Sunday, May 1, 2016

Marla Bakery

Richmond (District) Coffeehouses ~ Part 27

Place: Marla Bakery
Location: 3619 Balboa Street (between 37th and 38th Avenues)
Hours: open Tuesday - Saturday at 7:00am for breakfast; open Saturday & Sunday at 8:00am for breakfast and at 10:30am for Weekend "Brunch"
Meal: Savory Galette ~ roasted cauliflower, spring onion, & Cheddar (???)[1]; Marla Quiche ~ asparagus, kale, & Gruyère (I added l'accent grave) (???)[1]; Cardamom Spiced Coffee Cake; and a 12 oz cuppa Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters Ethiopia Classic Yirgacheffe

(Let's see you try and find any decent EweToobular juxtaselections for "Marla". 

I am including both Emmylou's and Noel Yang's versions here because... well, let's face it, Emmylou is just much prettier than ol' Noel.

And "Bruce who"?)

File under: Delicious Conundrum

Now what do you think the odds are of my neighborhood having one great (newish) bakery joint to eat at? Then what are the odds that my neighborhood would have two from which to choose (and just a block apart on the same side of the street)? If you live in the Outer Richmond (and I mean in the wayyyyy Outer Richmond) and happen to live nearby Balboa Street and 38th Avenue, you will know exactly what I mean. 

(see previous 'blog entry for Butter Love Bakeshop from March 13th, 2016)

Marla Bakery has been open now for just under two years (mid-June 2014), but this is my first ever visit (breakfastarily or otherwise) there. And, trust me, after this morning's meal, it will not be my last!

If you are like me (and, by that, I mean "nominally inquisitive" and not "a dirty old pervert" ~ not that there's anything wrong with that), you might also ask yourself: "Just who the H-E-double-hockeysticks is this 'Marla'-person, and why does she not get the possessive treatment on the name of her own bakery?" Well, they answer that specific question (the "Marla" part, not the "non-possessive" part) on their web-site: 

"MARLA is an acronym composed of the first letters from the names of family members that taught us to cook and bake. Like those that came before, food is our lodestone. Like history, food does not spring forth from the ether. Food is always informed by what came before and is as much a product of memory as the present."

So, much like there is no real "Dottie" at Dottie's True blue café, no "Ella" at Ella's, nor even a "Chloe♥" at Chloe♥s Cafe, there is no one with the name of "Marla" here. (I can't be sure, but I think that Miss Peebee's last name might actually be "Golo", though.)

Even if the food hadn't turned out to be great, they have two backyard patio seating areas that are more than enjoyable on their own. There is an upper (on the wood deck) area that has three tables for two to four people, and a lower (and much larger) area that only had three tables for two set out this morning. The lower space had lots of room for more and could easily accommodate 
several other tables and still maintain a nice uncrowded, outdoor-garden air to it. There are also four to five tables for two to four inside, but on a great Spring day like today, the outdoor seating would be optilicious.

For "just a local neighborhood bakery", they actually have some other great ideas for breakfast:

Sweet Pastry:
Danish huckleberry and sweet cheese;
Scone lemon poppyseed;
and something they call
Pain au Chocolat ~ with candied orange

Savory Pastry:
Scone butternut squashsage, & Parmesan;
Turnover ~ farmers cheese and green onion

under their Breakfast menu heading:
Bagel herbed farmers cheese;
Marla Toast Plate ~ house cultured butter 
blueberry preserves;
Oatmeal Molasses Toast ~ honey & house made almond butter;
and (this one really sounds interesting to me)
Baked Eggs with Grilled Bread ~ spiced chickpea 
fava leaf purée, puffed rice, charred onions, & breadcrumbs.

Plus, they also offer various other items on their Weekend "Brunch" menu, but that is not served until 10:30am, which is about a half-hour too late for my liking (however, I may have to make an exception one of these days).

Hmmm... asparagus or cauliflower?! This would normally have been a tough decision for me as I love both of these items, but, luckily, it was not a choice that I had to make, Sophie. I (just barely) had appetite-room for both. If I had to have gone with just one, it would probably have been the asparagus quiche-thing (asparagus always trumps cauliflower, Donald), which would have been a big mistake today; for as good as the quiche was, I liked the galette much better. I must say, though, that the copiousness of the asparagus must have been at least four to five entire spears worth. The galette was still warm and may normally be served that way, but the quiche was served cold (you can probably ask to have it heated up if you like; personally, I preferred it just as it was this morning).

The Cardamom Spiced Coffee Cake had me shivering in antici... 
(wait for it)
...pation! And I was not disappointed in the least. It was even better than I had expected (with the lofty title of "Cardamom", I always have the highest of expectations). It really complemented (or complimented) the cuppa Coffee (or, perhaps, the vice was the versa here). I don't know exactly what other ingredients there were in it, but I could definitely taste the cardamom, which is always a good thing in my book (even if "my book" only happens to be the 12-page colouring type). I did see that there was some kinda jam in the lower layers of the cake; possibly, raspberry or blackberry.

The Coffee was very good on its own, too. I am not familiar with this local roastery, but I can highly recommend them now, too.

I have absolutely no idea what Marla Bakery might have had to offer in the way of any condimentary supplements. And you know what? It really didn't matter. Because it was a bakery-joint, I figured I would not really have any need for any of my own hot sauces and (rightly so) did not bother bringing any with me this morning.

Like Butter Love Bakeshop (which I have already been back to twice for an afternoon-ish snack), Marla Bakery is definitely return visit-worthy! (And that it is within easy walking distance of my apartment only makes it that much more tempting and pleasing.) They also have a kiosk at the Ferry Building Maketplace, which I may need to check out one of these days, too.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating
Savory Galette ~ 7.3; 
Marla Quiche ~ 6.8;
Cardamom Spiced Coffee Cake ~ 7.6;
Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters Ethiopia Classic Yirgacheffe ~ 7.2


1. The Savory Galette ingredients change daily and the Marla Quiche is only available on the weekends (and these ingredients also change weekendly). What is currently listed on their web-site was incorrect for my choices this morning (and I am not sure if I have the exact ingredients listed above, but the main gist should be correct). 

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