I'm a slave to the carb, and one of my all-time favorite baked goods is the Morning Bun from the La Farine bakery, in Oakland. At my brother's recent wedding, the maid of honor said in her toast that the first time she met my brother, he made dinner for her and his then-girlfriend, did all the dishes, and drove to Oakland the next morning to get his favorite pastries. She asked his girlfriend, How did you train him to do all that, and my sister-in-law replied, He came that way.
I assume the pastries he drove into Oakland for were the morning buns, and if he did indeed 'come that way,' it's both a credit to my parents and in this case, my grandmother -- she was the one who introduced us to the morning buns years and years ago.
They are a perfect pastry -- not too sweet, not too dense -- just layers of croissant dough dipped in sugar and baked in a muffin tin. When I was home most recently I ate (and I mean this literally) at least five of them.
I've seen Morning Buns at Whole Foods in Manhattan, and I bought them one year for Christmas morning, and while they were good, they were not THE morning buns. I'm afraid you have to travel to Oakland for the real deal, but if you are in the area, they will be well worth the journey.
La Farine is located at 6323 College Avenue in Oakland, CA. And I plan on calling to inquire about special orders very soon!
Their description of the Morning Bun is "Croissant dough rolled thin, spread with brown sugar and cinnamon,
rolled into a log, then cut and baked in muffin pans...nothing short of
decadent." I agree!
I hosted a bridal shower for a friend who was planning an Italian honeymoon. My friend Sara provided the amazing food, and I had my favorite local wine shop come to my apartment for a wine tasting. I cannot recommend this service highly enough -- Smith & Vine is a terrific local wine shop which manages to pack fantastic selection into small quarters, and the owners, Patrick and Michelle, bring significant industry experience and expertise to their selection and services. Whenever I am hosting a party I turn to Smith & Vine to help me put together the wine selections, and I've never been disappointed. Their $10 & Under table is a weekly stopping point for us. Sometimes more frequently...
My point, if there is one, is that few things make me happier than salty olive, cured meats, cheese, spicy pecans, pickled vegetables, savory biscotti and bottles and bottles of Italian wine. Especially when it is in my living room.
My friend Laura's husband is a filmmaker and recently did a stint with the Food Network -- he field produced the new show "Road Tasted" which has begun airing. The show isn't a cooking show so much as an eating show, and it follows Paula Deen's sons around the country, seeking out their favorite local foods, all available (conviently, eh?!) for special order. I've seen a few episodes, and while I will never attempt to make a chocolate-dipped Key Lime Pie-on-a-stick in my own kitchen, it's exciting to see the finished product of a job which kept our friend in hotels for the better part of the year. Check it out!