They open and close a lot of different restaurants. I don't know why. They had a place called Meson G in LA and a bunch of restaurants in OC--Troquet, Aubergine, the Lodge--that were all great. Anyway, since George mentioned it and you might be piqued by my recc-y of Village Bakery bread also, they still serve the same bread within their restaurants including a place in Huntington Beach. Supposedly that's why they opened Village Bakery--because the bread at their restaurants was so popular.

        Bread Gallery
        1624 N El Camino Real, San Clemente, CA 92672

        Pain Du Monde
        3636 E Coast Hwy Ste D, Corona Del Mar, CA 92625

        25 Degrees
        412 Walnut Ave, Huntington Beach, CA 92648

        6 Replies
        1. re: apple7blue

          The Goodells now own A Restaurant and Market in Newport Beach. Since they closed Village Bakery in Costa Mesa, they moved their baking operation inside A Market, where they retail the bread. Same baker - Shelly Register - runs the bake shop.


          A Markets
          3400 W Coast Hwy, Newport Beach, CA 92663

          1. re: Professor Salt

            THANKS a bunch Prof . . . hopefully they still have the pizza there . . .

            1. re: Professor Salt

              Nope, A was sold to another ownership group, the most prominent member being Hollywood and MTV director McG. I missed the Goodells' time at the helm, but the current owners still do a nice job. I do miss Aubergine though. It was probably my first really great meal.

              1. re: ocshooter

                When did that happen? Is Chef Shelly still running the bake shop? It's been months since I stopped by A, but she was still there at that time.

                1. re: Professor Salt

                  The Goodells never owned, only managed A. Shelly and Chef Vartagan are still at the helm.

                  1. re: OCBites

                    Well, so they may still have that lovely pizza

          2. There's BrewBakers in Huntington Beach; not sure if it would qualify as an artisan bakery, but they focus on bread (and beer)

            1. I love any type of bread when it is hot! A true test of bread quality is how it taste when it has cooled.

              Here are a couple of places to try (most are asian)

              - Boudin's Bakery - This is a SF chain with a couple of locations in Costa Mesa and one in Irvine. I like going to the Irvine location since they will tell you when the next hot batch will be ready. Good chewy sourdough. Also freezes well.

              - 85 Degrees in Irvine. Asian bakery with lots of different sweet and savory buns and cakes to try. They also have a salted latte worth a try but drink from directly the cup (not with the straw they give you) to get a taste of the foam that has the salt with the liquid.

              - Cream Pan in Tustin. Also Asian (Japanese) bakery. Good strawberry croissant.

              - Lee's Sandwiches. A chain of Vietnam sandwich shop. Good place to get a $1 baguette. Also good when right out of the oven but must be eaten quick or else gets dry quickly.

              Cream Pan
              602 El Camino Real, Tustin, CA 92780