I did some weekend grocery shopping at 99 Ranch Market at I-10 and Blalock. On the way out, I noticed the Desir Bakery next to the checkout lines was not overflowing with people as it usually is, so I decided to stop in to pick up a small pastry to satisfy my sweet tooth. It was my first time in the bakery so I really didn’t know what to expect. I really enjoy going outside of my epicurean comfort zone and just following the crowds of people who know what they're doing...at least they seem like they do. For all I know, it was everyone's first visit.
The bakery itself was tiny. Everyone had to leave our shopping carts full of purchased groceries parked just on the other side of the rope dividers. Filling the wooden shelves were freshly baked goods, both savory and sweet. The comforting aroma wrapped me in a warm blanket of happy and induced an unnatural appetite considering I just had a big lunch an hour earlier. So instead of getting just a small sweet pastry, I picked all of the following.
These savory loaves were their green-onion rolls and golden garlic bread. Yes, the golden garlic bread was actually that disturbingly yellow. The bread itself was light and airy. Both items were a bit lacking in green onion and garlic flavors but that’s my personal preference. I like enough onions and garlic to cause my breath to be as offensive as my former neighbors.
The first of the sweets was coconut bread. Sweet coconut and raisin paste filled the inner cavities of this loaf the size of my face. The bread looked to be haphazardly folded over the filling but there must be some method to the madness since coconut was evenly distributed throughout this huge pastry.
Next was their “sponge cupcake.” This was simply awesome. Sure, the A-word is used too often these days but one bite into this soft, fluffy sweetness and you’ll use the A-word too. The cupcake is like angel food cake but more heavenly. The next time I pick this up, I’ll try it in strawberry shortcake or something similar.
Then I had their red bean mochi. Common in Asian cooking is the use of beans in desserts. This might seem odd to some but I assure you it’s delicious. This “cookie” was a sweet red bean filling wrapped in soft, flaky dough, covered with toasted sesame seeds.
Finally, I happily forced down the pineapple cake. This mini cake, the size of four dice, had a nutty crust enveloping its pineapple gel of a filling. My only problem with this item was that I only bought one.
So the next time you’re picking up some fresh fish from 99 Ranch Market’s superb seafood department, don’t forget to stop into the bakery on your way out.