November 10, 2010
A bakery is not a serene place, that’s for sure. Buzzers and chimes are going off all the time, as dough finishes rising and baked goods demand to be removed from the oven. Today was my first time at the Black Rooster, and it was a true eye-opener. There’s a lot of just plain work that goes into baking breads and pastries. Made me tired to watch Micah and Megan (the two pastry chefs), and Marche Ann (the owner) and Gil (a friend of hers who is here for the pre-opening period to help bake bread).
Gil is an interesting guy. He told me that baking bread is a hobby for him, and he’s been driving from Addison (where he lives) for the chance to bake bread in the ultracool oven at the Black Rooster. Apparently it’s no ordinary oven. No sir. It projects steam, which does something or other to the crust. Its upper and lower heating elements can be controlled separately. Whatever, Gil waxed very enthusiastic about this rare opportunity to bake bread in that oven.
This afternoon a man came in who said he’d grown up in Europe and had been missing the bread over there. American bread doesn’t have a decent crust, according to him. Well, Micah handed him a chunk of Pain Fromage (bread with Asagio cheese baked in it, and it’s unspeakably delicious), and when he took a bite, his eyes closed, his mouth smiled, and he was the picture of bliss. Marche Ann’s bread has a decent crust. He was incredulous when he was handed a loaf of bread (the other one available, a type of Italian, as he was having an Italian-style dinner) to take home. Waved some bills at us, insisting he be allowed to pay for it, only subsiding when it was pointed out we literally weren’t yet ready to take money. He seemed to be afraid that giving bread away like that would undermine the financial stability of the bakery, and he was adamant that he wants us to stay around for a long, long time, as the Black Rooster is where he’ll be buying his bread from now on. Well, starting Tuesday, anyway.
Dollars to donuts he’ll show up tomorrow or the next day to score another loaf. I hope so! His enthusiasm was charming, and highly satisfactory.
I had my camera with me this afternoon, and took a few photos. Here’s the bakery itself:
As I said, it’s on the corner of Forest Park and Park Hill, readily accessible from either street. As a matter of no particular interest, that’s the Gran Van (as I call the Venture) there on the left. Micah, one of the pastry chefs and the dear friend who recommended me for my job, is slicing her delectable lemon bars into squares:
Oh, my goodness, but they’re wonderful! Perfect marriage of sweet and tart. I like a lemon bar with a bit of a bite to it. It’s made from lemons, after all! Saw Micah squeezing them. And here are Marche Ann, Micah, and Megan all munching on one of Megan’s creations:
To the left, just at the edge, you can see the large, black iron (I think it’s iron, at least) rooster that sits regally on top of the counter. You know, the one thing it occurs to me we might be missing is a “take-a-number” system. If we’re as busy as we devoutly hope and expect to be at times, I can tell you from years of experience in working counters that it’s awfully easy to get confused as to who should be waited upon first. Would such a thing spoil the ambiance Marche Ann has worked hard to create? Or is it more important to maintain order and good cheer? Can’t decide.
This’ll get you! Upon driving west on Park Hill towards University, I decided to turn left on University so I can get to the Kroger on University and Bellaire. Turned onto University and was immediately greeted with a sign warning its readers that the right lane is closed. Road Work, you know.
Except it was the right hand side of University that was closed not open. What a kerfluffle that caused, as citizens read the sign, looked at the loong line on the right, and declared the sign must be right, then ran into a standing line of cars in the presumed “open” lane. It was highly annoying, and especially when the reverse trip showed the same erroneously set signs, causing the same snafu.
Point being, one would think they would have known better, that’s all.
Took my sleeping pill and am now crashing. Good night!