San Diego: Is there a correlation?
Perhaps towns that are short of good bakeries (including ethnic ones) are also short of astute food critics. Could it be that the two vacuums go together in some weird way. . .why or why not? The SD Reader cited Howards in El Cajon as the county's best bakery. They might as well have nominated Ralphs or Dunkin Donuts!
Great bread, best in San Diego: Bread and Cie in Hillcrest on Washington. Olive bread to die for, among everything else you will want to take home.
Best pan dulce north of the border: Panchita's in Golden Hill, Broadway and C. The bolillo is almost as good as it is in Mexico; the pan dulce is fantastic, and they have real semitas, which you almost never find anywhere in the States. Buy everything.
Not that it is a bakery per se, but the bread at Whole Foods Markets is usually spectacular, great variety of loaves, though few really good goodies...All bread Organic, and fresh baked...there is a nice little place called the European Deli on Park near University heights that has excellent Greek Pastries, run by a couple of older Greek ladies...Try any little pandaria in Chula vista for good Pan Dulce...
I have to admit that I'm not much of a bakery expert, since I'm not much of a morning person, but...
my in-laws like the Champagne bakery in Del Mar, there's always bread & cie.
As far as ethnic bakeries go, I just don't think most San Diegans are that adventurous. I've found good things at Crown Bakery on Convoy (seemingly a Korean bakery?), and I've seen a Mexican bakery in Golden Hill, next to the Golden Hill Cafe. Any reports?
Are there any good bakeries in Little Italy?
But I just don't think you can take The Reader's "best of's" literally. They seem to be more of an opportunity to wax poetic about some writer's fetish.
As a recent Chicago transplant in SD, I, too, am disappointed at the dearth of bakeries here. A friend speculated that the supermarkets have put most of them out of business with their "artisan" and specialty baked goods.
There's Upper Crust Artisan Breads on Friars near Fashion Valley. And for desserts, there's Extraordinary Desserts on 5th.
But, otherwise, there seem to be very few of the old fashioned neighborhood bakeries that were so common in Chicago.