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Tom Douglas on 3 Fantastic Bakeries: Cafe Besalu1

Cafe Besalu Seattle

Photo courtesy of Danielle Leavell

Not only is the dough handcrafted at Cafe Beaslu—the jams, fillings, creams, and sauces are, too.

Locale: 5909 24th Ave. NW, 206-789-1463

The baker: Minus the apron, James Miller looks more like a hip barista than chef. But looks can be deceiving. Just wait ’til you taste his almond croissants.

The vision: In another lifetime, Miller lived in Barcelona and escaped on weekends to a tiny place called Besalu. “It was my hideout,” he says. “That’s what I wanted to create here in Seattle. A place off the beaten track where people could get away and get a good espresso.”

Prepare to wait: Glazed-eyed patrons line up Wednesday through Sunday before this bakery’s centerpiece: a teal-edged glass case containing perfectly uniform rows of croissants, galettes, brioche, cookies and Miller’s sublime pain au chocolat.

The scratch factor: Not only is the dough handcrafted—the jams, fillings, creams, and sauces are, too. “Our focus is on the total quality of every ingredient,” Miller says. Tom Douglas says it all works: “This guy is technically flawless. . . . What he does best is croissants and Danish. He’s simply the best in his category, and I love people who take that kind of pride.”

Spill It: Tell Us What You Think!

tom douglas is damn right. james and his wife kaire bake pastries that makes you smile for the rest of the day.
7/20/2010 4:15:09 PM

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